Rock Solid Workbench (Part 1 of 2)

Well, the 8 ft x 16 ft addition has been completed. Now it’s time to build two workbenches for the new addition. The first workbench will be a 7 ft x 2 ft workbench. I plan to use this workbench mainly for my Dewalt Thickness Planer.

The photo below shows the completed workbench.

The rest of this post will detail how I went about building the workbench pictured above.
I used 2 x 6′s for the four legs and also for the top rails. For the bottom rails I used 2 x 4′s. The 1-1/2″ thick bench top consists of 2 layers of OSB sheets, each OSB sheet being 3/4″ thick.

To simplify the joinery, there are no dovetails, mortise & tenon, or half-lap joints. The wood members are butt jointed & fastened together with 3″ and 3-1/2″ length deck screws. On the sides and back of the workbench I have included 3/4″ thick OSB. The workbench was very rigid without the OSB on the sides and back. But I added the OSB on the sides and back to make it even more rigid. I also figure that I can use the OSB on the sides for mounting stuff on (Stuff yet to be determined).

Let’s Get Started
Step 1 — Using my chop saw I cut the four legs to length from 2 x 6 pine. I used 33-1/2″ for the length of each leg. Using a stop block in conjunction with my chop saw, I cut all four legs to length. The stop block works out much better than measuring each leg length individually. I set the stop block up once to cut the 2 x 6 to the req’d leg length, and cut all four legs.
Step 2 — Using the procedure outlined in Step 1 above, cut the front and back top rails to length from 2 x 6 pine. The length I used for the front and back top rails was 81″. Due to space constraints I used 84″ as opposed to say 96″, for the overall workbench length.

Step 3 — Fasten two legs to the front top rail. I used a total of nine 3″ length deck screws for fastening each leg to the top rail. I used 5 screws on one side of each leg and 4 screws on the other side of each leg as shown in the following photos.

The 1st photo below shows the template I used for drilling 1/8″ diameter pilot holes for the 9 screws referenced above. The odd number holes were used on one side of the leg, and the even number holes were used on the other side of the leg.

Shown in the photo below is my pilot hole template clamped to the leg & top rail.

The photo below shows a right triangle being used to set a leg at a right angle to the 2 x 6 top rail resting on the top of my existing workbench top.

Pilot hole template and installed 3″ length deck screws are shown in the following photo.

Pictured below are holdfasts being used to hold the top rail in place while the legs are fastened to the top rail.

Below is a shot of the four 3″ deck screws installed on the other side of one of the legs and top rail assembly.

Step 4 — After installing the 4 legs to the 2 top rails, the next step is to install the two 81″ length bottom rails. 2 x 4′s were used for the bottom rails. The top edge of this rail was positioned at 12″ above the floor.

First here’s a photo of the bottom rail temporarily clamped to the legs. Note that the right side of the 2 x 4 hasn’t been cut to length yet. With the rail clamped in place as shown, I pencil a line down at the right end of the rail to mark where it needs to be cut in order for the right end to be coplanar with the right end leg shown.

The next photo shows a speed square & clamp being used to locate and square up a 2 x 4
wood block with the workbench leg. The wood block is next tacked in place temporarily with 2″ length brad nails. I rest the bottom rail on top of the wood block, next clamp the rail to the two legs, drill holes using my pilot hole template, and then fasten rail to legs using 3″ length deck screws.

The 2 x 4 blocks are removed after the bottom rails are fastened with deck screws to the
workbench legs.

On one side of the leg & rail assembly I installed four 3″ deck screws using the even number holes in the pilot hole template. For the other side of the leg & rail assembly I installed five 3″ deck screws. Using this even & odd number hole template concept worked nicely.

Here’s a shot of the bottom rail cut to length and fastened in place. Five deck screws are
installed on this side & four deck screws are installed on the other side of each leg and rail
assembly point.

The photo below shows the pilot hole template I used for the 2 x 4 bottom rails. In this photo the rail has been fastened to the other side of the leg with four screws at the even number hole locations. The side shown will have five deck screws installed at the odd number hole locations.

Step 5 — After fastening the 2 front legs to the top and bottom rails and likewise for the two back legs and associated rails, it’s time to fasten the front legs & rail assembly to the back legs and rail assembly.

The next four photos show the 2 x 6 horizontal member fastening the front of the workbench to the back of the workbench. This was done at both ends of the workbench.

This first photo shows the pilot hole template I used for drilling holes for the 3-1/2″ length deck screws. Three deck screws are installed at each end of the 2 x 6. The odd number holes were used for each end. The three deck screws for the left side of the 2 x 6 can be seen in the photo below.

The next three photos show the pilot hole template setup used for drilling pilot holes thru the rails and into each end of the 2 x 6. The even numbered pilot holes were used and two 3-1/2″ length deck screws were installed at each end of the 2 x 6.

Step 6 — Shown in the photo below are the five interior 2 x 6′s fastened between the front and back top rails. By interior 2 x 6′s I mean the 2 x 6′s located between the two 2 x 6′s installed in Step 5.

For now disregard the 1 x 4 shown in the photo, it will be discussed later.

Spacing the five 2 x 6′s out equally results in the 2 x 6′s being spaced 11.17″ on-center. Each 2 x 6 is fastened to the front and back rails with three 3-1/2″ length deck screws at each end of the 2 x 6′s.

Typical layout for the three deck screws are shown in the photo below. The three deck screws on the right side of the following photo are typical of the deck screws installed at both ends of all interior 2 x 6 members.

Continued at “Rock Solid Workbench (Part 2 of 2)”:
Rock Solid Workbench (Part 2 of 2) | Woodworking with AJO

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Until Next Time, Take Care
AL

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