Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Reclaimed Wood Workbench

My sister, also a building mom, inspired me to build a workbench.  She was amazed when visiting to see that I had built all of my projects on my garage floor or back patio.  That includes the kids’ playground, pergola, picnic table, and built-in bookshelf in my bedroom!  We do have a wooden kids’ table inside the house that I would sometimes bring into the garage to use, but by and large my workspace was on the floor.  Not so great for my back and neck!  So after I visited her in Pennsylvania and saw the bench/table she had built in her garage, I was inspired to build my own. 

I set out to studying my garage and figuring out where in the world to put it.  We have a 2-car garage, no basement, and an attic that gets too hot in the summer to store anything.  Plus three kids who between them have bikes, scooters, a skateboard, fishing equipment, tents, sleeping bags and mats, etc.  Not a lot of room left over when we park both cars in the garage!  Finally, I decided to get rid of a big plastic stand that was holding various landscaping tools, hang those tools up on the wall, and put the work table in its place.

First, I used a studfinder to find the studs in the wall, and used drywall screws to attach a horizontal 2’x4’ pine into the studs, at 42.5" inches up from the ground. The 2’x4’ was several inches shorter than the length of the countertop I was going to use.  

Next, I cut down two 2’x4’s to 42.5 inches to be the vertical legs supporting the front of the tabletop.  (This makes for a rather tall tabletop.  I am fairly tall at 5'8", but if I did it over again I would make it more like 38 inches to be able to look down more on my projects as I build.)  Assembling them together on the ground, across the middle of those 2’x4’s, I screwed in another 2’x4’, so that the 3 pieces looked like an “H.” 

Just as I was about to make a run to Home Depot for some wood for the table top, I noticed that a neighbor around the corner was moving out of their house and getting rid of some old furniture, including a slab of wood that looked like an old desk top. It was a little scratched up, but the perfect size for a workbench.  With my son’s help, I placed it on top of the upright 2’x4’s I had prepared, and screwed the table top down into the 2’x4’s with 2" wood screws.

 Then I used screws to attach the tabletop into the top of the horizontal 2x4 that I had already attached to the wall.  I screwed them in at an angle, since the tabletop was too close to the wall to get a screw in vertically.

With a recycled tabletop, the total cost for this project was free, because I used leftover 2 x 4's I had laying around and spare screws. I think it would cost about $30-$50 if you had to purchase all new materials. Not bad and my back is much happier!

Materials/Hardware Used:

1- 60" x 24" recycled wood countertop (a plywood piece could also be used)
1- 2' x 4' x 49" lumber (horizontal wall support)
1- 2' x 4' x 39" lumber (horizontal cross brace)
2- 2' x 4' x 42.5" lumber (vertical table legs--this is the length I used, but I recommend shorter, unless you're over 6' tall.)

power drill
2.5 inch wood screws

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