Simple Garage Workbench Plans (FOUR-HOUR build!)

Posted in Home Improvement on June 14, 2018

The workbench is the center of any workshop. This design fits in just about any shop space, whether it's a corner of the garage or a wall in the basement. It has a 2x6-ft. work surface, two shelves for storage, and a handy area to store your shop vacuum.

When it comes to building with lumber, I like to keep waste to a minimum. This workbench's design does just that.

All the 2x4 components (legs, shelf brackets, and home) are cut from five 12-ft. 2x4s, with only a few inches of waste per board. The shelves, end panels, and top are cut from two 1/2-in. thick 4x8-ft. sheets of sanded AC-grade fir plywood. Again, waste is minimal.

Tools needed

You'll need a circular saw to cut the lumber and plywood. and an electric drill. A 3/8-in. variable speed, reversing drill with a Phillips head driving bit is best.

Cutting the plywood can be tricky, so use a cutting guide and take your time measuring and checking for square before starting the cut.

Step-by-step instructions and pictures

Building the Workbench

  1. Assemble the three 66"-long, main frame components and legs, using 2-1/2" drywall screws. PRedrill the holes to prevent splitting and to draw the pieces snug.

  1. Install the shelf frame components. The height of the upper shelf can be adjusted to fit your needs, but you'll need to alter the size of the inner shelf end panels accordingly.

  1. Attach the side panels and back panel. These panels help stabilize the bench and prevent tools and equipment from falling off.

  1. Tack the bottom sheet of the workbench top to the frame with 4d or 6d nails. Make sure the sheet is flush with the back edge of the workbench frame and that there's a 1-1/2" overhang on each end.

  1. Spread wood glue over the entire top surface of the tacked plywood. The glue prevents gaps between the two 1/2" sheets of AC plywood that form the workbench top.

  1. Place the remaining sheet of AC plywood onto the glued sheet, with the sanded side up. Secure them together with 2-1/2" drywall screws. Make sure the screws penetrate into the workbench frame.

Time, Cost, And Tips

The workbench components can be cut and assembled in under four hours and you shouldn't have to spend too much on the materials (2x4s, plywood, and 2-1/2 in. drywall screws).

You probably could use a helper during a couple of the assembly steps, such as attaching the legs to the longer frame components and installing the 2x4 shell pieces.

Top tip

Finally, here's a tip to make assembling the pieces easier: Before you secure the 2x4 components together, predrill the holes for the screws.

This reduces the chance of splitting the lumber and helps draw the components snugly together.

Storage ideas

If your shop area's going to be located where there's an open stud wall (no drywall covering the interior wall), you've just discovered an often overlooked storage area.

Mount shelves and brackets to the studs. Every open stud cavity - the space between two adjacent wall studs - can be converted into a mini-storage area.

Here's how:

Brackets and Shelves

Cut the brackets from 2x4-in. pine. Make the shelves from 1x12-in. pine hoards.

Secure the 15-in. long. 2x4 horizontal brackets to the wall studs with 2-1/2 in. drywall screws. Then mount the angled 2x4 braces to the studs and to the horizontal brackets with 2-1/2 in. screws. Predrill the hole for the screw that goes through the angle bracket and into the horizontal bracket.

  1. Attach the 15" long horizontal support to the wall stud. Then secure the diagonal brace to the bottom of the horizontal support and the wall stud. Use 2-1/2" drywall screws.

  1. Position the shelf on the horizontal support and secure with 1-1/2" drywall screws. Predrill the holes for the screws.

Between-Stud Shelving

  1. Install 2x6 and 1x4 boards between the studs with 2-1/2" drywall screws in predrilled holes. Set adjacent shelves at different heights.
  2. On 2x6 shelves, cut and then round off the corners with a file or sandpaper. A 2x6 shelf will hold gallon cans.

The 1x12 shelf can be any length, but the distance between brackets shouldn't be more than 4 ft., and the shelf shouldn't extend more than 18 in. beyond the brackets. If you want a shelf longer than 6 ft., be sure you add brackets in the middle so the shelf won't sag.

Store Your Cans Of Paint And Stain

Install shelves cut from 1" x 4" or 2" x 6" boards. Your choice will depend on the size of the cans you need to store. Here are some guidelines:

  • A 1" x 4" board will hold quart-size cans, as well as most aerosols.
  • You can almost double the amount of quart-can storage if you use 2" x 6" boards.
  • A 2" x 6" board will also safely hold two 1-gal. cans.

A word of caution about loading the shelves: if you decide to use the between-stud shelves, position them so that you can't stack items more than one row high. This will prevent overloading. Instead, install more rows of shelves.

Also, stagger the shelf position to make screw installation easier. Use 2-1/2" drywall screws to secure shelves to wall studs.

Finally, note the rounded corners on the 2x6 boards. This reduces the chance of injury from a protruding corner. To round the corners, cut them at a 45-degree angle and then file or sand smooth before you install the shelves.

You might be interested in my other DIY plans:
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Simple Garage Workbench Plans (FOUR-HOUR build!)
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How To Build A Custom Bookcase For Beginners (with plans and pictures)
How to make a Frame out of Wooden Molding (step-by-step with pictures)
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How to install Finish Trim you can be proud of (with detailed pictures)
How do you replace a subfloor? (With step-by-step pictures)
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