A DIY Guide to Building a Heavy Duty Workbench
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A DIY Guide to Building a Heavy Duty Workbench

The workbench is the cornerstone on which every DIYer’s workshop is built. Building a good heavy-duty workbench is a relatively simple project and a good way for every new DIYer to start using all those new tools that he/she received for Christmas. A few power tools will make the job go quicker but the bench that I am about to describe in this article can be built with nothing but a few hand tools. This bench is an excellent general-purpose workbench for everyone from the DIY auto mechanic to the beginning woodworker.

Tools that you will need for this project.

1. A circular saw or a crosscut hand saw.

2. A power miter saw or a crosscut handsaw.

3. A drill/driver or a carpenters bit brace.

4. High speed drill bits

5. A set of spade bits.

6. A carpenter’s tape measure.

7. A jig saw.

8. A 4-foot level or chalk line.

9. A 10” combination square commonly referred to as a “speed square.”

10. A 3/8” drive socket set.

11. A box wrench set.

12. A nail set.

13. A carpenter’s claw hammer.

All of these tools are available at any home center but I recommend Harbor Freight as your one stop source for high quality tools sold at a very reasonable price.

Your material lists

2 8 foot 4X4’s

5 8 foot 2X4’s

2 12 foot 2X12’s

1 4X8 foot sheet of ½” plywood

1bx 3” deck screws.

1bx 1” deck screws

These instructions are for a 2’X6’ workbench.

1. Begin by cutting the six legs to length. Mark each 4X4 at 32” and 64” and center your cut on these lines. By centering your cut on these lines, you will get three legs slightly under 32” long from each 96” 4X4. A power miter saw allows you make these cuts fast and accurately. You can cut them with your circular saw but you will have to use two passes to do it because most circular saws have a thickness limitation of 2”’s.

2. Cut 4 69”long side stretchers from four of the 2X4’s.

3. Using the cutoff pieces from the side stretchers, cut 4 26” long end stretchers.

4. Cut 4 23” long center stretchers from a new 2X4

5. Cut the two 2X12 into four 6 foot lengths.

Now you are ready to start assembling you workbench.

1. Using your combination square mark each leg 6” above the floor. A red or black “Sharpie” makes a good marking tool for this project.

2. Using your tape measure and speed square mark each side stretcher at 34 ½” to align the center legs.

3. Laying the legs flat on the floor align the bottom stretchers with the marks you made in step 1 and fasten with 1 3” deck screw. You should drill a pilot hole before installing the deck screws to avoid splitting the wood.

4. Align the top side stretcher with the top and side of the legs and secure with one 3” deck screw.

5. Check for squareness by taking diagonal measurements between the stretcher corners. Adjust so that these measurements are as close as possible. Anything between 1/32” and 1/16” is close enough for this project.

6. Once you have the side stretchers aligned to your satisfaction, install three more 3” deck screws in each joint.

7. Install the four end stretchers and the two-center stretcher using the same method as you used with the side stretchers.

8. Install the four center stretches, two on the bottom and two on the top with one on each side of the center legs.

9. Cut and notch the ½” plywood to over the bottom stretchers and around the legs. Cut the plywood to 26” by 72” using your skill (circular) saw and then cut the notches using your jigsaw.

10. Fasten the bottom shelf in place with 1” deck screws.

11. Now it’s time to install the 2X12 top planks. Since dry 2X12’s are actually 1 ½ X 11 ¼” three planks will span a distance of 33 ¾” but our bench width is only 26”s so we need to rip one piece to a width of 3 ½” using the rip guide that came with your circular saw.

12. Fasten the top planks in place with 3” deck screws.

Now that you have built a workbench that will handle any project, finish it off by installing a heavy-duty machinist vice with anvil and built in pipe vice jaws.

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