I built my son a workbench for his second birthday. I have a lot of scrap wood leftover from various projects, most has been stored outdoors and is partially weathered. I do like the rustic look this gave the project. My goal was to use only pieces that I had on hand and to make a functional workbench that he can project on throughout his childhood.
This is my first instructable and it was not my intent to turn it into one so I did not take very many pictures of the process. I will do my best to describe the pictures in as much detail as I can. I was somewhat at the mercy of the scrap lengths of wood that I had on hand so there was very little measuring involved in this project. If you build from scrap as I did you will need to customize to what you have on hand. Also the height that you would like for your childs size would determine your dimensions as well. For these reasons I will not be giving very many specific measurements.
This whole project was completed using a compound miter saw, drill, pockethole jig, speed square, and tape measure (barely).
Step 1: Framework
First you will need to build a frame. I used four 2×2s for the legs and 1×3's for the rest of the frame. I took the longest pair of 2×2's and cut them even preserving as much length as I could. I found two more that were about the height I wanted the bench top and cut them even to each other to use as the front legs. I then cut four 1×3's to 13 inches.
Sides were built first by marking the length of the short legs on the long legs. Drill pilot holes in the 13 inch boards and connect the legs squarely using 2 screws in each end.
The front runners were the longest scrap I could find and I cut them to match in length and secured them the same as the sides.
The back runners were cut to fit inside dimensions of the corner 2×2's as I did not have any other scrap as long as the front pieces. I used pocket holes to secure these inside.
Step 2: Measure, Measure, Cut, and Test Fitment.
The remaining pieces were cut from 1×3 (benchtop) and ripped 1/2 inch plywood (lower shelf):.
I made my first 2 cuts at 13 in. not thinking about the thickness of the front runner boards. Luckily I was able to use these on the ends of the benchtop because of the back corner 2×2's extending through the benchtop. Just reiterates the old saying of measure twice cut once. After realizing said mistake I clamped a block of wood to my saw to use as a stop at the proper length that I needed to cut the boards for the benchtop and lower shelf.
In the photo none of the boards have been secured to the frame. They have only been placed to figure out spacing and if I would have enough material.
Step 3: Mark and Drill
Here I have marked the edges of each peice as I removed them. between the marks I drilled a pocket hole to secure the top boards to.
Step 4: Lower Shelf
I did not have enough scrap to build a solid lower shelf. For these I used a scrap that had been ripped from a sheet of plywood and left in the weather for some years. I ended up spacing the boards along the bottom by putting some down and taking every other one out. Luckily this worked out perfect. I marked again where the boards were and drilled pocketholes for each section. I attached each board with one screw at each end. On the back bottom board the pocket holes are on the back as I didn't want the chance of them being seen from the front through the slats. After you have drilled pocket holes clamp and secure the slats.
Step 5: Bench Top
Drill pocketholes into each slat that will make up the top. These will hold them tightly against each other. I found clamping a few of them together before securing them to the frame made it go faster than one at a time. This in not necessary but I felt it added some more strength to the top that should be built for abuse.
Step 6: Finish/Admire
Last pieces are a pegboard backer and a small strip of plywood on top as trim. Stand back, admire what you have built, give to a child, see them smile, watch them grow and learn as they use it. Hope you've enjoyed!