Heavy Duty $50 Wooden Workbench

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The Story

I wanted a sturdy workbench for my garage and didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for it. I saw this wall mounted Low cost tank-tough workbench on Instructables.com and decided to create a similarly designed free standing bench. This cost me just under $50, but could cost a little more or less depending on the quality you're looking for and material you have on hand.


I started by creating my design in Google Sketchup. This is a great, free CAD program for making quick simple plans. As with most CAD programs you'll really need a decent size monitor and a 3 button mouse to make navigating and drawing easy. Also, there is a slight learning curve, as with any CAD software, but once you get used to it Sketchup is very useful. I've published my design to Google's 3D Warehouse. Feel free to download, modify, and use this model as you wish.

Workbench with and without plywood top

With the design complete I went to Menards.com to price out what I needed. If you don't have a Menards around you should be able to get everything you need at Home Depot or Lowes. I'm lucky enough to have a Menards just down the road and I've found that they tend to be a little cheaper than the alternatives. I've also put together a Google docs spreadsheet with everything I used to put this together. I just want to mention a couple things here.

1) This list does not account for the 2x4 that acts as a support on the back center of the table. I used some scrap that I had laying around for that. It may or may not be necessary. I just noticed the table flexed a little when I jumped on top of it, and I do mean I, a 200 lb. grown man jumped up and down on this table before adding this support and the plywood top. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. So depending on your plans for the table, you may or may not want this extra, 25" 2x4 support.

2) I used 6 1/2" shoulder bolts to attach the legs to the frames. 2, at 90 degrees for each leg on the top and 1 for each leg on the bottom. These were too long for the top where they went through 1 2x4 and the 4x4 leg, required washers to make a tight fit, and actually had to be hammered in place to knock a little notch in the supporting 2x4s that cut across the corners at a 45 degree angle. These may be overkill, but I had them sitting around and would not have tried the shenanigans in note 1 without them. As I had them, they are also not in the spreadsheet. If you want this added support, which I recommend, and are going to buy them I suggest you get 7" or 8" long Hex Caps for the 4 bottom bolts and 5 1/2" to 6" long Hex Caps for the 8 top bolts. Both types can be bought at Menards for a buck or two a pound.

Finished Product

I didn't take pictures throughout the build, but here are some pics of the finished product.

Finished Workbench

Bench Top Frame

Bench Top Support Bolts

Lower Support Bolts

Added Support Between Top and Bottom