See how to easily build a sturdy frame for your workbench using notched 4×4 legs and 2×4 rails.
This is Part 1 of this series. You’ll see how to build the 2 long rails for the bench frame, as well as add the caster mounting blocks.
See the full Workbench build series
A transcript with images is below the video too!
Workbench Leg Choices
I tried doubling 2x4s for the legs on my mitre saw station.
But, I wish I had tried notching 4×4 posts for lap joints instead, like I did for this workbench.
They are so much easier and faster to make.
Make 4 of these 4×4 notched posts.
Caster Mount Pocket Holes
It’s not a good idea to screw directly up into the end grain to mount casters.
So, if you plan to make your workbench mobile, see why I used pocket screws to attach a square piece of plywood to the bottom of each 4×4 post.
And now would be the time to make those pocket holes.
You’ll actually mount the plywood squares and casters later, and I’ll show you how I did it so it’s easy in just a bit.
This is the easiest part of the whole build!
Make 2 of these.
To ensure all 4 aprons were exactly the same length, I used a stop block on my mitre saw station.
That way I could measure once and cut many.
You might want to think ahead at this juncture and decide how you want to attach the top of your workbench.
You can use:
- Cleats – most desirable
- Pocket hole screws – easier choice for DIYers
- Braid nails or screws from the top – least desirable way
You will want to prepare your rails now if you plan to use either pocket holes or cleats.
The preferred method is to use cleats, but that requires a little more advanced woodworking to do.
Pocket hole screws are easy and make the top easy to change later.
Brad nails are the easiest of all, but make it so hard to replace the top later.
I used pocket hole screws for the top and brad nails for the lower shelf.
And I didn’t decide to do that until after I had the whole frame built.
This is how I had to drill my pocket holes – no fun! Would have been way easier if I had done them right after I cut the rails.
Assemble the Frame Supports
Layout your pieces.
Use a speed square everywhere to check that it is indeed square before you screw together.
I used 2-1/2″ construction screws. And I installed them diagonally from each other, top to bottom.
You definitely want to pre-drill them first.
But I didn’t need to countersink them.
My Ryobi impact driver made super, duper quick and easy work of getting those long screws in and even recessed.
Why I Didn’t Use Glue
You can use wood glue on these joints to make them even stronger.
But, I chose not to do that because I was concerned the glue would start to set up before I could get all of the joints glued and recheck square everywhere.
Finished Frame Supports
Here’s how the finished frame supports should look.
And here’s how both of them will be turned when finished, with the aprons facing out.
Install Caster Mounts
If you chose to include casters, now is a great time to attach the plywood squares.
The floor and a Kreg right angle clamp make it super easy to keep everything square while you’re attaching those pocket hole screws to one side and then the other.
In the next post we’ll add the stretchers to make the workbench the desired width and finish assembling the frame.
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