My local home improvement center has a simple DIY workbench plans / kit you can buy for under $100. The kit includes just about everything you need to put together a bench for a workshop – 2x4s and 2x6s precut to length, and a box of wood screws to bring it all together. The complete package is nicely bound in heavy box, ready to load in whatever vehicle you can make it fit. However, I had to wonder if there was any benefit in buying the kit, rather than finding my own set of workbench plans and cutting the lumber myself.
First I priced the boards individually, to see if there was any big savings in me buying all the materials separately. I was kind of surprised to find that that the difference wasn’t that big, really. The kit sells for about $65. If I were to buy all the materials separately, I’d be spending about $48. That’s not something to get too excited about. Sure, I could save myself plenty of
time in the shop by getting all my lumber precut to size. And I suppose having workbench designs already completed would save me the trouble of having to dig through a lot of woodshop plans to find something I like. But I still wasn’t convinced the kit was a better deal. So I tried to break down the pros and cons to see which would make better sense – buy or build a workbench.
What I Think About Buying a Workbench Kit
The biggest drawback to buying a kit is that the particular workbench design just might not be what you had in mind for your workshop. The bench I was looking at didn’t get me too excited. I suppose it would be fine for most basements or garages, but I wanted something a little nicer – especially for the workbench top. For example, this bench uses a row of 2x6s for the top, which I’m sure is tough and durable, but I’ll definitely need something more smooth – I just can’t have small parts rolling into the cracks. Plus, I would just as soon design a workbench to fit the space I have available in my own garage. This bench is about 72” long, but I have a wall in my workshop that measures closer to 8 feet. So I’d just as soon fill that extra space with more workbench.
What I Think About Building a Workbench
Building a workbench from scratch takes a little more work at the start. Finding a set of workbench plans (or designing your own) takes a little time – to make sure you have something that really works for you. You’ll have to measure and cut everything yourself, and do a fair amount of drilling to get the pieces lined up and together. You’ll have to decide for yourself if the extra labor is worth the trouble. In my case, since I don’t really like the design of most kits I’ve seen, the extra effort in coming up with my own style really outweighs any benefits in buying a kit.