$100 10ft Work Bench/Surface With Storage

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Introduction: $100 10ft Work Bench/Surface With Storage

About: I'm a DIYer and creator likes to build, capture, and share my creations.

After moving into my home a few months ago, my priority from day one was to continue to build out my garage into my dream woodshop. Garages will always have their limitations, so I have been consistently trying to best utilize my space before making any big decisions. This workbench was a long time coming - something big, robust, heavy as all hell, and that gave me storage with a ton of work area surface. Excited to share my build!

Step 1: Design + SketchUp Model

Here is the final design for the bench, as well as all the components of the build broken out so you can see how they all come together. My actual build is just slightly different, but this is the basic structure of the whole piece.

Here is the SketchUp file for download if you want to purchase and build it!

Step 2: Measuring Your Space and Gathering Materials

You can see the sad state that was my "temporary solution". These cabinets weren't bad necessarily, but they were very ineffective for what I needed moving forward.

MATERIALS

  • 2 x 4' x 8' x 3/4" Plywood
  • 2 x 10' x 4" x 4"
  • 6 x 2' x 4' 10'
  • 1 x 5mm x 4' x 4' plywood
  • TiteBond II Wood Glue: http://amzn.to/2peRFus
  • 2.5" Screws

TOOLS

Step 3: Cutting My Legs to Length

My 4 x 4's were 10' long, so I marked out 34" (Pic 1) and ripped to length on my miter saw (Pic 2). My saw is just big enough for this. I repeated that for all six legs (Pic 3).

Step 4: Cutting Dados and Half Lap Joints

Pic 1 shows how I plan to cut dados and half lap joints into the legs to accept stretchers.

For bottom supports, I wanted to have my stretchers recessed in the legs. Pics 2-3 show me marking and measuring out the space that I'd later cut away with dados. These are for the Outside Dados.

Pics 4-5 show me cutting those dados on the miter saw using a miter gauge. Note that I do not have the piece sliding up against the fence - that is dangerous. Instead, clamp a piece at the front of your saw where you start, then when you rest your piece up against it, it will be in the proper position. As you move away from it over the blade, your piece will stay in that position against your miter gauge but won't be up against the fence. And I cut them for all six legs (Pic 6).

I then ripped the full dados on each leg for the button stretchers (Pics 6-7). These are Inside Dados

Step 5: Cutting Stretchers and Assembly (Part 1)

After cutting my dados, I moved to ripping my stretchers to length. They were around 10' long - I clamped them all together and cut them with a circular saw (Pic 1). I then laid out everything to begin assembly (Pic 2).

Three legs per side - I put a single stretcher in the bottom dado (Pic 3) and used a spacer block to line up the piece. I designed this so the stretcher would fill the entire dado, less the width of a 2x4 which would later be filled with an actual 2x4 for cross supports.

I applied glue and used 2.5" wood screws to hold things in place, checking for square in the process (Pics 4-5).

I then repeated that process for the other outside leg, and then lined up the middle stretcher (Pic 6) and attached using glue and screws. Pic 7 shows one final full leg support.

Note - i should have cut my top stretchers 3" longer - you can see they don't go all the way to the edges in Pic 7 - it's not a big deal - actually, that space can be used to put a vice in! Making lemonade...

Step 6: Cutting and Installing Cross Support (Assembly Part 2)

I cut a bunch of 2 x 4's on the miter saw to specific lengths (in my case I was looking to make my bench about 25" deep on the top) (Pic 1). I then used glue and screws to attached everything together - Pics 2-4 show me doing the top stretchers. Pic 5 shows me attaching the supports at the bottom - you can see here, per my earlier step, why I left the 1.5" gap on the ends, as now I could insert a 2x4 in that gap and bring everything together. Very sturdy!

I also cut middle stretchers for the middle of the bench (Pics 6-7) - I had 7 total stretchers on the top and bottom to provide rigidity and support for my work surface. The middle stretchers that were not on the outsides are just held together with screws.

Step 7: Cutting and Installing Your Bench

My dad and I ripped down our sheet of plywood on the table saw (Pic 1). The top sheet was full length, and about 25" wide - this was purposeful as it left about 23" of width on the remainder of the piece to be used for the bottom shelf. Since the bottom stretchers were on the insides of the posts, it made the lower shelf skinnier than the bench to - so again, this was perfect.

I lined up the top surface to the bench and attached it using brad nails (Pics 2-3). I wanted the freedom later on to replace this top with new material if it ever got too dinged up. For the bottom shelf, I needed to measure and notch out places for the 4x4s to go. I did this by measuring the bottom shelf and then cutting out the spaces with a jig saw (Pic 4). And it fell nicely into place after (Pic 5).

Since the bench was between 9 - 10 feet long, I needed additional plywood to finish out the top. I cut down the remainder from a second sheet of plywood (Pic 6) and then attached the top and bottom pieces again using brad nails (Pics 7-8). I needed to notch out the bottom piece like I did the other parts, but that was a lot of the same so I don't show it here.

You're left with a 4' x 6' sheet of 3/4" plywood - this is a ton of extra wood - I ended up making a huge clamp rack out of it - so although it felt like I might be way overbuying for this bench, there is nothing like having a huge amount of scraps to make something else that is very useful!

Step 8: Wiggle It Into It's Final Home!

After the bench was assembled, I cleaned out the space and wiggled the bench into place. It was really heavy. Once I added all my tools to it, I couldn't physically move it.

Perfect!

Step 9: Building Simple Drawers

I decided last minute to add drawers with additional scrap plywood that I salvaged from my parents old TV credenza that they were looking to toss. It was pretty high quality furniture plywood, so it ripped easily on the table saw (Pic 1) and miter saw (Pic 2). The drawers would be 4" tall and were as deep as the bench measured.

I then cut dados on the table saw to accept the drawer bottom. The kerf of the blade makes it so you just need to make two passes on the table saw 1/8" apart - very quick and easy (Pic 3). I then drilled pocket holes for joinery (Pic 4).

I used a sheet of 5mm 4'x4' plywood for the drawer bottoms that I broke down on my table saw (Pic 5). I then assembled everything - first attaching three sides together (Pic 6), then sliding in the drawer bottom between the dados, and then adding the fourth side. And I repeated that for all four drawers (Pic 7).

Step 10: Installing Makeshift Slides and Final Installation

I didn't want to buy drawer slides - this just felt unecessary and there wasn't really anything for me to mount them too on this bench.

Instead, I cut three pieces - a single 3/4" x 3/4" strip that would attach to the top sides of the drawer, an additional strip of the same size, and a strip that was 1.5" x 3.4", the ladder of which would combine to form an L. The L would be mounted to the bottom of the top shelf, and the strip could then be slide into it. Pic 1 shows this set up but upside down - it was really easy and I hope my explanation is clear!

Pics 2-4 show me making the "L" pieces. I drilled and counter sunk the holes so that when I glued up and screwed together, the screws didn't split the plywood or stick out and hinder the sliding of the drawer. Using little squeeze clamps while attaching screws was very handy.

I then repeated the same process for the strips that would be mounted to the drawers, and mounted them (Pics 5-6). I then could mount the slides to the underside of the drawer (Pic 7), and then slid in all four drawers (Pic 8).

NOTE - make sure your "L" stretchers are long enough to span the underside of the bench - I almost messed this up by cutting them too short!

Step 11: Making False Drawer Fronts

These drawers were massive - about 2' x 2', and I loved them. I decided last minute to add some false drawer fronts. This would make the piece a bit "prettier" and would also prevent the drawers from sliding any further back than they needed too.

I used left over walnut plywood from Purebond for this step - but you can just as easily use any type of wood for this - hardwoods, different plywoods, whitewoods, etc.

I unfortunately did not have enough material in the right size to make the drawer fronts a continuous grain, but anyways - I ripped down the pieces on the table saw (Pics 1-2) based on the sizes I needed.

I then clamped into place, leveled off, and attached the drawer fronts using some brad nails (Pics 3-5).

I then marked center and drilled pilot holes for some single pine door nobs that I had from left over Ikea furniture back in the day (Pic 6). Then just some screws to attach them (Pic 7).

Step 12: All Finished!

I didn't film me putting on a finish, but I used some cutting board oil just to bring out the grain - I didn't want to go fancy and I didn't want to spend any more time making this thing! You can see how big and robust this thing is with me next to it, how the drawers look, and how many tools it olds.

I love it!

Thanks for reading - make sure you check out the video in the first step on my YT channel!

See you around!
Zach

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    28 Comments

    0
    runciblefish
    runciblefish

    1 year ago

    I came looking for a good sturdy bench design. I need look no further, that's a beautiful and functional piece of work.
    Just one criticizm. That bench deserves a big sturdy vise to match its awesomeness. Buy yourself a nice big heavy vise, you deserve it.

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    Workshop Edits
    Workshop Edits

    Reply 1 year ago

    So funny that I got this comment this weekend - I literally just restored this vice from my father in law this past week and it came out so good - a vice worthy of the bench!

    Screen Shot 2021-08-08 at 11.25.58 AM.png
    0
    runciblefish
    runciblefish

    Reply 1 year ago

    Okay, now I have vise-envy. That is beautiful, and it's going to be a great addition to a great workbench. You've got a Maker's Paradise going there.
    I'll post a picture when I get my bench built.

    0
    runciblefish
    runciblefish

    Reply 1 year ago

    One other thing. I looked at your photos before I read all the text and saw where you mentioned that the top stretchers were too short. But when I was looking at the photos, I thought, man, this guy is really clever, leaving space on the corner leg-notchs to allow for extending the bench in the future.
    Update: here's a picture of my bench (12-feet long). Pardon the extra boards in the photo.

    bench.jpg
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    Workshop Edits
    Workshop Edits

    Reply 1 year ago

    That's funny and would have been a great idea and I guess keeping it that way does allow for it.

    If you actually look at the YT video thumbnail above, I've since done a number of modifications overtime to the bench that I would recommend having had it for 2+ years now, including;

    Rockler heavy dude Castors to move the entire thing
    Replaced entire bench top with a 10' x 2' clear douglas fir top that I reclaimed from a friend (absolutely beautiful work surface - not sure you can even buy that type of wood anymore)
    Removed one drawer to make space for extra small shop vacuum
    Replaced entire drawers (more sturdy and well built and added metal extension 22" slides
    Added pullout trays for all the tools on the bottom for easier access
    Added tools on top of it (grinder, drill press, 2 x 3D printers, and a laser engraver)
    3D printed a small parts storage system for the entirety of one drawer (you can check out my tiktok page for that)
    Added 3D printed locking mechanisms for drawers for when I move the bench, etc.
    Added 3D printed mounts for speed squares

    The best part about this type of thing is you can just continue to make it more "you" over time. Cheers.

    0
    runciblefish
    runciblefish

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks, I will check out the video. Those sound like some great upgrades.

    0
    Jobar007
    Jobar007

    Question 3 years ago

    Why 10' and not 8'? You increased your cost by close to 70% by having it go the extra two feet.

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    Workshop Edits
    Workshop Edits

    Answer 3 years ago

    In short - I wanted something that spanned the entire wall under the cabinets and future tool wall I was building. Second, I new that the extra could be used to build a clamp rack that I had already designed - also featured in the video.

    I specifically talk about this in the video and how even though you're buying two sheets of plywood there is plenty for a second project. Anyone with a shop knows that 3/4" of a full sheet of plywood will never go to waste.

    0
    gm280
    gm280

    Reply 3 years ago

    When you are custom building shop benches and cabinets, any length is the correct size. I have one enclosed bench that spans 16 foot with sliding drawers on the top and cabinet doors on the bottom. And the top is butcher block as well. Amazingly heavy, but it doesn't move even a millimeter.

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    Workshop Edits
    Workshop Edits

    Reply 3 years ago

    pretty much exactly what I was going for - something heavy and bespoke to my space - if someone wants to save money, then yea sure go ahead and build it with just a single sheet.

    0
    thomhaha
    thomhaha

    Reply 3 years ago

    Not intending to belabor the issue (you've answered why you chose 10 feet, and I too like to over purchase so as to have material for other projects) but a 12-foot top could have been cut from a single sheet of ply, providing overhang onto which you could clamp. That said, the basics of what you describe are highly adaptable - thanks!

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    Workshop Edits
    Workshop Edits

    Reply 3 years ago

    naw you're good - i hear you too but 10 feet was pretty much the limit that I could fit in my space. I plan to have a more hand tool traditional set up elsewhere in the shop - this was more about adapting the space I had overall to fit my need (as you stated). Plus, I already had that clamp rack in mind, so it was nice to double up on the material and make two great shop projects in a single weekend.

    0
    Jobar007
    Jobar007

    Reply 3 years ago

    Sounds great. You didn't list any reason behind the length in the 'ible, hence the question.

    0
    woodchipwilbur
    woodchipwilbur

    3 years ago

    Looking at your rebates for the rails, I see that they are quite a loose-looking fit. Is there a good reason for that? I would have thought that a snugger fit would hold the bench more rigid.

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    Workshop Edits
    Workshop Edits

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hey thanks! Funny you mention the masonite idea - that actually crossed my mind after I finished this and I think my plan is to go back and actually do that in the next month - saves me a lot on plywood down the road and as you said, saves some hassle and money! Thanks for watching - I need some practice on my dados!

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    Workshop Edits
    Workshop Edits

    Reply 3 years ago

    Hi there - not totally sure what you are referring to on this - can you clarify and maybe I can answer - cheers!

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    woodchipwilbur
    woodchipwilbur

    Reply 3 years ago

    I just saw the loose-looking joints and wondered. See the details of your images. Your bench is good and solid and heavy - which is great - but I don't see any back panel attached that will help to prevent the bench from leaning over and becoming a parallelogram. As the joints don't look to provide a particularly tight joint, then I would fear that, with a bit of use, the whole construction could easily achieve quite a significant wobble. In the good old days before sheet material was common (yes, I'm old enough to remember that!), then you'd use triangulation straps to maintain rigidity - but nowadays, a sheet of pretty well anything will help to hold the whole thing stiff.

    Untitled-2.jpgUntitled-3.jpgUntitled-5.jpg
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    Workshop Edits
    Workshop Edits

    Reply 3 years ago

    Ah- i see your point - yea thats just a result of doing these joints for the first time and using very uneven / low quality 2 x 4s - something to improve as I make more things but for this they are plenty strong with the glue and screws I used. I'd never consider this kind of work acceptible for furniture, etc. - just purely function.

    0
    woodchipwilbur
    woodchipwilbur

    Reply 3 years ago

    I think I am also talking "purely function". A workbench takes (literally!) a lot of hammer and screws and glue loosen over time. As you design something like this, it should be inherently strong and not rely on fixings. So I would make some shims to pack the loose joints and I would fix at least some sheet material at the back to keep the bench rigidly square. It doesn't need to cover the whole ten feet. Again, I would probably want to fix that board between the vertical legs, rather than just screwing it onto the back. That's because, again, I'd like to see something that was rigid by design and not simply because of the amount of ironmongery I screwed in.

    Just like GM280, I would want to see your impressive array of power tools behind some cupboard doors. The thought of stirring up all that dust with a leaf blower is an interesting one!

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    Workshop Edits
    Workshop Edits

    Reply 3 years ago

    This bench is more of a work surface than a true woodworking bench - I think the best thing about building something for yourself is that you make it to your needs. I'd argue its as strong or stronger than the same bench that just used screws and buttjoints which is what 99% of people do. Shims - yea I suppose I could add.

    Vices, dog holes, hold downs, etc. - that's all for a true woodworking bench which is on my list but down the road but was not the purposes of this - like a Roubo. Maybe I should re-title this as "work surface". Screw it. I'll just do that.

    Again, it's a concept for creating a work space that you can adapt however you want, the challenge is to find what you need and go do it from here - cheers!