DIY: Garage Work Bench

So I’ve been putting this project off for a pretty long time even though I hated the look of my shit on the ground or on ghetto cardboard boxes every time I went into my garage. At first I wanted to buy a work bench but I couldn’t really find anything “off the rack” from any stores that would fit the area of my garage nicely. I’m kind of picky with height, width, look, etc… Of course, when you’re looking for something specific, you’ll never get it… That’s my kind of luck, anyway. Other options were either too pricey or just didn’t quite fit in with how I wanted it.

I decided to just build it the way I wanted to and be done with it. The other good part of it is that it saves me a few hundred bucks – and I’m OK with that. It doesn’t have to look extremely pretty since it’ll get abused but I lean towards the “made to fit” rather than the “make it fit” idea for things like this. Since I was on vacation for the rest of that week, I decided that I had better get started before I procrastinate even more.

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We went to Home Depot to pick up a few materials… I got eight 2x4x8’s. One huge piece of MDF that they cut down for me to my measurements, and a few braces to hold the 2×4’s together. As you can see in the pic above, all my shit was on the bottoms of upside down cardboard boxes and it was painful to look at. It even started caving in the center which is why everything is so messy lol.

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This was the space I was working with. It’s difficult because the corner you see there isn’t as easy as you think it is to work with if you want to maximize the space. If I wanted a work bench, I’d have an awkward space on the left wall. If I wanted to put a shelve there, it wouldn’t fit nice in that 20″ corner either…

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Here’s the general layout of the bench. I decided to go ahead and build the bench conforming to the corner and left wall. This eliminated a whole bunch of wasted space that would have potentially been there if I went with a generic work bench. I set the height of the bench to be 40″ tall from the ground. Standard is 42″, but since I’m no basketball player, I shortened it slightly. It ends up being the perfect height for me when standing.

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The first part of putting the rear 2×4’s in as braces is really the only hard part. It’s important to get all of those boards even and lined up, otherwise your whole desk will be uneven. I think I used the level 3-4 times just to do the sanity check. The next part is attaching cross members out to the width of your desk.

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And of course after that, you attach the rest of the desk to secure it all in place. You also see I have the level there at all times in case something moves lol.

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Behind me, Diana is busy building the cabinet we bought to go beside the bench. Every time I point the camera at her, she stops working and poses or gives me dirty looks. Rest assured though, the cabinet did get done in a timely manner…

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The next part that is crucial in the stability of the table is triangulating the corners. All I did was take extra pieces of 2×4’s and used a miter saw on both ends to fit nicely into the corners. I reinforced all the weak corners that would sway if you were to ever knock it or hit it somehow. Adding just 5 of them increased the structural rigidity significantly.

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I then added the legs to support the outside. Easy peasy.

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See. Every time.

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I apologize for not having pics of attaching the piece of MDF and creating the bottom shelf… We took a break in between and I forgot my camera inside. It’s really just cutting the MDF out to the size of your desk. Not rocket science :).

Diana also did finish the cabinet and also painted the legs of the desk to match the colour theme of the garage…

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And one more up close shot of the desk. That’s pretty much all I’ll do for the desk – I’m leaving the top MDF exposed because whether I cover it or paint it, it will see damage and it’s easily replaceable if needed. Although it’s not a nice as a store bought one with fancy drawers and finishes, this provides a built-in look which I prefer more.

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