The bench is generally constructed like the one at my previous shop. The frame is made from 2x4's, and the top is 3/4" OSB with a 1/8" hardboard skin. A bank of drawers is installed in the left side, and the right side of the bench is left open so I can roll my lawn mower and an equipment cart underneath.
Table of Contents
Bench Frame Construction
The Bench Top
I debated using pine plywood for the top instead, but a decent sheet would have cost as much as the OSB and hardboard combined. Many folks online like to cover their workbench tops anyway (regardless of material), and the hardboard does a good job soaking up spilled oil or finish. The plywood isn't worth the extra money if it won't be seen, and the OSB is very strong and functional.
Drawer Construction and Installation
Most of the drawer runners are strips of 3/4" birch plywood screwed to the dividers through pocket holes. Strips of half-inch plywood were nailed to the frame after the dividers were installed to act as the bottom drawer runners.
The fronts are attached directly to the sides and bottom using pocket screws. I used a right-angle clamp to hold most of the fronts in place while I drove the screws, but I couldn't get a clamp on the top row. For those, I held the fronts on with brad nails and then drove in the screws.
I drilled a 1" hole in each drawer front after they were attached. The hole acts as a drawer pull without anything sticking out in front.
Considerations for Next Time
- I don't know that I would use this method for building drawers in the future. The cheap B-C plywood curved up almost immediately when I got it home, and I ended up having to make the drawers an extra 1/8" thinner. The bowed plywood sides were to difficult to fit in a tight fitting opening.
If I was doing it again, I might build the drawer boxes starting with the sides, and then glue on the bottoms. I think this may have made a more uniform drawer that fit better in a tight space. However, it would have used more material since I probably would have used false fronts.
- I used 2-1/2" wood screws for all the pocket-hole joints on the frame. It would have been easier to use actual pocket screws, but I didn't have the right size, and used what was available.
Standard wood screws won't pull the joint tight because there is thread all the way up the shaft, and the head is self counter sinking. The joints have to be held as tight as possible before starting the screws, and you have to be careful not to over drive them.
- There isn't space to clamp down to the bench on the drawer side. It's fine for me because the right side is left open, but it might be better to build more of a drawer cabinet and leave off the top row. That is what I'll do if I ever build drawers into the right side of the bench.