Construction lumber and a weekends work are all it takes to build this workbench This one features a base made ofxs and a solidcore door for a top

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111 wanted was a simple, heavy-duly workbench. Il had to be sturdy, have a large work surface, and I didn't want it to cost a lot. Arid I wanted to build it in a weekend.

So one Saturday morning I went to the local lumberyard and by Sunday night my basic bench was complete. The base of the bench is made out of I )ouglas fir 2x4s. The top is a solid core door. 1 .umberyards ar.d building centers often have slightly damaged doors at a dis count. Or. you could make the top out of two pieces of SA" plywood.

drawers and tray storage. The basic bench worked great, but by the next weekend 1 began thinking some drawers sure would be handy. So 1 added three large drawers that are joined together with half-blind dovetails that I

ait with a router and a dovetail jig. I also added a small sliding tray in one drawer to keep things organized. The drawers and tray provide plenty of extra storage.

extra storage. Kven if you build (he drawers, you'll need a plywood shell underneath for extra storage. Then 1 added a woodworking vise at one end of the workbench as a final touch. (For sources oi woodworking vises, see page 112.) The point is this project can be as simple or as involved as you waul. The basic bench can be put together in a weekend. Or you can add storage and a vise for a more versatile bench.

joinery. Tlie- eud frames of the bench are assembled with half-lap joints. Rut, instead of cutting lap joints in the traditional way. I built them up by laminating 2x4s together. 'Hie uprights are stacked (laminated) in a way to create "notches" for the erosspieees (hraces).

1 his brought up the question of the best way to laminate the 2x4 stock together. It you have enough clamps, you can glue and clamp them to each other. Or. you can glue, and then nail them together. (Here I'd use finish nails.) Or, simply glue and screw them.

There was another question about how to join the mils (horizontal pieces) to the legs. After a lot of thought. 1 chose a draw bolt system that allows you to knock down the bench if you ever need to move it in the future.

finish. To protect the workbench and keep glue from sricking to it, I finished the bench with two coats of an oil/ure thane blend finish.








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i fh fl. i fr (W-iHiLK sto:ic next page). These holes are 1s/<* down from the top edge of the side braces, and watered or. the width of the legs (Fig. i).

Once the hole locations have been marked, drill the counterbore (l" dia.. Va" deep)or. the outside face of the end frames. Then drill shank holes centered in die counterbores if)'//, ¿a).

Note: Rather than using damps and then waiting for the glue to dry. 1 screwed the rails together with 2 Va'-long screws, lie sure to drill shank holes and countersink the holes before screwing the pieces together (Fig. 5).

.After gluing together all four rails, I trimmed them to length (Fig. 0).

Note: My rails are -IK-Vx" long. This way if I decide to add a cabinet to the base. I'll have plenty of room for one that's a full-IK1 long.


To build the bench, start by building the two end frames. Begin by cutting two legs (A) to length. The length of the legs can be modified to suit your height.

Note: 1 made my bench about IM'vV' tall, which is a typical overall height once the top has been added.

building the frames. With the work bench legs cut to length, go ahead and cut the t wo side braces (U) (Fig. !). I ay two legs side-by-side and position one side brace CR) 4VL-" upfront the bottom ends. Then place the other hraoe flush to the top of the legs (Fig. 1).

Once the pieces are in place, lay out the screw locations (Fig. 2). l"hcn drill and countersink :Vk" shank holes iu the side braces (Fig. 2a). Now glue and screw the side braces ro The legs.

attach the filler pieces. To Streflgdtcn the end frames I added upper (C) and lower leg fillers (D). and two side brace tillers (E) (Fig. ■'.).

Alter 1 trimmed the filler pieces to fit. I damped die pieces in position while I glued and screwed them iu place (Fig. :i).

bolt holes. All that's left iii complete the end frames is to drill and counterbore the holes for the bolts that connect the rails {refer to Fig. 7 on the


After the end frames are built. I made the four rails (?) that run across the front and back ol the bench. Haeh rail is tuade from two 2x4s laminated together.

build the rails. To make each rail, start by cutting the two 2x-ls to rough length. Then glue the pieces together to form a 3" x ?.'/?" rail blank (Fig. 5).


The rails are connected to the end frames with a draw boll system. This system nol only allows the joint lo be tightened if it becomes loose, it's also

NOTE; lach fal i? two 1%"-th<k pieces cf stock that havc bccw iaminated together

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screw rails tosethfr from insiot facc

- es * 7h- F.'t w CO Cock lws easy lo make. I'lus it allows you to rake the bench apart if you ever need to move it iirouud your shop.

pocket holes-'lhe first step is to mark the location of the pocket holes on the rails. 'Ihc holes are centered on the face of the rails and located I3/«" in from each end (Fig. fin). Now, drill T-dia. hole. 2" deep at the marked location. Ihen. to provide a flat surface for the washer and nut tu draw against, square up the edge of the holer nearest the end of the rail (Fig. it).

end holes. Once all of the pocket holes had been squared up. 1 drilled 7:«"-dia. holes centered on the ends of the rails (Fig. 6a). These holes allow die draw bolt to exlcu into the packet hole.

bolt together. Now the rails can be bolted lo the end frames. Just insert a hex-head machine bolt with a washer. Push the bolt through the countersunk hole in the end frame and into the hule in the end of the rail (Fig. 7).

Then slip a washer and nut in the pocket hole and lighten the bolt holding the nut with 3n open end wrench. (See the ShopTip at right for a trick 1 used lo slart the nuts.) If the rails won't draw up tight against the end frames, you may want to try undercutting. (Kcfcrto the Technique below for more on how to do this).

Note: To ke<rp the pocket holes from showing, I positioned the rails so these holes faced toward the center of the l>en<l i (Fig. 7 and Exploded View on page ol).


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Wood Working 101

Wood Working 101

Have you ever wanted to begin woodworking at home? Woodworking can be a fun, yet dangerous experience if not performed properly. In The Art of Woodworking Beginners Guide, we will show you how to choose everything from saws to hand tools and how to use them properly to avoid ending up in the ER.

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