I work for a general contractor, and was lucky enough to be the project manager on a job that has a ton of cedar installed throughout the building. Outside, a subcontractor was installing a cedar trellis with massive 6" x 12" beams, and I knew I had to use them for a project. I scavenged as many scraps as I could, and decided to build a great workbench for & with my four year old son.
- Circular & Miter Saw
- Dremel or Router
- Orbit Sander - 60 & 150 grit
- Measuring Tape
- 2x6 Cedar Boards
- Tongue and Groove Cedar Planks (Plywood or pallet planks can substitute)
- 6x12 Cedar Beams (4x4 or pallet supports can substitute)
- 2' x 4' sheet of peg board
- peg board accessories
- Screws - 1 & 2.5 inch
- Wood Glue
- Wood Stain (Optional)
I spent about a week thinking about and planning the bench in my spare time. This included measuring out tables that fit my son, and checking on his reach. Actual build time took four evenings and around 20 hours total.
- All of the wood used in this project was scrap wood from the job site.
- 2' x 4' peg board - $8
- Peg board accessories - $10
- 4 pack of sand paper - $4 for each grit
- Screws - $12
Step 1: Assemble the Main Structure
I forgot to take any pictures of the parts prior to assembly, but I think the pictures with give a good idea of how it was done. Prior to assembling anything, I made sure to sand all of the support assembly with 60 grit sand paper. The cedar legs had a ton of splinters in them, so I went ahead and sanded those legs to a 150 grit.
The main support assembly consists of two 20" 2x6 runners with three 33" long 2x6 cross members. I laid two of the cross members flat to help anchor the tongue and groove top.
The legs were cut with a 3" x 6" flat top then cut at about a 30 degree angle. The overall height of the front legs is 24" and the back legs are 45" tall.
I clamped the support structure to the legs and installed 4 screws into each leg. In hindsight, I would have preferred to use through bolts to make the connections stronger.
Step 2: Assemble the Tongue & Groove Top
I ran three rows of tongue and groove pieces to a total width of 47" and a final row to 36" to fit in between the two back legs. This wood took a ton of hammering to fit in place. Based on experience of breaking a tongue or two, I suggest you hammer from the groove side. You can also use a dremel with a router bit or router to shave off a portion of the groove to help the fit.
Once all of the pieces were fit together, I sanded the assembled top with 60 grit and 150 grit sand paper. After I cleaned all the dust off, I applied two coats of semi gloss stain.
Step 3: Route the Trim Pieces
For the front trim piece, I cut another T&G piece to 47 inches, ripped a the tongue and groove edges off, and routed a 1/2" groove into the top about 3/4 of an inch from the top.
For the back trim piece, I cut out a 3/4" x 1-1/2" section out of a 36" long 2x6.
Also shown is the top piece that is simply a 37" long 2x6.
All of these pieces were sanded to 150 grit.
Step 4: Install the T&G Top and Trim Pieces
The top was installed with two screws on each t&g piece. These screws ran on top of the 20" runners that were installed with the original support step. I used a big clamp to ensure the t&g was as tight as possible before fastening the boards down.
The front trim was hammered into place, and then I used 5 screws to fasten it in place. 2 screws in each runner, and one in the middle. Once again, a clamp was extremely helpful in ensuring the trim piece was installed as tight as possible.
The back trim piece was installed with one low screw going into the back of the t&g top, then one screw installed diagonally on each side of the trim piece.
Step 5: Install the Top Piece and Peg Board
I routed out a 1/2" deep by 1-1/2" tall chunk out of each of the tall support legs. Then I glued the 37" 2x6 top board in place.
I then used the 1" screws to secure the peg board to the back of the work bench. Screws were run the full length of the top and sides with about 3 installed in the middle of the back trim piece.
Finally, I put the peg board accessories in place and hung my sons tools for all to see. We are now ready for whatever project comes next.