Build a DIY workbench with storage, including drawers and shelves, with this detailed step-by-step tutorial, video, and plans.
A workbench is the heart of a workshop. Combine that with storage; you have an organized and functional space to bring your DIY projects to life.
Building your own DIY workbench isn’t very hard at all. I built this easy 2×4 workbench when I started woodworking (11 years ago!!). It has been the center of all my woodworking projects.
The only drawback of the workbench, apart from being only 2′ x 4′, is that it has no storage except for that huge shelf. Over the years, I have wished there was more organized storage.
Recently, I got a CNC machine (more on that coming soon), and it needs a place to live, which was my excuse for building this. Even though I am building it for my CNC machine, it is great for any workshop!
This medium-sized sturdy workbench is an excellent beginner-friendly project that will last a very long time for all your projects.
- It measures 65″ x 39″, so its decent sized work surface and assembly table.
- It has three drawers for storage – great for storing small tools and screws.
- A small narrow shelf at the back for extra storage – can be used to store bins with hardware.
- It has a large shelf underneath for plenty of storage for scrap wood, small tools, tool accessories, etc.
- It’s a mobile workbench with casters, meaning you can quickly move it around the workshop.
This workbench is designed and built with beginners in mind. The footprint is pretty decent sized, but if you have a small space, you can easily reduce the width of the workbench and eliminate one of the drawers.
Let’s dive into everything you need to know to build your workbench. I have detailed written instructions, step-by-step videos, and comprehensive plans outlining the required measurements, materials, and tools.
What is a good size for a workbench?
There isn’t standard sizing for workbenches. They can be made as large or small as you need to fit your space and requirements. This workbench is designed to be 64″ wide, 39″ deep, and 37 3/4″ tall because it’s a few inches larger than the footprint of the CNC machine, which will be going on top (more on that later).
One thing to keep in mind is the height of the workbench. The height should be counter height – like your kitchen to make it convenient. But the great thing about building your own workbench, like any piece of DIY furniture, is that you can adjust the workbench’s height based on your height.
How to Build a DIY Workbench With Drawers
Here is the full video showing you how I built the workbench. The detailed written step-by-step instructions are below.
As always, I have the step-by-step plans, including the lumber needed, the cut list, and the step-by-step schematic diagrams to help you build your own workbench. Grab them from the link below.
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- Lumber per the plans
- Pocket Hole Jig. I used the Kreg 720. See which Kreg Jig is right for you.
- 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws
- 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws
- 2″ trim head screws or wood screws
- 18″ drawer slides
- Workbench casters (I highly recommend these)
- Wood glue
- Kreg Rip Cut (optional but highly recommended)
- Clamps. I recommend the right angle clamp and a few F-style clamps.
Step 1: Prepare the lumber
- Cut all the lumber per the plans.
- Sand all the boards.
Here is a complete guide on how to sand wood for the best results. I will not be staining or painting this workbench, so I sent it through the planer a couple of times and then sanded it to 150 grit to eliminate all the splinters because 2×4 lumber can be quite rough. You don’t need a planer. You can use only a random orbital sander too.
- Make pocket holes in the 2×4 boards and plywood, as the plans show. The Kreg Jig is set to 1 1/2″ thickness for the 2×4 boards and 3/4″ for the plywood.
I like using the Kreg 720, but you can use any pocket hole jig. The key is to set it up for the material thickness.
Step 2: Build the frame
The entire workbench leg frame is built using 2x4s.
- Start by building the side workbench legs by attaching the 2×4 aprons to the legs using 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws and wood glue.
- Build two of these.
- Attach the long aprons to one of the legs using pocket hole screws and wood glue.
This is where things get a little tricky. You want to ensure you are on the floor, so wood glue surface tension and gravity help hold the board in place as you attach.
- Attach the other side of the leg frame.
If you thought attaching the long aprons to the leg frame was tricky, this part is even trickier! The best way to do this was to clamp a 2×4 block under where I needed to support the apron and then attach it.
It is important to keep track of the location of the aprons. There is an offset between aprons that go on the short and long sides because we will be installing drawers and shelves.
Step 3: Add the Shelf
This is a great time to cut and install the bottom shelf. When I built the table saw stand, I struggled to get the bottom shelf in once all the other aprons were attached.
This is why it is best to get the bottom shelf in now.
The corners of the shelf are notched out using a jigsaw to fit around the 2×4 legs.
- Attach the shelf using 2″ trim head screws or countersunk screws.
While countersunk screws work just as well, I prefer trim head screws because they have tiny heads just a little larger than nails, can be easily filled, and are stronger than finish nails.
Step 4: Install Casters
This is a great time to install caster wheels. The workbench is still light enough to be flipped over. Plus, once the casters are installed, moving the workbench around as needed to build will be easier.
I like these casters because when the caster is disengaged, the entire workbench sits on the ground, making it extremely stable. When the casters are engaged, the entire workbench lifts up and can be moved around easily.
Another advantage is that when the workbench sits on the floor, you can easily shim the legs as needed to make it even – something that is impossible with casters installed under the legs. And we know that garage floors are anything but even.
With the bottom shelf installed, it is time to install the upper aprons and drawers.
The best way to install these aprons is to measure and mark the location, then clamp the 2×4 blocks to support the apron while attaching it.
STEP 5: Install the center divider and support.
The middle has an apron and divider supporting the shelf and the drawer dividers. This can be tricky to install. The best way I found to do this was to flip the workbench on its side and attach it. There is also a vertical board that is attached to the center apron. This is where the drawer dividers will be attached.
- Install plywood drawer dividers using wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Ensure that they are parallel and straight.
These dividers are where the drawer slides will be attached. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure they are perfectly square to the sides and back.
Step 6: Install Drawers
- Build and install drawers per the plans.
The drawers are built with simple butt joints using pocket hole screws and the drawer bottoms are attached from the outside using wood glue and staples. I used these full extension drawer slides to install the drawers into the workbench.
Step 7: Install the small shelf
- Cut the plywood for the shelf and install it using wood glue and trim head screws.
This narrow shelf is perfect for storing small clamps, tools, and even bins with hardware.
Step 8: Install the Workbench top
With all the main parts of the workbench in place, it is time to finish it up by installing the workbench top.
- Build the top frame by attaching the topmost aprons and braces using pocket hole screws and wood glue.
- Add the top sheet of plywood and attach using trim head screws. To give the top a finished look, you can fill in these screw holes with wood filler.
A note about the workbench top:
The way I built this, the top has no overhang on any side, and I used only one 3/4″ plywood. This was intentional because I am going to use it for a CNC.
However, as a workbench where you will be building projects, you need a 2″ overhang on all sides. This will help with clamping things while you build. The plans include the overhang.
A good thickness for a workbench top is at least 1 1/2″-2″. For a workbench top made of 3/4″ thick plywood, you can layer two or more sheets of plywood on each other to create a thicker top. A thicker workbench top keeps it stable and prevents warping in the future.
Step 9: Install drawer fronts and hardware
Once the top is installed, the drawer fronts can be installed. As always, I use the hardware holes to install the drawer front. Then I can easily add the permanent screws from the inside and the hardware. See more about it in my guide to building drawers.
This is it!
The workbench with drawers and shelves is ready to get to work.
It is a simple design with ample storage for all big and small tools, lumber, and hardware.
Remember, you get the step-by-step printable plans to build this workbench.
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Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"