I haven't been the most active D.I.Y. person. I could do the basics but never really built anything serious until this year. We pulled down the old front fence and built a new one from scratch. This changed my mindset from 'everything is too hard' to 'I think I can do that', which led me to building this workbench.
Having a small workbench area was the real motivation for getting started. Removing tools from the top of the bench to do anything was beginning to be a pain, and not having enough room to store tools, offcuts and bit and pieces was slowing the flow.
I needed a bigger workbench with a spacious work area and maybe even tool storage. I started looking for inspiration – first things first, any ideas had to be achievable with my limited skill set.
Being a big guy, the starting point was figuring out the best height for the workbench, which worked out to be 920mm. I measured up the length of one wall in the garage and found it to be 4.6m long. The overall length of my bench is 3.7m long with enough space on either side to store long pieces of timber standing upright.
The size of the left and right sections are 1300mm from leg to leg, 780mm deep and starting height of 890mm before the bench top goes on. The middle is a plywood project panel sitting over my tool box and secured to the outside leg of each section.
Clamp two lengths together to form an L shape. Use a square to get the legs flush and tighten the clamps to prevent unplanned movement.
Use a 10mm spade bit to drill three holes 250mm apart down one side of the leg, then pre-drill with a small drill bit to make it easier for the 75mm screws to go in. Repeat this process four times to create the legs.
Measure your space to determine where your bottom shelf will begin. I wanted the bottom shelf to be at least 300mm off the ground so I could put things underneath the bench if need be. I measured 402mm from the bottom – 300mm space, 90mm for the thickness of the wood to make the shelf and 12mm for the thickness of the MDF panel that would go on top.
Cut two pieces of timber (I used offcuts) to 300mm and clamp them to the front legs in the middle section. Measure and cut two cross supports at 680mm to sit on top of the off cuts, check for level, then clamp the cross supports. Using the 10mm spade bit, pre-drill and then use 75mm screws to join together. Do the same for the cross supports that the benchtop will be placed on over the toolbox in the middle section.
I was able to modify my basic plan to allow for my table saw to be included. I took a lot of time with this, measuring it up, drawing it all out in a scrapbook, and checking everything to make sure all the maths worked out correctly before starting.
The time spent researching this project really pays off in the long run. From starting out without a clue on how and where to begin to getting an understanding of what was required and how to go about it, I gave myself an education in D.I.Y. in the process.
Other D.I.Y. workbench projects
Workshop memberJoeAzzatook apart his existingworkbenchto build a frame that would accommodate wheels and added a beautiful Ash timber benchtop from Bunnings.
Unable to find a portable workbench that ticked all the boxes, Bunnings Workshop member Taracreated her own with lockable castor wheels, space for her drop saw and plenty of storage alongside vertical shelving.
How to build a workbench
Learn how to build your own portable workbench with plenty of storage by following this step-by-step guide by experienced Workshop member Peggers. There’s also a guide for building a matching garage storage unit so you can keep everything you need for your next build close at hand.