Sunday, March 8, 2015

How To: The Workbench Plan

As I mentioned ages ago, I was going to write a post with some plan notes for the workbench I built last year with my Dad.  I started writing this at the time (thank goodness!) and didn't get around to posting it as it was sooooo long.  BUT, I've since had a direct request for it… so here it is!

I adapted the plan from one of my favourite websites,  Here's the link to the Workbench to Get the Job Done

… And here's my version!

As you can see, their plan didn't have a side shelf on it.  I needed somewhere to put my saw, and wouldn't have had room in the basement for a second separate stand for it (although my lovely GW did want to get me one last year).  SO, I added my own shelf.  The plan will make a 3ft x 7ft workbench, with a 3ft x 3ft side table.

11 pieces of 2x4 by 8' (which are actually 1.5" x 3.5"each)
1 sheet of 4' x 8' plywood - I chose the 3/4" thick version with pine sanded top
1.5" screws (to attach the worktop)
2.5" screws x 100 (to put the base together)
stain of your choice
sealant/finish of your choice

* two cuts of the plywood at the store
wood filler
sanding block/sand paper
staining supplies (brush, cloth, etc)

Now, it must be said - those supplies do not include two things that I needed to make it completely finished.
1) I used some spare 1"x2" wood to fill out the side table, although you could just push all the plywood together and leave a gap at the back... and
2) a second piece of 4' x 8' plywood was cut down to be the bottom shelf where the paint is going.  I had toyed with using leftover wood for the bottom shelf, but in the end went back to get a piece of plywood.  You could use something other than plywood which would be the actual size you need (1"x12" or pegboard or whatever) or even scrap boards you have already (whatever you can make fit), so this is why I didn't include it in the supplies list.

SO, once you get all of your wood, here's the cut list.  I wrote it out this way so that I could actually cross off each piece as I went. 

- have the store cut the 4x8 down to a 3x8 (1x8 leftover)
- then at home, cut 1ft off the length so it's a 3x7 piece (1x3 leftover)
- cut the 1x8 into 1x3, 1x3, 1x2
(you won't use the 1x2 piece)

Eleven 2x4 x8ft
- 2 pieces --> cut at 82" (14" leftover from each - so 14", 14")
- 2 pieces --> cut at 79" (17", 17")
- 4 pieces --> 3 cuts at 29" each (9", 9", 9", 9")
- 1 piece --> 2 cuts at 41" each (14")
- 1 piece --> 3 cuts at 32" each (0")
- 1 piece --> 2 cuts at 24" each, 1 cut at 32" (16")

Keep the leftover pieces around as you'll use them too.
- the 9" pieces will be the supports underneath the lower shelf (untrimmed)
- the 17" pieces will be the mid-leg supports on the side without the side-table (trimmed down)
- the 14" pieces and the 16" pieces will be cut and used to fill in the gaps
(I also have a vague memory of grabbing a spare 2x4 from the scrap pile to fill in something, but that might have been because of a cutting error)

Some extra dimensions to help with the side table:
- the legs were 24" tall
- the horizontal supports for the worktop were 41" long (b/c they attach to the main piece, so they need that extra length)

OKAY.  That seems like a lot, right?  But it's not.  And it's completely worth cutting all the pieces first. It made the assembly go so much faster.

For the assembly, I want you to go to the actual post that I used, as I don't think I could write it better than they did.  Here it is again: the Workbench to Get the Job Done.

Also take a peek over to my other post if you want to see more photos of my version:  the general build post, and the pseudo-finished post.

For finishing it, I used a light stain and then 4 coats of the polyurethane that spoke of being "as hard as a bowling alley" once it was dry.  I really wanted this to stand up to time.

Nearly a year in now, I miss how smooth and awesome the worktop used to be.  I've drilled a couple of holes in it by mistake (oops) and have gotten primer and paint on it too.  I'm going to try to sand it all down and apply more poly, so that I can maintain the smooth(ish) flat surface.  It's important to me as I use it for refinishing windows and building cabinets and other things where a balanced flat work surface is important.

ANYWAYS, for those not interested, I hope you didn't read this whole thing ;)  For those who were looking for this, apologies for taking so long:  life got in the way!

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