Finished: The Garage Work Table

She's done, almost. I still need to add one more finish coat of polyurethane, but I'm going to save that for after the pegboard install because I'll be walking all over this thing in order to do that, plus there a few little tweaks that I'll cover later in the post.  
She is a beast, no? Here's a rundown on how she got built. 
The workbench is made up of two individual bases that are connected via the top. I built it this way because the floor in the garage slopes in two directions in that corner and I felt it would be nearly impossible to build a one piece L-shaped bench to accommodate for that. 
This was the simpler of the two to build because of its very basic construction with identical rails at the top and bottom of the legs. The hardware is very straight forward for this type of structure.
I used Simpson Strong-Ties model RTC42. I discovered these Simpson products from this blog's post on building a workbench. 
I went with the bracket that attaches 2x4 rails to 4x4 posts. I wanted the bench to have real heft and no wiggle. My goal was to avoid having to secure the bench to the concrete wall for stability (accomplished).  
Once I had cut all my rails and legs to size, it was really only a matter of screwing everything together. I worked on a piece of ply to make sure that everything was flat and not warped or twisted and I tried to make sure that the areas where I was attaching screws were free from knots.
This system is super forgiving too in terms of aligning everything true and square because there are 22 screws per corner bracket. The rails get really synched in, there's no wonkiness at all.
Outside corner.
Inside corner.
I used 5 boxes of these Simpson companion self-drill screws. Worked like a charm and their self-drilling aspect was essential to my sanity.
After building the first table, I started the process all over again only this time I at least had the first table on which to to work.
By this time, I have to admit, this project started getting tedious. The design of the second table was trickier...
and I still needed to move all this crap.
The open rails on this table also called for these pass-through brackets which weren't as sturdy as the corner system.
So I used a 4x4 rail on the base and these corner brackets to beef things up (there are a ton of other Simpson building brackets available for every possible building configuration). This is not a sponsored post, btw, this stuff just works great.
First section.

Second section attached.

Here are the cutouts for the lower shelf.  I used a jigsaw for this.

Ethan decided he wanted an extra lower shelf after I screwed everything together.  Technically this lower shelf should have a rail in front supporting it, in case anyone steps on it to climb up on the table (bound to happen). I plan to retrofit that later, after I get the garage put back together.

There are three plywood panels that make up the top.  This had to happen because the long portion is 138" long and plywood is of course only 96" long. To make sure my seams are strong, I reinforced with an additional rail that the ply screws into across the seam.

I had originally thought I would use some sort of leveling hardware to deal with the double slope.  In the end it was much easier to use shims.  I don't like the way the shims are currently larger than the legs themselves and plan to cut these down to size and epoxy them in place.

So there you have it, a big, bad-ass work table. Next up, the pegboard install.

*To see a scale drawing and cutting list for this project click here.

*To see this bench with pegboard and tools installed click here.


Laetitia said...

YAY ! Looking very good and strong ! :) so what is the cost for a table like this ?

C a i t l i n said...

I did not keep an exact tally of the cost as I was also purchasing some other non-table items at the same time but my rough estimate is that it cost between $300 and $325 for materials. I used high quality plywood which was almost $50 a sheet (3 sheets) and the cost of all the hardware and lumber adds up!

Sandra said...

That looks awesomely solid! It makes me want to jump on it!

C a i t l i n said...

Yes, this workbench deserves a little victory dance atop it. :) Caitlin

Anonymous said...

How did you attach the tops?

C a i t l i n said...

Screwed from the top and countersunk the screws.

Anonymous said...

Very nice. I did not see any holes and thought you might have used L brackets to attach the tops. Love those strong tie brackets myself. :)

Anonymous said...

Did you use the Strong Drive screws on the tops or something like a drywall screw? Please put up a picture showing how you attached the tops. I just built another work bench using the RTC42's and I'm looking for a better way to attach the top. Thanks.

C a i t l i n said...

I used a wood screw and screwed from the top (through the plywood and into the rail). The top is secured to the rails (2x4s) about every 10 to 12". So basically the top is secured all the way around the perimeter of the table. I used a wood screw and made sure to countersink them so that they do not protrude from the top -it is for this reason that you wouldn't want to use a strong tie screw for the top because you couldn't make them flush. I hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

My wife pointed me to this blog and it's exactly what I was looking for in a workbench....long and sturdy. Thanks for taking the time to document this.

Anonymous said...

came across this post as I was working on my workbenches. Which strongtie did you wind up using on the far right leg to connect the 4x4 to the 2x4?
did you just use one of the right angle brackets? or was there anything else?

Looks great!

C a i t l i n said...

On the right rear leg I used the Simpson corner bracket RTC24 but on the front leg (which does not have a front rail at the bottom so I can slide a tool box and garbage can under) I used a Strong Tie TRA2Z corner bracket. Only one and it is very strong. Thanks.

michael hardy said...

Excellent Post, you made a great workbench. I also wanted to make a workbench for a garage, but I have no idea how can I do this properly, but now I got some point of workbench from your post. I ready to make my own garage workbench now through your post. Thank you so much for this