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How to Build a Workbench

General contractor Tom Silva teams up with an aspiring woodworker to build a workbench specifically designed for kids.

General contractor and expert woodworker Tom Silva meets past guest and young woodworker Camila in her dad’s shop where they catch up since they last met. After checking out some of Camila’s work, the two discuss her need for a workspace of her own. With a worktable in mind, Tom invites her back to the workshop to help with the special project.

How to Build a Workbench

  1. Cut four 2x4s and four 2x3s for the bench’s legs. To ensure that the finished work surface is a comfortable height for kids, cut them to 33 inches long.
  2. Using 2x4 lumber, cut the framing components for the work surface and the shelf below. Cut four 2x4s to 60 inches long and eight to roughly 27 inches long.
  3. Lay two 60-inch 2x4s out and place four short 2x4s in between them to form the benchtop. Pre-drill and screw through the long boards and into the short boards at both ends. In the middle, pre-drill holes through the front and back, 20 inches in from both sides. Place the short boards between these holes and screw into them. Repeat this process for the shelf.
  4. Assemble each leg using one 2x4 and one 2x3 to form an L. Pre-drill and screw through the 2x4 into the 2x3. Repeat this until you have four legs.
  5. Lay the benchtop frame upside down on a flat surface and place a leg at each corner. Drill through the leg and into the frame to attach the leg. Repeat at all four corners.
  6. Lay the assembled benchtop and legs on their side and insert the shelf from the bottom of the legs. Be sure to install the shelf high enough that feet can fit underneath it but low enough to provide plenty of storage. Roughly 10 inches from the bottoms of the table legs should be fine.
  7. Cut and install eight brackets for stabilization under the shelf (two for each leg). Cut a 45-degree angle on each end and screw through the brackets into the table legs and bottom of the shelf.
  8. Lift the MDF sheet off the work surface with blocks and use the track saw or circular saw to cut it to length and width. For the benchtop, cut a sheet to 65 inches long and 32 inches wide to allow for an overhang. For the shelf, cut the sheet to 60 inches long and 27 inches wide to fit between the legs. Pre-drill and screw through the worktop and into the framing.
  9. Sand the edges of the benchtop to create a smooth work surface. If desired, drill or route holes through the work surface to accommodate accessories like bench dogs and clamps.

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