The satisfaction of a finishing a home improvement project or repair is one of life’s more reliable pleasures. But it’s hard to make progress on handyman tasks when you don’t have a good place to work. If you want to change that, you’ll first need workbench plans.
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Where to Find Workbench Plans
The following sources of workbench plans promise to give you that place to work. Most are true do-it-yourself projects suitable for ordinary people to build at home without exotic tools. Some of these simple workbench plan can get built in only a few hours.
Others may eat up an entire weekend or more before your new workbench is ready for use. Most of these garage workbench plans are free.
Many are distributed online by dedicated DIYers who share their intellectual property at no charge through blogs and websites. Some are available for modest cost from professional plan publishing enterprises.
Because of the variety of sources for plans, the quality varies as well. Some plans come with step-by-step printed instructions and videos. Woodworking plans may include detailed parts and materials lists, including prices for the overall project.
Some provide lists of the tools you need. Others are more sparing with the details. Just as there are lots of different types of DIYers, there are lots of different types of workbenches.
These plans include designs for woodworking benches, mobile benches, compact benches, folding benches and more. While the choice of a particular workbench plan is an individual one, the need for a workbench is universal. These plans can help fill that need.
Key Features of a Workbench Plan
Before looking over these sources of plans, it makes sense to think a moment about what kind of workbench you want. Here are some of the important features and options for workbenches described in these designs:
- Durable work surface: Benches may have tops of plywood, boards, steel, and other surfaces. The type of projects a DIYer will be doing will guide choice of surface.
- Adequate sized surface: Workbenches come in all sizes, from compact to practically aircraft carrier-sized.
- Proper height: It’s critical that a bench place the work at a height comfortable to the individual DIYer. Some plans provide for adjustable heights.
- Strength: If a bench will store heavy power tools, the plan needs supports and surfaces that can handle the load.
- Storage space: Some basic benches have only a shelf or two for tools, materials, and supplies. Others have drawers and cabinets.
- Power: If a DIYer will be using power tools, an integrated power strip is a handy bench feature.
- Light: Many benches have their own light strip installed on an overhanging shelf.
- Vise: Benches may include a steel or wooden vise installed on the work surface.
- Mobility: Some benches are wheeled to allow a DIYer to move them around.
- Storability: Folding workbenches that disappear into walls, benches with folding work surfaces, and collapsing benches can all fit into work spaces with limited room.
- Cost: Many plans include estimates of the cost for the materials to build the bench.
- Complexity: Some free workbench plan require only hand tools, from a few to several hours and basic craftsman skills to produce. But some are more complex, calling for fine woodworking equipment and ability.
Take a moment to think about the desirability of some of these workbench features. This will make it easier to pick the right one from the following sources of plans.
Woodworking Toolkit is a website that features ideas, reviews and tips for DIYers and woodworking craftspeople. Its list of 51 home-worthy workbench plans includes designs sourced from many other blogs and websites.
Woodworking Toolkit’s list is titled “51 Free Portable Workbench Plans to Get You Started Woodworking.” But the designs are not only for woodworkers.
Nor are they all particularly mobile workbenches, at least in the sense of having wheels. But based on length alone, this is a worthy cross-section of free workbench kits available online.
There are designs for nearly any DIYer working on any project in any space. The Woodworking Toolkit list includes basic dimensions of each DIY workbench plan.
That helps you get an idea of whether a plan is for you without going to the link giving all the details. It also includes materials, cost and necessary tools – very helpful.
One example is plan number 5, “Simple DIY Workbench Tutorial.” This design for a sturdy workbench from a woodworker named April Wilkerson was posted on her blog in 2014.
According to Wilkerson’s entertaining and candid description of her project, this basic workbench cost only $34 in materials. And it took only four hours to build.
Woodworking Toolkit went through the plans and counted up all the tools it would take. For this traditional workbench, that was a pocket hole jig, circular saw, and driver or nail gun. Letting you know in advance what tools you will need is a helpful feature of this source of plans.
Lemon Slide’s list of 54 built-it-yourself workbench plans is, obviously, a little longer than Woodworking Toolkit’s. It also includes some duplicates, such as April Wilkerson’s simple design.
However, many of the DIY project plans are different from other sites. Lemon Slide includes costs when they are supplied by the original designer.
It doesn’t, however, tell you which tools you’ll need to make each bench. Many of the plans Lemon Slide has curated are simple designs that will take less than a day to build.
Some are quite a bit more complex. Number 26 is a plan for a handsome, heavy duty workbench originally published in Wood Magazine.
It’s designed to serve both as a work surface and support sawn boards for a table saw. It includes several sliding drawers, mortised joints and other advanced features.
Woodsmith Plans is different from the other sources of workbench plans described here. This isn’t a collection of home-made plans individual DIYers are sharing for free. Instead, it’s a for-profit publisher of professional designs.
You can browse descriptions of Woodsmith Plans for workbenches and other projects for free. But to actually see the details, it costs you $9.95 per plan. That’s not a huge cost, of course. And you get printable digital pages of step-by-step instructions.
There are full-color photos and illustrations and, sometimes, videos. Along with a list of hardware, supplies, and costs, you’ll get referrals to where you can buy it all. One of Woodsmith Plans’ more interesting workbench designs is for the “Knock-Down Workbench.”
This one requires only a single sheet of plywood and some pieces of hardware to create a portable workbench. The result knocks down for compact storage or transport in its own case.
Woodsmith Plans has dozens of designs for workbenches of various styles including traditional, rolling and folding. There are special-purposes benches for table saws, woodworking and more. You’ll also find plans for bench add-ons such as drawer systems, vises, and cabinets.
“14 Super-Simple Workbenches You Can Build” from Family Handyman may not be as lengthy as some lists. But these are all originals rather than plans from another site. In fact, many plans on other lists are actually Family Handyman designs.
Family Handyman has a good selection of basic, portable, compact, folding and other types of plans. Each design includes a list of necessary tools and materials, including cost of materials. This makes shopping easy.
Plan number 8 for a “Modular Workbench” is unlike the sorts of plans most sites offer. This is a bench that will fit in a small garage or workshop without sacrificing any functionality. It includes a fold-out worktable, roll-out table saw module, and miter saw table.
Plus there are lots of cabinets, drawers, bins, pegboard, and shelves for tool storage. The Modular Workbench is more complicated than most plans, with 25 steps. But it doesn’t require many specialized tools.
When it’s done, you’ll have a highly flexible, functional workbench. And it can sit on one wall of a garage and leave room to park a car.
There are only about three dozen plans for benches and other workshop furniture on the BuildSomething website. But wait before you skip over this site for one that promises more choice.
That’s because this is the original source for many garage workbench plans on curated lists. BuildSomething also has something other sites lack. Namely, user reviews. Many of these plans were built by people like you.
And some have left their ratings, feedback and personal experiences with the process. The site is also well-designed. You can search plans by type and rank them by rating, popularity, and how recently they were added.
BuildSomething is sponsored by Kreg Tool Company. Many of the woodworking projects call use various Kreg products. However, there are some advantages to this as well.
For instance, some BuildSomething plans are labeled as “Certified.” That means they were designed, tested, checked, and rechecked for accuracy and completeness by experts at BuildSomething. And you can call a professional support team with questions about certified plans – a nice feature.
Workbench Plan Roundup
Clearly, there is a huge variety of free or low-cost workbench plans ready for download. It’s easy to believe there’s one for any DIYer doing any kinds of projects in any environment. And if you can’t find the right one, you can probably get enough ideas from these to design your own.