Sunday, January 06, 2008

workbench on the cheap

i have a couple of projects that i want to work on this year, and they both need a workbench. i didn't really care what kind of bench i made, as long as it was sturdy and cheap.

this summer my dad and i replaced the side door to my house since it was in pretty bad shape. one night while drifting to sleep i realized that an exterior door would make a perfect table top. unfortunately that door was long gone (and it wasn't an easy task. we cut it up into pieces and threw it away week by week.)

i called a couple of places to see if they had a damaged door i could buy cheaply, but no one did. one place did recommend i try habitat for humanity (which i didn't realize had a retail store in portland). so i went one saturday and found a large, extremely heavy exterior door for $15.

originally i was thinking that i could just put a door on cinder blocks and be done. but i decided i could do a little better than that. i looked around on the internet for workbench plans and soon realized i wasn't the first person to think of using a door as a table top. in fact, i found these plans for a table-top bench. they even gave a close up view. the full plans cost $6, but with close of view there was really no reason to buy them. i had no intentions of trying to add drawers. that seemed too hard. but i did want to box the whole thing in and put two doors on it.

so i went to lowes and got 9 2x4s (i had one) for a total of $18. i made the base 2 feet wide, by 5 feet long by (roughly) 3 feet high (so i could cut the 2x4 at 5' and 3'). the only tricky part was connecting the 5' lengths to the sides. i drilled a hole from the side into the 5' piece, then drilled an 1" hole in the side of the 5' piece. i feed a 6.5" bolt through the hole in the side and threaded it through a nut in the 1" hole. that probably makes no sense, which is why i have a picture.

anyhow, in the spirit of keeping this cheap, i boxed in the back of the bench with the panels from our kitchen cabinets (if you look a couple of posts below you will see i removed them all to put in glass). I had enought plywood to do one of the sides, and enough pegboard to do another. out of 1 sheet of particle board i was able to get the bottom, an extra shelf and the two doors. finally, i bolted the door down roughly the same way i bolted the sides together.

here is the final result. all in all it cost about $65 to make. i'm really happy with how sturdy it is. i've already started making the tv stand/stereo holder thingy that i've been thinking about and i don't think i could do it without a bench.