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DIY Workbench

by Haylie

As a part of our workshop remodel and redefining of the space we created designated workspaces for both of us.  Before, there was only one workbench for Cole and the rest of the space was storage… or at least that was what it was intended to be. 

So for our new space we are revising our storage methods and creating spaces for both of us that are designed for our needs. Cole being a voluntary mechanic needs lots of storage for all his car parts and specific tools for his Mini Cooper. I enjoy woodworking and just got a DeWalt Miter saw for my birthday so I needed a space to stash all my power tools.

I started with my workbench. I originally wanted a miter bench where the surface of the bench was level with the base plate of the saw. After looking at multiple plans I decided that I wouldn’t like the uneven surface. I thought that since my space was kind of limited in our workshop, I need my bench to be more versatile. So I found the plans for my bench from Shanty 2 Chic.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Shanty 2 Chic you should probably come out from under the rock you’ve been living under. It’s nice out here. Shanty 2 Chic is run by two sisters and they are DIY geniuses. The are totally bad ass, hilarious and definitely know their way around a workshop.  So if you don’t already know about them go check out their blog or their youtube channel.

I picked this plan because I loved that it had an extension. Also, I have never actually built anything before and I knew that this plan seemed pretty basic and with a little self-taught luck I would be fine. I made some modifications to the plans to accommodate some of my needs but for the most part this build was very simple and a great plan. I plan to add peg board on the wall above my workbench so as convenient as pegboard in the original plan was, it wasn’t necessary for me. Since I wanted to store all of my power tools on the shelf I knew that two shelves would probably make the most sense. So instead of the drill rack I opted for a second shelf. I think we probably will build a drill rack and mount it on the wall somewhere once we get to that phase of the project so I’m glad I found an alternative for my bench.

Aside from my modifications the plans were pretty easy to read and follow. There were a few mistakes in the plans and a few things left out but all in all it was totally fine. If you look at their blog post about this bench, the comment section actually talks about some of the struggles other people had when they built their workbench using these plans.

MODS

I added a shelf by using some scrap 2×4’s cut to about 3-4 inches in length. I measured from the underside of the top, down to 11.5″ and marked it on each leg. I then placed the 2×4 pieces so that the top was flush with my mark and fastened them using two spax screws per leg.  I then placed the shelf and fastened it to the supports using finishing nails. Both the plywood for the shelf and the 2×4’s I used for the supports were cut from scrap pieces left over from the rest of the built, so this modification did not cost me any extra money.

CHALLENGES/FIXES

In this build there are two arms that close by folding over top of each other to allow the wing to hang down to shorten the work space. You can see in the photo below how the arms and wing collapses. When the wing is extended the two arms fold out and support the wing extension. Because of the hinges that I chose, I ran into issues where the two arms would not fold closed because they would hit the hinges attaching the wing to the table top. I tried to correct this issue by mounting the hinges on a higher part of the arm so that there would be enough clearance to close properly. However, when I did that the wing, once extended was no longer flush to the top of the table and was at a slope.

I fixed this issue by screwing a piece of scrap plywood to the underside of the wing for the arms to rest on. It was the perfect solution but the wing was no longer as sturdy at the hinge so I found a scrap piece of flat white trim and attached the hinges to the wing with the trim piece in between. This actually mediated another issue I found too. I couldn’t find any hinges that had screws that were small enough for the 3/4″ plywood.  You can see on the arm in the photo below that the screws poke through the other side. I did not want that to happen on the work surface of the bench. I could just see that causing all sorts of havoc. So the trim piece I added to the hinges also prevented the screws from breeching the other side. (In retrospect, I think I actually picked up the 1/2″ plywood instead of the 3/4″ by accident. Other than the screws poking out, I have not had an issue with the thinner plywood)

The plans call for a clamp ledge but due to the fact that one of the 19-1/2″ 2×4’s was left off the cut list I forfeited my clamp ledge for the third support for the wing. The plans also call for 3 spacer blocks to be added to one side of the supports of the wing but the cut list only listed 2. I had plenty of extra plywood so it was really no big deal but I want you to be prepared if you ever try this build.

LESSONS LEARNED

  1. Read through the whole list of instructions prior to starting and take your time to think through the whole build. Had I done this, I probably could have mediated some of the issues I ran into.
  2. Have the right tools for the job. I bought a kreg jig for this job and I am so glad that I did. I watched a quick youtube tutorial on how to use my kreg jig and it made my life so much easier.
  3. Just because it’s DIY doesn’t mean it’s cheap. I didn’t consider the cost of the project prior to the build and was stunned when I got to the register. Had I looked at the comment section of the blog post I would have seen what most people spent and probably could have been better prepared. We spent $150 on this bench for just the materials. All in all it was pretty reasonable for a workbench but I was expecting around $80. Maybe that was unrealistic of me. So was this build was not so cheap, but it is very sturdy.

Thanks to Ashley and Whitney at Shanty 2 Chic for sharing the plans for this awesome build. Thanks to my husband for believing in me and making me do it by myself because I am so proud of myself now that its done. This was a very successful first time build.

 

COLE’S WORKBENCH

Since Cole needed a lot of storage for car parts and such, we opted for a floating workbench so that he could maximize the amount of storage he had underneath his bench. He also plans to put peg board above his workbench so this build is as simple as it gets.

Cole didn’t want any supports on his bench obstructing the use of the space beneath so the plan was to build the frame and screw it directly into the wall studs.

We built the frame using 2×4’s and pocket hole screws in the corners. For added strength we added 4 supports to the center of the frame using wood screws and wood glue.

We attached the frame to the wall using 3-1/2″ wood screws, 2 in each stud. Making sure to pre-drill first every time.

To ease our ability to keep it level while attaching the frame to the wall we added ledger boards on the wall on either side. So when we went to install the frame it rested perfectly level on the ledgers while we secured it to the studs.

Since the sides were not long enough to span the distance between two studs, we decided to leave the ledger boards.  Both were screwed into two studs on each side for added support. 

For the top we cut some 3/4″ plywood to size and attached it to the frame using wood glue and finishing nails.

We added trim to finish it off along the top edge of the bench. This photo below is a little sneak peek of what is coming next but it shows you the trim that we added. 

We are so happy that we can actually work in this space again. We can start putting things back in their homes and start piecing this workshop back together bit by bit. Next up is organization! We will be adding more of the peg board that you see above and we will be adding shelves for added storage. Once this room is organized every job we tackle from this point on will go so much easier just because we will have all our tools handy and we wont have to sift through all the junk.

If you have forgotten how far we have come at this point in our workshop remodel feel free to check out our earlier posts.

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2 comments

Colleen Gentry October 24, 2017 - 4:15 pm

I am amazed at your carpentry capability. Plus these are 2 really great ideas that could easily be used for “nicer” uses with different wood and interesting stain or bench top. Great inspiration!

Reply
Haylie October 30, 2017 - 3:18 pm

Thanks Colleen! They were fun and easy builds! Im excited for more building projects in the future!

Reply

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