2 X 4 Table Top




About: I enjoy simple DIY projects and enjoy sharing them with others. I'm 33 and I am a sheet metal worker by trade. I really enjoy remodeling and making things. I'm married and have two wonderful children.

So I made this table top so I could use it as a woodworking bench. I built it the exact same size as my welding table. I do a fair amount of woodworking and metalworking in my garage and I am a little strapped for room. This top is easy enough to take off and put on as long as you have a strong back or another person to help you move it. The table top is nice and solid and most importantly FLAT.

***Check out the video for an in-depth tutorial****

Materials I used:

  • 2 x 4's
  • Wood Glue
  • 3/8" Dowels
  • Polyurethane

Tools I used:

  • Miter Saw
  • Thickness Planer
  • Clamps
  • Dowel Jig
  • Circular Saw
  • Reciprocating Saw
  • Orbital Sander
  • Belt Sander
  • Drill
  • Stain Brush

Step 1: Step 1: Build the Slab

For this table I purchased 24, 2 x 4's. It took a little while to sort through them trying to find the best ones. Using my miter saw I set my backstop to 72" and cut off the worst looking end.

From there I took each piece to my thickness planer and planed approx 1/32 off each end. This makes for a nicer glue-up

After that it was time for gluing. I glued 8, 2 x 4's together so that the slab would fit through my planer. I used quite a bit of glue for this. I found a glue spreader at my local hardware store that seemed to work pretty well. I would simply drizzle the glue out of the gallon bottle and then spread it out with the spreader. After all 8 pieces were stacked on top of one another I clamped the slab with 4 clamps. Once the clamps were tight a ton of glue seeped out and I used a damp cloth to clean up the spillage on both top and bottom. Then I let it dry for 24 hours.

I made this table in 3 sections so this part was repeated 2 more times.

Step 2: Step 2: Conjoin the 3 Slabs

After the glue has set, it's time to take off the clamps and run all 3 slabs through the thickness planer. Since I was maxing out my planer, and the slabs were so heavy, I had to take off 1/64th of an inch at a time. I made sure that I ran each slab through at the same height and I also did top and bottom of the slab. After everything was said and done I took off 3/16 of an inch in total so this was actually quite a lengthy process.

Now that all 3 slabs are flat and of the same thickness it's time to add the dowels. I picked up a cheap dowel jig from my local hardware store and chose to use 3/8 dowels. I marked 2 inches in on the ends, one in the middle and one in-between the middle and end. So I used 10 dowels in total. 5 on each side.

The holes were drilled, I marked the receiving end, and the dowel was glued, then the whole entire slab was glued. Then with the glue still wet I clamped the entire slab together using some pipe clamps. I then let this dry for 36 hours.

Step 3: Step 3: Square Up the Top

To do this I used a drywall T-square. I just marked each end and went in as far as the furthest board stuck in. Maybe 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch. I drew a line and then used my circular saw to cut the ends. This did not cut all the way through so I used my sawzall to cut through the rest.

The sawzall ended up leaving a nasty edge on the ends of the slab so to get rid of this i used a belt sander with 120 grit sandpaper. This made for a quick fix.

Step 4: Step 4: Sanding the Top

Since the belt sander was out, I decided to hit the top of the slab quick. I did not spend much time on this part and mostly focused on where the slabs were glued together. Then I used my orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper and smoothed up the top and the edges / ends. After this I did a quick vacuum clean up on the top with the shop-vac.

Step 5: Step 5: Finalization

I have to denote that in the video I used butcher block oil before the polyurethane. This was completely unnecessary. All you actually need is some poly. I was going for the darkened look but poly would have been enough to do this.

I spread the poly on slightly thick using a one coat poly made by Minwax. I really like this stuff by the way. I applied it to the top, ends and sides of the top. Let it dry for about 4 hours and then it was ready for use.

All in all I think I spent around 40 bucks for this top. And it's worth every penny. It took about 6 hours in total work to complete but it's nice and solid and most importantly FLAT! I would recommend doing this if you're new to woodworking and want a nice solid top for cheap.

I hope everyone enjoyed this instructable. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. Otherwise check out my YouTube channel to view more videos like this one!



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    9 Discussions


    4 days ago

    Most of my workbenches have been a discarded (or new) door on a frame made from 2x4's, but then most of my work at the bench has been with small electronics assembly and repair. I was thinking about glueing 2x4's together, etc. as you did, as a bench top for a bench that would be used for supporting a box & pan brake. I thought this approach might handle the weight of the brake. I'm in a situation where I can't really have a brake on a stand bolted to the floor, it being a garage and no matter where I bolt it down at it's always going to be the wrong location.


    1 year ago

    Ive built a similar top, Only with 6 boards. Was for a sofa table. I used about 10 clamps to glue it up and I still had gaps between the wood. . I did not plane 1 side 1st before I glued it up. I also was not selective with the wood. I used reclaimed wood from a construction site. I was curious, Do you have many gaps in the wood? I know the Poly will fill the voids. Just curious, Hard to see the joints in fine detail. But looks great thanks for the Instructable. Im building a work bench soon and the plan is using 2x4s since money is limited. I want to make it as nice as possible. With NO gaps in it.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    The gaps i do have are very small and not many. I really need to invest in a planer. That would alleviate the gaps for sure


    1 year ago

    Thank you.


    1 year ago

    This is a nice solution for a shop where both metal and wood work are done. I really appreciate seeing this, so thank you. Great looking table top!


    1 year ago

    That is exactly how I build all the bench tops in my shop. And one was 16 feet long too. It was quite heavy. But between my two adult sons and myself, we handled it. Pine 2 x 4's can look amazing when cut and squared up that way. I even have the exact same planer that you used as well. Good project!

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yeah this is quite heavy but very solid. I like it a lot and thanks!