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(This post is part of our community projects initiative to give users the opportunity to build something of value and in the process run into situations where they might have questions that our community could help answer! Read more about the program here.)

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Fundamentally, all new woodworkers need a good, solid workbench to use in the process of making other things. For woodworkers who invest in a Kreg Jig, Kreg has plans to build a simple workbench out of 2x4 construction lumber and MDF project panels for the top. See the kreg website for detailed plans, if using a kreg jig. Note: the Kreg website requires registration, but it is free to become a member and download plans.

If you do not have a Kreg or other pocket hole jig, this bench could be built with through-screwed butt joints and either long screws or dowels to hold the MDF benchtop to the 2x4 frame.

Suggested tools

  • Pocket Hole Jig (optional, but plans are made expecting you to use a Kreg pocket hole jig.)
  • Circular saw or hand saw (unless you have your local lumber yard cut all pieces to size)
  • Drill to drill pilot and/or pocket holes and to secure fasteners
  • Jigsaw or hand saw to cut MDF benchtop to size
  • Clamps would be helpful to hold the workpiece square as you are securing it.

Consumables needed

  • Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • 2x4 lumber
  • MDF project panels
  • Now, do we have to make this one? or is this just to give people something to start with? I'm going to be building a work bench in the near future, but it will be a bit different. – bowlturner Apr 29 '15 at 16:04
  • You should mention that you have to have an account with Kreg to see the plan. Guessing its free but mentioning it, as a courtesy, would be good form. – Matt Apr 29 '15 at 16:20
  • Thanks for kicking this off! Since you mention the Kreg jig as an option but don't list it in the "Tools needed" list, I take it that list is actually just a suggestion. If so, I think you should make that point clearer, and people should be encouraged to stray from it. Everyone should answer this question with all the tools they actually use (or try to use) in the process of building a project. This will potentially generate a lot more questions and answers for the main site. – rob Apr 29 '15 at 17:04
  • @bowlturner it was more of an icebreaker to get the community-project tag going. I've already made this bench so I'm going to put an answer in with a picture and outline how I did it. – Peter Grace Apr 29 '15 at 17:06
  • @Matt I added the rider that registration is necessary, thanks! – Peter Grace Apr 29 '15 at 17:08
  • @rob I changed "Tools Needed" to "Suggested Tools" to better illustrate that it's more of a guideline. – Peter Grace Apr 29 '15 at 17:09
  • @PeterGrace great; thanks! – rob Apr 29 '15 at 17:09
  • I should think we want people to stray if they can. Will help stimulate discussion – Matt Apr 29 '15 at 17:12
  • @PeterGrace I had one project in mind and will post it some time, but I think a workbench is kind of perfect as a first project. Love it. – null Apr 29 '15 at 17:54
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Pete's Desk

All told, I built 6 of these kreg workbenches to use around my basement. My wife uses one as a clothes-folding station by the dryer, I have several setup as a quasi-continuous counter surface around the perimeter of my basement.

How did I do it? I followed the plans pretty much as outlined. When I built these, I did not have a miter saw, so I used a circular saw to cut through the 2x4's.

Tools used:

  • Jigsaw, for cutting MDF slots for legs
  • Circular saw, for cutting mdf benchtop to proper dimensions
  • Drill, for drilling pocket holes and engaging screws,
  • Kreg right-angle clamp, for holding stile to rail while attaching the pocket hole screws

Lessons learned:

  • Clamps are your friend. If you're using a Kreg jig, you might want to invest in a Kreg Right-Angle clamp, which makes it much easier to secure the work pieces for screwing. Even with the right-angle clamp, however, I did have some bending issues. Now that I have big pipe clamps in my arsenal, if I were to make this workbench again, I would probably use the right angle clamp AND pipe clamps.

  • Don't measure each piece when making multiples of the same size. Measure the first piece and then cut. Use that cut piece to mark the same distance for each subsequent cut. This is called using a "Story Pole." It is more accurate than measuring every time.

Things I added:

  • At one point, I had wheels on this table so I could move it around. I did not do it securely, though, and one of my wheels fell off. That's going to be a question for the main site soon!

  • It is hard to tell in this photo, but I drilled 3/4" dog holes in the workbench so I could have a low profile workpiece-holding mechanism as I begin to delve into using handplanes. The addition of the Veritas Surface Vise (the black bar in the photo on the bench) enables one to use dog holes as a holdfast for this nifty vise.

  • Whats the little box on the top left corner of the bench? It has two small pieces of 2x4 and some smaller boards? – Matt Apr 30 '15 at 18:18
  • That's a guide for the bench screw I purchased; I realized after making it that it wasn't going to do what I was hoping it would. It's just sitting atop the bench at the moment while I consider my next steps. – Peter Grace May 1 '15 at 2:00
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Man, do I love this bench design. It is so simple and quick to do. I don't have the materials to build the second platform yet but the bench is sturdy without it so I will wait until something comes along.

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Materials

I used all reclaimed 2x4's and an old door for the top. I had assumed the door was solid wood in error so I will move the door and cut it to shape to fit the bottom.

The good thing about using scrap stock is that I was able to cut my pieces to the lengths I wanted. Namely, I wanted the bench to be a couple of inches higher as I found it more comfortable to work on.

Tools

  • Mitre saw - for cuttings boards to length.
  • Kreg right-angle clamp
  • Particle board screws (They could be called washer heads screws. This inspired a couple of questions.)
  • Circular Saw / Level (as a guide) - for cutting the door.

Inspired Questions

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