Construct a Modular Wooden Workbench with Three Base Units That Join to Form a Forth Dropped Surface for Your Saw

Build a custom L-shaped workbench of three separate tool benches that join to form a fourth work surface--a dropped well for your miter saw. Construct the base units of two-by four components surfaced with medium-density fiberboard (MDF) that can be replaced easily when scarred and dented beyond use. Use screws, glue, and double-faced tape to secure and join components.

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project diagram and cut list
Step 1

Diagram Your Project and Make a Cut List

Plan your workshop workbench carefully and diagram the dimensions. Make a cut list of pieces to cut, especially when several are the same size. Set up saw horses and lumber as a temporary woodworking bench for cutting components.

using a stop block for consistent cuts
Step 2

Cut All Components, Measuring against a Stop Block

Transfer the bench leg length onto a two-by-four and clamp a stop block at the mark. Butt each two-by-four against the stop block as you cut to ensure consistent length. Repeat the process for each component of a different dimension.

cutting mortises with a sliding compound miter saw
Step 3

Cut Mortises in Bench Leg Components for Cross Rails

Mark and then position a pair of bench legs for repeated cuts with a sliding compound miter. Cut half-way through each two-by-four to notch out matching mortises across each pair. When joined, the two-by-fours will become four-by-fours with a mortise.

setting cross rails in bench leg mortises
Step 4

Assemble End Frames from Bench Legs and Cross Rails/Braces

Apply glue to the interior surface of each pair of leg components and their mortises. Sandwich a cross rail between the two and secure with screws. Glue and screw another brace across the top of the end frame.

joining end frames with side rails
Step 5

Join Two End Frames with Side Rails for Each Base

Position and clamp together two end frames with two side rails for each workbench base. Attach them at the upper end and secure the rails with screws.

laying planks as braces and shelving
Step 6

Secure Bottom Braces Side-by-side across the Bottom Rail

Lay multiple bottom braces/planks side-by-side to span the space between the cross rails. Secure each with screws driven through them and into the cross rails beneath to provide structural reinforcement and a handy shelf.

cutting tops from MDF with a circular saw
Step 7

Cut Workbench Tops from Sheets of Medium-Density Fiberboard

Measure and mark cut lines for workbench tops on sheets of 3/4-inch MDF. Use a clamping straight edge and a circular saw to ensure straight cuts every time. Attach tops to the bases with countersunk screws to avoid scratching projects.

installing the workbench tops
Step 8

Position Three Workbench Bases in an L-Shape with a Gap

Set bases in an L-shaped configuration, leaving a gap for the well. Span the gap for the well with two-by-four rails and slide in the top. Secure replaceable MDF panels on top of each bench top with double-faced tape.


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