How to Make a Work Bench

Any woodwork project that needs to be made from scratch can benefit from a work bench. This is where the highest quality cuts and joints will occur, so it’s helpful when planning your project.

The “how to build a workbench out of 2×4” is a very simple project that can be completed in an afternoon. The materials required are minimal and the finished product is sturdy and durable.

Homemade wooden bench with wheels.

Editor’s note: Ethan Hagan of One Project Closer contributed this guest article.

A Brief Overview

Perhaps you don’t believe a workstation is all that vital. After all, you just have a few tools, and everyone knows the basement folding table is your domain. Isn’t it true that having a dedicated workstation isn’t worth it? I’ve seen far too many men stowing their tools in a kitchen drawer or expecting their children to keep their hands off their newly painted picture frame. I’ll teach you how to establish a decent workspace where you can work and keep your gear.

How to Make a Multi-Use Workbench

A solid, rigid work surface, electricity for your corded tools or chargers, a shelf to store equipment and accessories, and wheels so you can move around will all be included in your workbench. The supplies will cost about $120 (low quality), and you’ll need a drill/driver, miter* saw or circular saw*, and jig saw* before you begin. (If you’re feeling brave, you can use a handsaw instead.)


Take this shopping list to your local home improvement store:

  • (1) 3/4-inch sanded plywood sheet
  • (1) 3/8′′ plywood sheet
  • nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
  • (8) stiff Simpson tie connections (see below)
  • #8 x 1-1/4′′ screws (200 count)
  • 3′′ screws, 4 count
  • (1) tube of construction adhesive (heavy-duty)
  • (4) lockable 2-1/2′′ casters
  • Power strip that may be mounted

Although I’ve included nominal plywood thicknesses, the store’s display will show real thicknesses. For example, 3/4′′ plywood is 23/32′′ thick, whereas 3/8′′ plywood is 11/32′′ thick. Sanded plywood will provide a smooth, splinter-free surface and will absorb a lot of deflection at 3/4″ thick.

Pine wood sale tag.

Man cutting half of the wood with machine.

To save time, have the retailer rip both sheets of plywood in half (resulting in 2 x 8′ pieces).

Look along the length of the boards for any cupping (side-to-side curve) or crowning (up-down curve), and replace those boards.

Rigid tie carton by simpson.

Elbow tie with screws.

Because the Simpson ties create the corners of your workstation and shelf, they’re fantastic. You’d need a lot of angled braces if you didn’t have them.

Screws packets.

Because they’re made for one other, the #8 screws are frequently offered with the Simpson ties.

Reduced in Size

Because the plywood was already shredded at the home improvement shop, all you have to do now is cut the 2x4s to size. Mark straight lines with a square. The following are the lengths:

  • (5) Longitudinal supports, 90′′
  • (4) 17-inch supports (width-wise)
  • (4) 36′′ in length for the legs
  • (2) Supports for the casters are 24 inches long.

Man taking measurements of table using scale and pencil.

Man cutting wood piece with a miter saw.

Cut pieces of plywood.

Cut piles of wood for homemade bench.

Let me clear things up for you by telling you that the plywood will have a 3-inch overhang on one side. This is done on purpose to protect the power strip, which will be mounted to the side.

There is some assembly required.

Wood boards put together with simpson tie.

Start with the sides to assemble this beast. Grab a leg and a width-wise support and secure it with a Simpson tie. Use scrap to align all of the heights, and make sure the legs are oriented the same way they are in the photographs.


Man joining the plywood with ties.

Ties fitted at four corner of plywood.

Remember that each leg requires two Simpson ties (one for the work surface and one for the shelf), and they must be at the same height. Place screws in all of the pre-drilled holes, ensuring that each component is securely attached to the others.

Base of plywood table.

It’s now time to work on the length-wise supports. We’ll use the additional to bolster the work surface, so there are five of them.

Tied joint pieces of plywood.

Screws fitted in ties of plywood.

Place the additional support in the middle of the other two and fasten it with two 3′′ screws on each end.

Side view of homemade bench.

Applying glu on the top of plywood.

Apply a bead of construction glue to all of the supports before applying the 3/4′′ plywood top. Screws should be placed every 16′′ or so. Flip the table upside-down once you’re done.

Top view of plywood bench.

Cutting the edge corners of wood pieces using handsaw.

Cut 24 slots in all four corners of one of your 3/8′′ plywood pieces to accommodate for the table legs. A jigsaw was used, although a handsaw would suffice. Repeat with the remaining 3/4-inch wooden piece.

Back view of plywood bench.

The underside of your work surface will be secured with this piece of plywood. This “torsion box” design may seem strange, but it will increase the stiffness of your work surface even more. As with the 3/4′′ plywood, glue and screw.

Rotary wheel is attached at corner of bench.

Screw those caster supports between the table legs while it’s upside-down, and then secure the casters in place. These supports are necessary since the caster would otherwise just be sitting on end-grain, resulting in a weak joint.

Electric extension is attached at the side of bench.

Turn the bench right-side up and glue and screw the 3/4-inch plywood shelf in place. Finally, attach the power strip to the underside of the overhang. This will protect the strip from sawdust, paint, oil, and other contaminants.


You’ve just completed making a tough workbench, so take a step back and admire your work. Feel the sturdy work surface that won’t bounce while you’re hammering together anything. Move your workstation around the room by unlocking the casters. Install a battery charger on the power strip’s handy location. Most importantly, brag to your pals.

Homemade plywood bench.

Bench with electric extension.

Side view of homemade plywood bench.

You’ve just completed making a tough workbench, so take a step back and admire your work. Feel the sturdy work surface that won’t bounce while you’re hammering together anything. Move your workstation around the room by unlocking the casters. Install a battery charger on the power strip’s handy location. Most importantly, brag to your pals.

One Project Closer’s principal editor is Ethan Hagan. He spends the majority of his days observing real contractors on genuine construction sites and the majority of his evenings writing about it. Check out their newest “Pro-Follows,” or full, professional instructions on topics like How to Build a Shed and How to Build a Deck, to see what I mean. Sign up for OPC email updates if you’re interested in learning from and engaging with professional contractors.



A work bench is a tool for doing tasks that require more than one person. This article will teach you how to build a solid workbench.

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