Ok. Here we are with part 2 of 2 on building a workbench using reclaimed or “recycled” wood. As mentioned in part 1 a good, solid, as well as large workbench is a great tool in the shop. The problem can be though the cost. Mine was totally free (check the picture to the left)- but even if you can’t get it completely free, you can have one at a low cost as we show in part 1.
Of course, you don’t have to use recycled materials, but it feels good knowing that you can build a workbench about the size of a sheet good (4×8) and not even have to open your wallet. If you would like to read part 1, then click this link below. If you have already read it or are just buying the materials to build the workbench, then skip the link and stay with us on this post.
CLICK HERE FOR PART 1 – USING RECLAIMED WOOD TO BUILD YOUR WORKBENCH (DON’T CLICK IF YOU HAVE ALREADY READ IT)
BUILDING THE WORKBENCH:
I am going to give you a few of the measurements, but not all. The reason being you are going to want to adapt your workbench to your shop. You may not have the room to have one this large, or you may want to go larger. So keep that in mind as we go along.
In the previous post, I tore down some bins in my shop in order to build the work table. I grabbed the longest 2×4’s from the bins in order to build the frame. These 2×4’s were 92 5/8 inches in length. I wanted the bench to be almost the size of a sheet good (4×8) so I was happy with this length. Here are the boards below:
Depending on the size of the bench, you may need a middle support like I did. So when I cut the rails I cut three two by fours at the 92 5/8. They were roughly 93 inches but I cut some off in order to make them all exactly the same length.
The front and back rails I cut to 42 inches, and that way once you add the side rails you are close to the 4 foot. I wasn’t 4 foot dead on, but it was close enough. Here the front and back rails are below to the workbench frame:
I laid the frame out just like you would frame a floor or wall, but didn’t put the middle support with a 16 inch center. I just split the 42 inches in half. That is plenty of support for that short of a span, especially with a thicker sheet good for the table top.
As you see below, I went ahead and nailed the first corner to the frame together. I had to use my table saw workbench to build it, so some improvising was needed. This is why I need a larger bench – to build other larger benches and items:
I had to predrill the holes for the nails because the previous holes in the reclaimed wood weren’t straight. This is because I used a nail gun to shoot the nails in when building the bins, and so they just followed the grain, which is rarely a straight line with the hybrid pine that is used today in lumber. Also, the nails that I am using were recycled as well, and they aren’t bullet straight, so I wanted to make them go in as straight as possible.
Here is the frame (below) for the work bench table top. You might not have to have the middle brace, but to me it is better, especially if you do a lot of pounding on the table. You want the strength to be there:
I went a step further and even added bridging (some call it blocking) because I had plenty of recycled 2×4’s. Again, I like to beat the table, so here are the results:
Now it is time to add the table top. I used a high quality flooring that was similar to OSB, but it was far higher in quality. You can run your hand across it and it feels smooth, whereas regular OSB wouldn’t be a good table top. It chips, this stuff was super compact, extremely heavy, and almost an inch thick. Here it is:
As you see above I just popped a line and cut it with my circular saw. I didn’t really like messing with it on the table saw because it is so heavy. It was just easier to cut it with the circular saw, and it didn’t have to be perfect. This saw I have though cuts extremely straight, so it still worked out well.
Once cut I screwed the sheet to the frame instead of nailing it. This will be your choice, but I like screws in something like this to prevent warping later on down the road. I even screwed it down on the center support. Just use your judgement on that. So now that the workbench top is done, it is time to move on to the rest. Here is the flipside of the table top:
I used 2×4’s for the legs, but that was because I added bracing to the legs. If you aren’t going to have any bracing such as gussets, then you probably want to go with legs that are thicker, possibly 4×4’s in size.
I cut the legs to my workbench at 32 inches, bringing the table to a height of 33 inches total. NOTE:!! – I am short, only 5 foot 7 inches, so if you are taller than this, you will probably want to make the legs longer. This way you don’t have to bend over so much.
Ok. Now that the legs are on I added the bracing, as shown below. The framing square just ensured that the legs would stay square when adding the braces:
I ended up adding bottom rails to the table legs. Normally you don’t go all the way to the bottom of the legs like I did, but I am adding locking casters to my workbench so I can move it when I need to without killing myself.
I added rails to the front and back of the workbench in addition because this thing is getting so heavy. It needed the extra support:
Still not ready to flip it though. I want it all to pull together at the bottom, and will be storing some heavy equipment such as drill presses and my mortising machine underneath. So I need some extra support. I ran more rails at the bottom for the framing. I used 6 inch material for the bottom framing because it was what I had. You can use 2×4’s if you want.
Okay. Now I am ready to sheet the bottom of the table. I had 2 large pieces of the special OSB flooring, so instead of using up an entire sheet, I just cut the two pieces to fit. It was the bottom of the table so it didn’t matter. The top is probably best to use a whole sheet if you can to prevent any bumps on the workbench top.
That was the first piece above on the table bottom, now here is the finished bottom of the table below with both pieces on:
Still not ready to flip the table upright. I am going to add the locking casters to it now. I didn’t have to even pay for these either. They came off of an old table saw that I had. So it pays to keep stuff like this:
I used a level to make sure the wheel of the caster was above the table bottom when locked. If not, you will have the problem of the workbench moving on you because the wheel won’t be lifted high enough when locked:
Now that we have all four casters on as you see in the image below, we are ready to flip the workbench over:
Here is an image of the table upright. The casters are working fine. This table has to weigh at least 250 lbs. and it is rolling like a champ:
It is going to be up to you on if you want to call this workbench complete or not. I personally sanded the tabletop for about 10 minutes, and went ahead and applied a number of coats of fast drying urethane to the table top. This helps to prevent scratches on the top, which isn’t really necessary since it IS a workbench. Here is the finished top:
SHINY! I love it! I am so glad to have a huge work bench that is extra sturdy in the shop now. It took about a day to tear the bins apart, and a day to build the bench, but I am glad that I went through the process I did. There are different places that you can get some reclaimed wood. Talk with carpenters that are possibly tearing something down, a building or anything like that.
Either way, you will be proud to have a workbench like this in your shop. – Ted Leger
DO YOU HAVE a woodworking project or tip that you would like to submit to WooDesigner and get it added to our site? Then go to the contact tab below OR at the top of this page and let me know. Just make sure you are able to give us step by step instructions on it, as well as images as you see here, and we will put it on this site just like you have read on this page! As long as it is clear and concise like you just saw, it will go up. Your name will be credited to the project, as where you live. (Please include that.) Also include the type of lumber you use for the design. We look forward to hearing from you! (Take note that the tip and images and instructions have to become ours. I do hate that so much but in today’s society so many will sue, and yes, you can sue for a lot of money over images.) The tips will need to include YOUR IMAGES that you take. They can’t be images from somewhere online. Remember, we have to go through these images and if they aren’t your own, we will not be able to use them. This is illegal and it won’t be tolerated and you will be banned from this community by being blocked. We can get sued for this, and just one bad apple can ruin our community.
Ted Leger –
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