DIY Workbench Plans – Box Beam Bench - Popular Woodworking Magazine

DIY Workbench Plans – Box Beam Bench

 In Shop Blog, Woodworking Blogs, Workbenches

This workbench design is a simple and inexpensive DIY project that anyone can complete in their garage workshop. We are making the workbench plans available for download, check the link at the bottom of the post!

The top of this DIY Workbench is made from three layers of MDF. Some might not like the idea of MDF for a workbench surface, but there are a lot of reasons it makes sense. First, it’s really inexpensive. Second, it will stay flat as long as it’s supported well, that’s why there are so many cleats under the top of this bench. Third, once it’s given a good top coat, it’ll resist anything you throw at it.

The base is incredibly rigid because of the box construction. Once the wood frame is complete, a skin of 1/4″ plywood prevents any kind of racking when you’re hand planing. This is a feat that requires substantial joinery on a traditional bench. Here’ it’s accomplished on the cheap.

Because the base is essentially hollow, you can add a set of drawers if you’d like. The feet are expandable so that you can add a set of riser feet for different tasks. The top has clearance around the front to leave plenty of room for clamps.

Check out Tom Casper’s overview in this video!



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Showing 5 comments
  • Rich Gerhard

    Maple work bench tops are nice, but in my shop I have 6 work benches, all with MDF bench tops. 4 with under storage for up to 24″ boards, 1 with under storage for 48″ to 72″ boards. Saves money verses maple tops.

  • Rich Gerhard

    I made one simalar to this. But with 4×4 legs, framed with 2x4s and 2×4 cross braces, with a 50″x48″ MDF table top, and 48″x48″ MDF middle shelf. This is butted up to my table saw, so it acts as a outfeed table & a work bench. With 3 19″ under bench vises on 3 of the corners. The middle & lower shelves act as storage area for boards 30″ to 48″ long. over a year old and still very flat. If it does become uneven I can always screw in another top.

  • pmac

    Hi David,
    In the download for the original article there is a note in the first exploded diagram that says:

    “For a closer look at this bench, and more information on adding a storage cabinet, go to”

    I was looking for more info on the storage cabinet so I went to that web address and, it rerouted me to PopWood site. No problem. I scrolled through the issues and I think #156 was the issue (based on the pic next to the link) but when I got into it, there was no mention of the cabinet or even the bench. So I’m wondering if the links for the web extras got crossed and I was wondering if you could find the correct link. Thanks for the help.

  • Artex

    I´m in the process of building a new bench, this is very interesting as my main worry on a cabinet workbench has always been structural sagging and top unevenness over time. I work a lot on doors so I would have to make it bigger…….aaaaaahhhhh you have my mind working now…thanks for sharing!

  • JoeHurst

    Tom’s bench has enjoyed a couple of re-introductions. There’s nothing wrong with that…if you don’t have a bench, this project is a perfect solution.
    That said, I’m partial to the version that appeared in AW a few years back:

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