$100 10ft Work Bench/Surface With Storage

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About: I'm a DIYer and creator likes to build, capture, and share my creations. Thanks for watching! Zach aka The Cutting Bored

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!

Thank you to Purebond for helping support this project! Purebond is a no-added formaldehyde product sourced and manufactured in North America and is the highest quality plywood material I have ever worked with.
Check out their website here for more information: http://purebondplywood.com/

Step 1: 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
Sawstop
Contractors 30” Saw: https://amzn.to/2Luh91q

RYOBI
10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw: http://amzn.to/2q1klHw
Miter Saw Stand: http://amzn.to/2p1072e
Circular Saw: http://amzn.to/2q1l5wn
Impact Driver: http://amzn.to/2q1l5wn
Cordless Brad Nailer: http://amzn.to/2p1dYFD

KREG
K5 Pocket Hole Jig: http://amzn.to/2qb8S7t
Quick Clamp: http://amzn.to/2riyHU8

Step 2: 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 3: 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 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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 7: 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 8: 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 9: 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 10: 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 11: 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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    22 Discussions

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    Jobar007

    Question 2 months ago

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

    6 more answers
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    TheCuttingBoredJobar007

    Answer 2 months 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.

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    gm280TheCuttingBored

    Reply 2 months 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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    TheCuttingBoredgm280

    Reply 2 months 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.

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    thomhahaTheCuttingBored

    Reply 2 months 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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    TheCuttingBoredthomhaha

    Reply 2 months 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.

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    Jobar007TheCuttingBored

    Reply 2 months ago

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

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    woodchipwilbur

    2 months 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.

    7 replies
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    TheCuttingBoredwoodchipwilbur

    Reply 2 months 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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    TheCuttingBoredwoodchipwilbur

    Reply 2 months 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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    woodchipwilburTheCuttingBored

    Reply 2 months 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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    TheCuttingBoredwoodchipwilbur

    Reply 2 months 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.

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    woodchipwilburTheCuttingBored

    Reply 2 months 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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    TheCuttingBoredwoodchipwilbur

    Reply 2 months 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!

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    woodchipwilburTheCuttingBored

    Reply 2 months ago

    ... another quite separate thing strikes me which, perhaps, is the cause of some of my unease...

    You have a fine and sturdy bench. I don't know quite what work you do, but from the evidence of your machinery, it's quite a lot of woodworking. Yet this bench has no provision for holding wood. You can't clamp things down because of the drawers along the front. Even without them, there is no lip as the top is flush (I think) with the top rail. There's no woodworking vice (sorry - in US, it's a "vise", I think) or any provision for a holdfast.

    If you want to work on a piece of timber on your bench, how do you hold it down?

    I'm interested in this thread because I, too, am kitting out my shed. It's not huge (4m x 2.7m) and it has to service a number of different needs. I hope I'm not just being over critical, but maybe I'll expose myself by writing an instructable too...

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    GregG139

    2 months ago

    Excellent job on this, and the pictures spoke a thousand words!! I had built something similar to this but smaller (2 feet by 4 feet) about 15 years ago, with the dadoes and rabbet joints and it was (and still is) rock-solid after all this time! I purposely cut the dadoes just a hair undersize so it was a tight press-fit and then used screws and glue.

    Good idea on the top as well. One thing which always worked well for me was to attach the top with countersunk screws, then put a sacrificial layer of 1/4-inch lauan or pressboard / masonite on the top and secure this with countersunk screws. Same principle as yours, and if/when the top surface gets dinged up, I can just pull the screws and replace it. Saves me the hassle of pulling out brads when I have to replace the top surface and it's cheaper overall since I'm replacing the 1/4-inch layer instead of the 3/4-inch plywood.

    You really put a lot of time and thought into this and it shows! Bravo!

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    ChipsWoodShop

    Tip 2 months ago

    I noticed you use "rip" to mean making various kinds of cuts, but it's commonly used to mean lengthwise cuts, specifically. Cross-cutting is used to cut long boards to length.

    1 reply