In the simplest way, this is a bench from reused wood. I can't even remember what this wood was, maybe it was a bed frame, doesn't matter. It was going to be thrown out, and we intervened.
Maybe you have wood you don't know what to do with, or when you see this prize possession on the sidewalk, or sticking out of dumpster, you'll have an idea of what to do with it. Let's get started.
I used 3 inch #2 square drive screws, make sure the length of screw doesn't protrude when you assemble your project. I also pre drilled for a couple of reasons. It's a long screw and could twist the screw in half under all of the torque, and it will prevent wood from splitting as the screw goes in. I bought 8 2x4's because I knew I needed 8 legs for two tables, cross braces to stabilize the legs and to hold the three boards for the table top together.
In the first picture, I have three boards on the garage floor in an upside down configuration. I don't know what the wood attached to the ends was for, but I'm using that to my advantage and don't have to take it off.
Step 1: I Took This Picture After It Was Assembled, the Next Step Is to Place the 2x4 Brace While It's Still Upside Down.
I placed a 2x4 next to the blocks that were attached to the original boards, then pressed another 2x4 next to it, to be screwed to all of the boards to hold them together.
Since the legs are 2x4's, a 2x4 was an obvious choice to use as a spacer for placing the brace. Put two screws through the 2x4 into each board.
I also placed a 2x4 in the middle so it would keep the boards together better, if a lot of weight was put on it.
Step 2: Probably the Hardest Step If You Don't Have Help
Since there are few things that are perfect in this world, this is where you have to deal with how the legs might not be evenly matched to the floor. You can cut the length of the legs perfectly but the floor may not be level. If the legs do not reach the floor the same, it is quite simple to cut a shim the correct thickness from a 2x4 and place it under the shorter of the four legs with some wood glue..
For this step I placed two legs on one side, then carefully lifted the other side to place the other two legs, to see how it would stand.
In retrospect, I should have put one screw in each leg from the outside of the original block of wood, to hold the legs better. It fell over once making it take longer to get this step done.
Step 3: One Work Bench Had Lower Shelves, the Other One Didn't.
Lower shelves also serve as rigidity, so it's time to make the cross braces from front to back to give the shelves something to sit on.
The best way for measuring how long to make the braces is get your measurement all the way at the top from the front to back leg. There is the least movement of the legs at the top and the measurement will reveal how long to make the board for the shelf. When you place the board at the desired height from the floor, and make it even from the front leg to the back leg, all four legs will automatically be square without having to measure anything else.
Step 4: How Cool Was It to Make the Second Table, Pretty Cool When You Have Work Bench to Build It.
The only difference in the two tables is I would not be putting shelves on the 2nd table to be able to store something underneath.
It is still necessary to brace the legs, so your work bench doesn't resemble a baby giraffe taking it's first steps.
Not only did I have in mind the front to back braces, in case shelves were placed at a future time, I also made braces, not pictured, that go from the back legs, above the front to back brace, to the underside of the table top at a 45 degree angle.
If none of the angular braces make sense, image where you would have to place wood to keep the outside legs from moving further in an out. If I would have had a 2x4 long enough, it would have gone from left to right at the same height as the front to back braces.
Lastly, a basically fantastic way to keep your work bench from shaking around is to screw a piece of wood, like a 1x2, or 1x3 to the underside of your workbench next to the wall. If you put a couple of screws through that wood to a stud in the wall, it will keep your workbench from shaking side to side, while the legs support the weight of your project.