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PeterAK Dork
10/19/11 4:28 p.m.

We moved into a new house a few weeks ago and plan to be there, ya know, for a few decades. So, I want to build a nice workbench for myself. This will be in the basement and used for general purpose putzing. I'm repurposing the wood from the huge wheelchair ramp that was in the garage to build it.

If you were building a workbench from scratch, how big would you go? I'm thinking 4x8 on one side with a shelf the whole length of the work bench and peg board of some type to hang tools on. Add smoe more space in an L shape too. How high would the work surface be? I think I'll be on a stool most of the time when working there.

What say you, GRM?

stuart in mn
stuart in mn SuperDork
10/19/11 4:57 p.m.

A four foot deep workbench is going to have a lot of wasted space at the back, assuming it's pushed up against a wall. Three feet is too deep for many people as well, 30 inches is probably better.

36 inches is a common height, but it will depend on how tall you are and at what height you're most comfortable.

Streetwiseguy Dork
10/19/11 5:40 p.m.

Unless the workbench is in the middle of the room, 4 feet is far too deep.

For anything other than woodwork, I like a steel top, and a thick one at that. 12 ga minimum, 1/4 inch plate is wonderful.

mad_machine GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/19/11 6:37 p.m.

48 inches wide would be nice in the centre of the garage.. but I agree.. stuck against a wall, it is too deep

heyduard New Reader
10/19/11 6:42 p.m.

What kind of wood? 2x4s? 5/8 plywood? I had a bunch of straight 2x4's and leftover plywood and not much time. Simpson makes a workbench kit - fasteners and strong-ties. With measuring and marking, it only took a couple of hours to make the cuts and screw everything together.

fasted58 SuperDork
10/19/11 6:56 p.m.

my bench is 24" wide X 36" high X 16' long w/ one shelf underneath, anchored to wall, 12" high backboard against the wall and pegboard on up to ceiling, works very well for me. Comfortable height for me standing or on stool. Easy construction w/ 2X4s and plywood, the 24" width = ripping a 4X8 sheet in half.

Welding table is good bench space too when not in use, 30" X 60" X 34" high, 5/16" steel plate top, 1X2 and 1X1 frame on steel casters, heavy but movable.

even the 30" wide is much harder on my back, 48" would be a real pain IMO. YMMV Find what fits you.

emodspitfire Reader
10/19/11 7:52 p.m.

36" high, 32 " deep if you are about 6' tall. Anchor to the wall in several places.

Build the deck out of 2x4 or 2x6, with a hardboard cap. (Use 2 bys for the deck to add mass and minimize springieness.)


SVreX SuperDork
10/19/11 10:43 p.m.

Depends on what you will be working on the most.

If you expect to work on a lot of big stuff, make it bigger and lower. I've got a workbench in my shop that is only 2' high, but it is perfect for working on cabinets and furniture.

4' much too deep with one exception. If it is on wheels and your shop is pretty big, it's fabulous. I have a 4'x 6' rolling bench that is my primary workbench in my shop. It has a parking place along one wall, but spends most of it's time in the middle of the room. It has 2 vices (one on each side), drawers on one end, electric strip plugs on each long edge, and a big shelf under for hand power tools. It's terrific!

36" is a typical bench height. 2' is a normal depth (same as kitchen counters), but 30" is better for a workshop. If you have something big to store under it, let that determine the depth. I've got a 30" deep bench on a wall that I store my shop vac, welder, etc under.

Don't build an "L" shaped bench. The inside corner will get in the way for a vice, long stuff, etc. If you have additional space to fill, build a 2nd bench. Make it for a different purpose (like a low one on wheels, for big stuff).

If you like working on a stool, let that determine your height. I like a tall stool, but that makes a 36" bench just a little low. Choose the stool you like, then decide what height bench will not give you backaches.

Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/19/11 11:19 p.m.

Whatever size it is, anchor it to the wall and the floor. Nothing's worse than a bench that won't stay where you put it, especially when you're applying torque to something in a vice.

My main bench is about 36" deep and made of solid steel. I rarely need that much depth, but it means I can store the snow tires for the Jeep underneath

Raze SuperDork
10/20/11 6:30 a.m.

I'd echo what alot of people are saying 4' is too deep, wasted floor space. I'd go shallower and run along the walls, that way you can build shelves, hang cabinets, have peg board and never have to really worry about having things out of reach. I have very limited floor space in my garage, but alot of vertical space, so I built thin and tall, it worked out well:

I built mine out of 4x4s, housing joist connection brackets, screws, 1 inch plywood on top with black vinyl mat from HD (to prevent solvents/oils from damaging the surface, so far it works great), and some aluminum trim, and some cheap $0.50 black Walmart paint, it's bigger than it looks, 72" long by 26" deep with the top surface at 40". Total cost of the bench $75, and I have plywood left over. I got some pegboard and a couple strips of 1x4 to bring it out from the wall. Cheap $0.50 Walmart paint, $25 for the pegboard, have lots left over. Finally I bought some second hand laundry white particle board cabinets for $100 off CL, again $0.50 Walmart paint. I'm into the entire project for around $225...

Best threads I've seen that helped me decide how/what to build were:

What's your workbench look like? - Garage Journal


What do your Storage Cabinets Look Like? - Garage Journal

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
10/20/11 6:41 a.m.

We are about to rebuild the work bench in the g/f's garage. It is currently about 9' x 24" deep with a 4" backsplash, sitting on a pair of old drawer cabinets with a shelf underneath and bolted to the wall. She is getting new kitchen cabinets, so two of the old ones will replace the existing cabinets and their barely functioning drawers. My one requirement will be the cabinets be on wheels. I'll still bolt the assembly to the wall, but I want to be able to easily move it away for cleaning and maybe other situations when I need to rearrange the garage.

That's my rule when it comes to garage and shop spaces now: everything must be on wheels. Everything.

We may cut the bench down to 8' as well since all that space does a great job of attracting crap. A 48" power strip screwed the to front of the bench is very handy.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
10/20/11 6:57 a.m.

I made mine 29" deep, 36" tall and 16' long. 2x4 framed, lagged to the wall, and topped with OSB. If the top of your bench is wood the filings get stuck in it so a shopvac can't seem to collect them but as soon as you set a magnetized tool down... it has filings all over it. Also, cutting oil soaks in so the next time you start grinding... (sniff, sniff... is that... smoke...)? I covered mine with sheet stainless where drilling/grinding occur. Solves filing, magnet and fire issues.

Plus, you can clamp the ground to it and weld.

foxtrapper SuperDork
10/20/11 7:46 a.m.

One of my benches is topped with a cast off kitchen counter top. Works fine and is very wipeable to cleaning. Being whitish, I can see things on it.

klipless Reader
10/20/11 7:54 a.m.
Raze wrote: Best threads I've seen that helped me decide how/what to build were: What's your workbench look like? - Garage Journal

First link no worky, try this.

The Garage Journal Workbench Thread

93EXCivic SuperDork
10/20/11 8:00 a.m.

Wow this thread is timely. I just got a garage and I was thinking I need to build a work bench.

Taiden Dork
10/20/11 8:06 a.m.


treat yourself to locking pegboard hooks. I wish I had

aussiesmg SuperDork
10/20/11 8:08 a.m.

I built a 12 x 4 workbench and it is against a wall, it makes for a lot of space. Reaching the back is a stretch, but, I can easily and safely work on anything on it. I have worked on a hood while next to two engine blocks.

If you have the room it can be handy.

pinchvalve SuperDork
10/20/11 8:22 a.m.

I used a kitchen countertop that I found at Lowes in a clearance bin. The backsplash keeps little things from falling off the back of the bench and it wipes down easily. It sits on top of two metal kitchen cabinets so I have some drawers for storage. I put shelves between the cabinets for toolboxes.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
10/20/11 8:48 a.m.

When I get to building mine, it will be tall enough to be comfortable to work standing up (probably in the vicinity of 42" tall), about 36" deep, and will have a half length shelf underneath so I can sit on a pub-height stool if need be on the other half, and still get my legs underneath like sitting at a dinner table. It will be an L shape, so I can have bench top tools like a drill press and grinder on one end and a full bench on the other. Cabinets above, with task lighting underneath them, and a loooong power strip. Probably 3/4" T&G ply on 2x4 construction. I plan to rivet some sheet SS to it to make cleanup a breeze.

Raze SuperDork
10/20/11 8:49 a.m.

In reply to klipless:

Fixed, thanks!

carguy123 SuperDork
10/20/11 8:54 a.m.

Ditto the no L shaped as it's a space waster and firmly anchored unless you have a large one. I have a couple of roll around tables and while they are handy for putting things on they move too much to be able to do real work on.

Kitchen counter tops are fabulous for all the reasons listed above.

Don't forget light!! You need more light than you can imagine so put it somewhere that it can be lit easily.

While we are on this subject, has anyone built a Locost? Is 4'x8' big enough or do you need it to be 9'?

Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/20/11 10:06 a.m.

My Locost is 128" long with the nose cone on. I didn't build the frame, but I'm thinking it would be tough to do on an 8' table.

One of the best things about a steel topped workbench is that you can weld things directly to it. Makes it great for building fixtures. The ability to just have the ground attached to the table somewhere is good too. Plus the fact that you won't set it on fire. I also welded some captive nuts to mine so I can easily mount/dismount my grinder and vice should this be required. I've got to admit that I haven't used my grinder since I got my bench-mounted belt sander, though.

ransom GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/20/11 10:15 a.m.

Hrm... What a space-saver... I hadn't considered having my main workbench and welding table be the same item.

I find something about it a little worrisome, though...

PeterAK Dork
10/20/11 10:41 a.m.

Awesome ideas gang. Keep 'em coming. I've got a 1700 square foot unfinished basement and no plan to ever finish it so space is plentiful.

Taiden Dork
10/20/11 10:55 a.m.


This should give you plenty of ideas for that garage of yours!

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