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Build a Storage Shelf or Work Bench

This project came to be after removing the old workbench to make room for our new plumbing (you can find that here). But guess what, that bench was our dropping zone for all our painting supplies, tools, and other random supplies. So after removing the bench our basement had boxes holding our supplies all over the floor, not ideal because I could not find anything. We needed a place to store our tools, painting supplies and all the other random stuff but we did not want to spend a lot of money.

We thought about our options and decided to reuse the wood from the old bench plus some wood we had on hand (I did have to buy 3 more 2″x4″s). And here is our finished workbench.

build-work-bench

Let me remind you what our old bench looked like, sorry in the middle of removing it.

Removing-work-bench

Before we could start on the new bench we needed to break down the old bench.

Work-Bench-before

Here are all the pieces that could be reused for the new bench.

bench-broken-down

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience, click here to read my full disclosure policy

Because our bench was designed to use the old boards we had on hand, the plans attached are a little different from our finished product but will give you the same style of bench.

Material:

  • #2 – 1″x12″x10ft board
  • #7 – 2″x4″x8ft board
  • 2.5″ screws
  • #2 – 3.5″ bolt w/nut
  • magnets (optional) (for organization)
  • paint (optional)
  • stain (optional)
  • coat hooks (optional) (for organization)

Supplies/Tools:

  • chop saw (or have the wood cut at the store)
  • Kreg Jig K5
  • drill
  • wood clamps (if you have them it will make building easier)
  • orbital sander
  • paint supplies

Cut List:

  • 1″x12″ board (shelves) – this is broken down into each board
    1. cut at : 27.5″ – 27.5″ – 27.5″ – 31″
    2. cut at : 27.5″ – 27.5″ – 27.5″ – 31″
  • 2″x4″ board (frame)
    1. cut at : 34″ – 34″ – 22″ – 4″
    2. cut at : 34″ – 34″ – 22″ – 4″
    3. cut at : 20.25″ – 20.25″ – 20.25″ – 20.25″ – 4″ – 4″
    4. cut at : 37.5″ – 36″ – 22″
    5. cut at : 37.5″ – 36″ – 22″
    6. cut at : 31″ – 31″ – 31″
    7. cut at : 31″

After cutting the wood we were ready to assemble the bench. Here is a diagram of the side view of the bench.
how to build a work bench

Here is a diagram of the front view of the bench.

build a work bench

After cutting the wood, we used our Kreg Jig to create pockets in the wood. If you do not have one I would highly recommend buying one. The diagrams above show where we placed our pockets (=*). If there are ** together that means that for the width (2″ side) place a pocket on each side of the board (see picture below for example).

After creating the pockets, I sanded all the wood using #220 grit sandpaper. And now we were ready to assemble the workbench.

please forgive me for using a red blanket under the wood… it makes the pictures look funny

Adding-pockets-to-wood

First the shelf frames need to be attached together. Taking two of the 2″x4″x31″, we sandwiched one 2″x4″x4″ between the ends (the 2″ side of the board will be facing out) and attached the boards together using the pockets on the 4″ board . We then added another 2″x4″x4″ between the other end of the 2″x4″ and attached together with 2.5″ screws. Sorry if you are not understanding this, basically we are creating a rectangle out of these pieces of wood (see picture below for example). Complete this step one more time for the second top shelf.

building-frame-for-shelfs

Now for the two bottom shelves, take two 2″x4″x34″ and sandwich one of the 2″x4″x20.25″ at the ends of the 34″ board. Attach the boards together just like the top shelves. Then again take another 2″x4″x20.25″ and attach creating a rectangle. Complete this one more time to create the second bottom shelf.

Next is adding the legs to the shelves, let’s start with the top shelf again. Take two of the 2″x4″x22″ (top legs) and place them flat on the ground (4″ side is facing up). Then with one of the top shelf frames, place it 3/4″ from the top of the 22″ boards, spacing the boards to fit the frame (see picture below for example). Attach the frame to the boards using the 2.5″ screws.

attaching-shelf-frame-to-le

Grab the other frame and attach to the legs, spacing to the distance you would like (I centered mine in the middle). After both shelves are added take the other two top legs (2″x4″x22″) and add them exactly the same way. You will have something like this.

work-bench-shelf

To complete the bottom, take one 2″x4″x36″ and one 2″x4″x37.5″, place them flat on the ground (4″ side is facing up). Then with one of the bottom shelf frames, place it .75″ from the top of the 36″ board and 2.25″ from the top of the 37.5″ board, spacing the boards to fit the frame (see picture below for example). Attach the frame to the boards.

Builing-base-of-storage-benGrab the other frame and attach to the legs, spacing it 10″ from the bottom of the legs (this will give space to store paint cans under the bench). After both shelves are added take the other two legs and add them the same way, making sure to add the same size board across from the other.

Now it was time to add the shelves to the frame. Because I was using the old boards I had to use the circular saw to cut the board down to size. But for the diagram I have attached, your boards will fit perfectly in the space.

cutting-shelf-down-to-size

After the boards were cut I then using my new painting tool (Critter Paint Sprayer, more on this another day) and painted them in a light grey color.

critter spray gun

shelf-base-painted

I decided to stain the frame using Special Walnut but I think it would have looked great natural too.

special-walnut-stained-work

Next I drilled the hole for the bolt, this will attach the top shelf to the bottom. First I drilled a hole in the bottom frame, then I added the shelves to all the frames. I placed the top frame on the bottom shelf and drill a hole through the 2×4 boards, using my pre-drilled hole as my guide. After I attached the top frame to the bottom using the bolt.

NOTE: I did not nail the shelves to the frames but you could if you wanted to.
Drill-hole-to-attach-top-sh

And here is my finished workbench.

how-to-build-a-work-bench

I designed the bench to store my air compressor, circular saw, rotary hammer, and drills all on the bottom shelf. I decided I wanted some buckets to store some supplies, I found these buckets at the dollar store. The very top shelf is attached to the wall and came with the house.

storage-on-top-of-bench

I decided to use magnets (found at the hardware store) to hold my paint brushes on the wood frame. To attach them, I applied a small amount of liquid nails to the magnet then pressed the magnet to the wood until it stuck by itself, which was not very long. I also use some old coat hooks to hold random things on the workbench, like this one holds my paint sprayer.

Store-painting-supplies

And there are three coat hooks on this side that hold our level, air hose, and extension cord.

store-tools-on-work-bench

See how the paint cans fit so so nicely under the bench.

store-work-tools-on-work-be

The workbench has helped us organize our tools but I have some more ideas to help organize it a little better but that will have to wait for now. What do you think of our new workbench? Anyone else want to make one? Or do you have any questions about making your own?