This past weekend I took apart a massive 2×4 workbench–it covered the entire side of a garage. It was large enough to lay two 4×8 plywood sheets end-to-end, dismantle a motorcycle upon, gut and clean five deer, or construct a normal size workbench–a workbench like this one.
Workbenches are not all that difficult to build. There are different types for different needs, but generally you want a solid, flat surface that doesn’t warp or wobble, and provides ample work area, which means having a place to stick or store your tools. Instructable member BearTrapper has just the guide to build a workbench that provides all of that. His 2×4 workbench is just under 3′ high and 5′ long with a 2′ deep surface. All together he uses 26 2x4s. If you go cheap, you can get all the lumber for less that $50. Heat treated or cedar will increase the price.
One tool that will make this task (and pretty much any woodworking task) easier is a table saw. You’ll use it to rip the edges and dado (notch) legs for the supports and the worksurface for any cubbies. If you don’t have one, you can adjust to make it with only a circular saw; it will just take a bit longer. His method for attaching the base to the worksurface is excellent, reducing the weight and the lumber used while increasing the space gained. Since the worksurface is 2x4s, he creates a mortises (slots) to slide the top end of the legs into. The great thing about these instructions are how you can expand it to meet your needs. So if you do need to stretch it alongside the entire length of a garage, it’s easy to adjust the steps and quantities for such an endeavor. And, if you have nothing but a circular saw, it’s simple enough to leave out the dado joints and reinforce with some additional 2x4s.
One suggestion I like in the comments is on keeping things modular. One person wants a “central hub” of a workbench to incorporate a table saw, router table base and thickness planner without one interfering with another. The suggestion is to “build different bases on wheels for each tool such that the working surface of the tool is the same height as the bench. Roll out the one you need and clamp it to the stationary bench. Depending on what you’re doing, you can clamp to the end or the side of the bench. By clamping to the heavy bench, you don’t need the fancy wheels with brakes.” Great idea.
Here’s the plan he modified to use 100% 2x4s.