Simple Modular Desk/Workbench




Introduction: Simple Modular Desk/Workbench

This Workbench/Desk combo was designed to be affordable, functional, simple to build, and modular. (Easy to move for apartment dwellers). For myself, I choose to use Birch 4'x8' boards because I like how sturdy it feels over pine. You can use any wood you like. Because I choose Birch, it was a little more expensive. All in all, it cost about $150. It's very easy to adapt/alter for your needs.

You can build this Workbench in any configuration you'd like. It took me about 8 hours between cutting, sanding, and assembly, so it's an easy day project.

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Step 1: Gather Your Materials


Drill, Sandpaper, Saw (Home Depot will cut it for you ;)), 1 1/4" screws

Wood Cuts (all 3/4" thick):

  • Leg (just one)
    • 1x 29"x16" (Back of Leg)
    • 2x 24"x16" (Top and Bottom)
    • 2x 27.5"x24" (Sides)
    • 2x 24"x1.5" (Shelf Struts)
    • 1x 14.5"x23.5" (Shelf)
  • Top
    • Mine is 8' long, but you can make it any length you wish. For anything over 8' you will need three legs for maximum support.
    • 1x 2'x8' (Tabletop)
    • 3x 4"x8' (Tabletop supporting spines)


    • Rubber feet (for shelves)
    • Rubber grip mat

Step 2: Get Your Cuts

Home Depot did all the cuts for me, they may charge 1$ per cut after the first 5.

Step 3: Drill Pilot Holes in the Back Part of the Leg.

Notice that I don't drill in the corners at all. This is probably the most important part to do right, as the rest of the unit is supported by the back piece while you are assembling it.

Step 4: Add the Top Plank Next...

Carefully hold the top plank at a right angle to the back piece. You may need an extra set of hands, but I was able to do this myself. I called in my girlfriend for backup on the second leg. Once the pilot hole is set in the top piece, you can use an allen wrench or any other peg-like object to hold it in place while you drill the remaining holes.

Step 5: Put the Sides and Bottom On.

Now that there is more support, use this and one side piece to stand the unit up. Line up one side and drill the pilot holes and screw it in. Repeat for the second leg and for the bottom plank.

Step 6: Screw in the Top and Bottom Blanks to the Side Planks

Drill the front most holes first, and use Allen Wrenches (or Pegs) to hold it in place while you drill the rest of the holes. Screw them in. I use 3 screws on each side, top and bottom.

Step 7: Add Shelf Struts

This is the trickiest part. I found it was easiest to measure halfway down the from the top of the leg to the bottom, and to draw a straight line from the back to the front. I had 8 1' lengths, so I used 4 screws per side. You should use 2' lengths to save time and screws.

Place the strut on top of your line. Be careful to line up the middle of the strut with the line perfectly. Drill pilot holes through the strut and through the side of the leg, being careful not to move it. Use pegs to assist you like before.

I placed rubber feet on my shelves, so they won't slide so much. This is optional.

Step 8: Assemble the Tabletop

Choose which side you want to use for your top, and flip it over. Place your 4"x8' lengths on the back. One down the middle, and two at the ends. These will provide more support for longer desks. If you are building a smaller desk, this may be optional.

Make sure to screw at the ends, and down the middle of each supporting plank. Be careful not to go through to the top of the desk.

Step 9: Place the Table Top on the Desk/Final Sanding

The top is pretty heavy, and will stay put for the most part. I recommend cutting a few strips of rubber gripping material to help keep it secure, especially if you need to use it as a work bench.

Once ready, I recommend to sand all of the edges of the desk so you wont get hurt or get splinters anywhere. The tabletop and the legs.

Step 10: Viola! You Now Have an Awesome Workbench!

I built mine to be a 3' desk + 5' of workbench space for electronics projects. You can modify my design in any way for your needs. I am thinking of adding a hutch for the workbench side, as it is sturdy enough to support it without issue. This took ~8 hours in total taking my time.

Good luck with your builds!

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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Good design and it is very easy for new woodworkers, and I used different type of plans for my customer, and one of the woodworking forum I download few different plans and I used for my customer and they like it, If anyone looking for different woodworking plans contact at ( )
    I can share my plans

    Love the modular design! some of those cloth drawers would be really cool to use as drawers for the cubbies!


    Reply 3 years ago

    Ahh, that's a cool idea!

    Modern Rustic Workshop
    Modern Rustic Workshop

    Reply 3 years ago

    $3-4 on Amazon these would look great! The ones I have are even collapsible.
    (Not an affiliate link, just showing the idea) -


    3 years ago

    It looks good! You've got a lot of surface area to work with :)


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you! That was the goal, I can't wait to build the next thing!