Building a Woodworking Bench in 5 Steps Building a Woodworking Bench in 5 Steps

The most important piece of furniture for your workshop is a woodworking bench. This bench will be 3x8 feet. You will need to build this bench on site if you don't have large doors to fit it through. There should be at least 3 feet around your table so you can walk around it as you work.  

Tools and Equipment Needed:

  • Beech or other hardwood timber, 2 or 3 x 6 inches by 8 feet long. Six pieces. (These make up the work top)
  • 2 x 4-inch side boards, 8 foot long
  • 2 x 4-inch boards, 3 feet long
  • 4 x 4-inch posts or legs to support the surface. The bench height should come up to the bottom of your ribcage. Measure from the floor to your ribcage and subtract 2 inches
  • Two sets of 2 x 4-inch cross members for the legs. These will be 2 inches shorter than the width and length of the work surface.
  • Strong wood adhesive (not water based)
  • Wood saw
  • Pipe or strap clamps
  • Wood bolts
  • 8 x 6-inch long wood screws
  • 8 x 1-inch washers
  • 16-angle iron braces
  • Brass 2-inch screws for the angle braces 

Step 1—Build the Work Surface

Lay out the worktop planks flat, making sure they are straight with minimal gaps between them. Pick up each plank and apply adhesive (not white glue) to all contact sides, press together and clamp firmly. Wipe away any excess glue that oozes out and set aside for at lease double the recommended curing time, up to a week. 

Step 2—Fit the Shorter Braces

Build the legs and braces while the top is curing. Fit the shorter braces first, making two 2-leg units, then bolt the longer braces on. Use mortice and tenon joints for strength. Measure each short brace to be as long as the distance between the outside of the legs. Set the lower braces at least 6 inches from the floor.  

Step 3—Place the Long Braces

Measure and place the long braces. They should be about 1 inch longer than the distance between each leg, and at the same height as the short braces. Attach all 4 long braces at the same time, resulting in four legs with two cross braces on them.  

Step 4—Put the Bench Together

You can now unclamp the work surface and remove any excess glue. Turning the leg assembly upside down, place it on the bottom of the workbench surface. Make sure all sides fit, then clamp the sideboards into place. Drill a guide hole into the sideboards into each leg, parallel to the long sides. Clamp and glue the sideboards into place, place a washer onto the 4 remaining bolts and drive the bolts home. Attach angle iron braces to secure the sideboards in place.  

Step 5—Install Vises

Turn the completed workbench over and check for wobble. Reinforce with more angle iron. Attach any wood vises and benchtop equipment as desired. Don't use any finish on the wood. 

Space will dictate the size of your workbench so you can make this bench larger or smaller according to your own circumstances. Building a cabinet or drawer under the workbench top can be helpful for storing tools.

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