I needed a workbench since moving into a house that actually has the space, so I built one. I wanted something like the workbenches that were in my father's shop; handmade, sturdy, and able to endure for years (his are easily four decades old and holding strong). With my minimal carpentry skills and stubbornness, I managed to put this bench together in a day.
The materials I used were:
• (2) PT 4x4s (reclaimed from old deck I rebuilt)
• (4) PT 2x12s [8ft]
• (1) 8'x4' plywood sheet [1/2"]
• (2) PT 2x6 [8ft]
• (4) PT 2x4 [8ft] (3 of these I reclaimed from another project)
The tools I used were:
• Circular saw
• 6" lag bolts
Step 1: Cutting the Base Layer
The table is basically a double layer of 2x12 PT lumber. The base layer has each corner cut to allow room for 4x4 legs (on which the top layer will sit).
I started by aligning a cut of my 4x4 legs in each corner of the base layer (2 2x12s side-by-side) and marking before cutting. I only had a circular saw to make the cuts, so you can see in the picture where I cut past my marks. It's not pretty, but I got it done.
Step 2: Cutting the Legs
The mistake I made initially was assuming my 4x4s were the same width. Oops. After cutting out the sections from the base layer, I fit these 4x4 cuts (all four reclaimed from prior projects) into their respective sections and found that 2 of them didn't quite fit...
These were all cut to 3' as this is a comfortable height for me to stand at. Being 5'8", a lot of times I feel like stuff is either just too high or too low to be perfect. I basically stood in front of a wall and measured what I thought was a comfortable height and decided to go with 3'4" (the height of the 4x4s plus the double layer of 2x12).
Step 3: Building the Tabletop
Here is where I built the tabletop to last a lifetime*.
I aligned the top and bottom pieces and then glued and screwed them together. Using 3" deck screws (left over from rebuilding my deck) I alternated screw placement approximately every 12" and double-tapped the ends. Side-by-side, you can see the basic look of the finished tabletop.
*maybe, I dunno
Step 4: Remember to Measure Twice
This is where I messed up. Before checking to ensure the 4x4s fit, I had already glued and screwed the top and bottom together. Because of that, as soon as I realized I had messed up, I ended up breaking out a hacksaw and then a screwdriver and hammer to act as a chisel. It worked... beautifully....
Step 5: Put in Some Faceboards
The faceboards were pretty simple. Cut to length and screw them on. The shorter sides held the two halves of the tabletop together before I placed in the stringers, so I used some ratchet straps to secure each half tightly and then screwed them on.
Step 6: Stringers for Support
To prevent the table from folding in at the middle, I put 2x4 stringers across the middle. I placed them in equidistant intervals from the outside moving in so that the center pieces are double-support. The only downside is that the 2x4s hang down under the faceboards. I guess I could have gone with 2x8s instead, but I didn't have any lying around like I did the 2x6s. I figure in the future I can hang things from them perhaps, or maybe hang some shelves or drawers for really small stuff. They don't get in my way, so I'm not too worried.
Step 7: Flip It Over and Lag Bolt the Legs
So what I forgot to take a picture of was when I set in the 4x4 legs. I had initially put them in their respective slots and screwed them in from the sides. Then, once the table was flipped over onto said legs, I pre-drilled and then lag bolted through the tabletop down into the legs with 6" lag bolts. I didn't have the right tools to make a large enough hole for the heads of the bolts to sit flush in the table, so I rounded them out with a wood bit until there was enough space for me to ratchet the bolts down flush.
Step 8: Base Shelf
The base shelf below consists of 2x4s (mostly reclaimed) and a sheet of 1/2" plywood. The front side sits behind the front legs (to give me room to stand and not accidentally kick my shins) while the back extends all the way to the edge. There are a few stringers I spaced evenly since I had the material left over and wanted to provide the extra support.
Ignore my dirty basement; we moved in not too long ago and there's soon to be storage shelves to house some of the nonsense.