Do It Yourself: How To Build A Portable Work Bench

Build a mobile workbench with simple tools and standard pieces of lumber. Basic benches can be constructed in an afternoon.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, you are all too familiar with the limitations of a typical, static workbench. All too often, you really need the convenience of a workbench at the site of a project. This is especially true when you are measuring or cutting, or just need a large flat surface on which to work. The solution to this problem is easier than you think. You can build a portable workbench that can be moved to the site of any project.

Before you begin, assess the type of bench that you require. Decide on the size, overall work height, length and width of the bench, type of surface, and accessories. Draw out a plan, indicating the dimensions. Don't forget to allow for the height of the casters that you will use on the bench. To keep this process simple, try to keep the dimensions standard.

You may already have what you need to build a bench in your workshop or around your home. Sometimes an old door can be used as the bench top. Or perhaps you have a piece of kitchen counter top that would make a nice smooth top. Here is a list of what you will need for the project.

- 4 x 4s to use for the legs - figure that two pieces, 8' long will give you four legs, each 48" high. They can be trimmed down to suit your desired work height.

- 1 x 4s to use for framing - calculate the length and depth of the table to determine the number of pieces required.

- 1-1/2 inch plywood for the surface (if you don't already have a suitable top)



- Two rigid plate casters with brakes (plate should be at least 2" x 2")

- Two swivel plate casters (plate should be at least 2" x 2")

- Hardware (an assortment of wood screws ranging in length from ½" to 1-3/4")

Once you have purchased your items, you are ready to begin construction.

1. Cut the 4 x 4s to the desired height. Remember, the casters plus the thickness of the top will add to the overall height of the bench.

2. Cut three pieces of the 1 x 4s to the desired length - figure the length to be 2" shorter than the length of the table. Two of these pieces will be used to form the frame; the other will be used as a "stringer" - the piece that will tie the back legs together side to side.

3. Cut four pieces of the 1 x 4s to the desired depth of the table - - figure the length to be 4" shorter than the width of the table. Two of these pieces will be used to form the frame; the other two will be used as "stringers" - the piece that will tie the legs together front to back.

4. Cut the plywood to the desired length.

5. Using the corner brackets and the ½" wood screw, assemble the framing. Lay one longer piece down and angle a shorter piece to the inside. The corner bracket will go on the inside. Once you have formed an "L," lay the other long piece down to join with the other end of the shorter piece. Continue in this fashion until the "box" has been formed.

6. Lay the top over the framing, and drill a hole through the top into the framing. Drill the hole deep enough so that the screw can be sunk. You will be filling these holes later. Repeat this process for all four corners of the top. Insert a screw and fasten.

7. Lay the table upside down and position one leg snug into the corner. Holding the leg in place, drill a hole through the outside of the side rail into the leg piece and fasten. Be sure to drill below the corner bracket. Do the same with the front rail. Repeat this process for all four legs.

8. Fasten the strings to both sets of side legs and to the back pair.

9. Turn the table over and check to make sure the table is level, and then lay it upside again to attach the casters.

10. Fill in all holes with wood putty to even the surface.

Customize the bench to suit your needs. When you are finished, you will have created a bench that not only is portable, it will also be exactly the right height for your personal use.

© High Speed Ventures 2011