If you do enough projects around the house, eventually you’ll want to invest in a workbench. It’s not only nice to have a work station, but also helps keep your tools and supplies organized so you’re always ready when a DIY project calls. If you’re caught in an old catch 22 and don’t yet have a workbench on which to build the workbench, never fear – you can probably build this thing on the floor and it shouldn’t take more than a few hours.
DIY Work Bench
Joe gets the credit for this vision. He came home one day with a bunch of cabinets from a kitchenette and told me we were going to make a workbench with them. I was curious how exactly that was going to work, to say the least. But it was pretty simple! Take some old cupboards, build a base, build a top, pop some wheels on it and presto – you’ve got yourself a nice little work station. All for less than $100.
Tools You’ll Need
- Speed square
- Tape measure
- Power drill and screws
- Circular saw
- 2 2×4’s
- 4 Industrial wheels
- Stain/paint (optional)
- New hardware/knobs (optional)
- Countersink drill bit (optional)
Getting Started – Workbench Base
As I mentioned, those were the kitchenette cupboards he found for free. I didn’t include them in our total cost, and you can probably find some on Craigslist or elsewhere too. These ones are in great shape and I love how they’re really modern looking.
First, we framed out a base by measuring the length of the cupboards and screwing together our 2×4 boards accordingly.
Next, we fortified a spot for the wheels. I think these industrial-grade wheels were about $6 apiece. Just be sure they’re rated to hold the right amount of weight for your bench once it’s full of tools.
We used two regular wheels in the back and two wheels with brakes in the front. That way, we’ll be able to move the workbench around the garage, but steady it when we need to work on something.
Here’s how the wheels look once the base is flipped right-side up.
If you measured everything correctly (fingers crossed), you should be able to put the cupboards right onto the frame you built. You can tell from the plumbing holes in the back there used to be a sink here. No matter to us! You’ll never see them.
Next, we lined all three sections up and screwed them together. Making sure they’re snug and hugged up to each other, we screwed into the sides of them for extra stability. Then we secured the whole thing to the base.
You can see everything starting to shape up.
Now to make a table top.
Here’s where you can start to actually use your bench to work on. Grab that piece of treated plywood and measure where you’ll want to cut it. We wanted a slight overhang, so we plopped it on the top and marked our cuts using the big t-square.
Since this cut is so long, Joe fashioned a guide out of an extra 2×4 to keep his cut on track.
He locked each end down with a clamp first.
Then was able to make the cut following along the 2×4 for accuracy.
So far, so good.
But we still needed to secure the top. We made countersink holes with a countersink drillbit. Not sure that’s 100% necessary, but we wanted our screws to be perfectly flush with the surface.
We used a 3/4″ white pine plywood so it wouldn’t be super flimsy.
Joe also sanded the corners down all pretty and took the imperfections out of the wood grain.
A power sander is also optional, but definitely helps to polish your bench.
Then I took to staining it.
Joe wanted some kind of white pine stain, but all I could find was this “sunbleached” color.
We ended up really loving it! It’s like a light grey/blonde. One coat was enough, but we did two to be safe. No sealing needed.
Finally, I had a thin strip of wood that fit perfectly to face the front edge. Also not a mandatory thing to do, but I thought it finished the front nicely rather than having the layers of plywood showing. For this, we used a nail gun and wood glue.
Guess what, Joe? I organized all my craft supplies!
Not too bad for some old kitchen cupboards, huh?
Thanks Joe, for sharing the shop garage with me 😉
Again, nobody will see the back but here’s what it looks like in case you were curious.
I have a lot of paint and letters laying around…
Time to get making stuff.
What do you think? Would you ever repurpose kitchen cupboards this way?