Workbench made of home depot spruce

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Project by lashing posted 06-22-2011 05:27 PM 8181 views 8 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Certainly not anyones first choice this bench is made entirely of contruction spruce from Home Depot.

I had been using benches I made years ago that were very crude yet very sturdy. The tops were indestructable HDF ply but .. they were not flat. I got fed up not having a flat reference surface.

As a guitar maker I usually dont think furniture projects thru well. This was no exception. I underestimated the work involved simply milling the boards and them remembered how hard this green home depot timber is on blades. Junked up my planer and jointer.

Contruction grade spruce was used for 3 reasons. One it was well under $100 for everything. Two, I wanted to show it can be done and would be heavy and sturdy enough. Three, the overly soft spruce top would allow me to place guitars on top and the top will dent first. As pictured with a 1951 Telecaster I am currently working on for a customer.

Somehow, I measured the mortise in the stretchers backwards on both so the truss rods face out not in. No big deal as this is never going to be a beauty pagent winner but I still dont know how I managed that. Fortunately the fit is great and the truss rod system keeps the whole assembly very stable.

I took great effort laminating the top in section to ensure it was flat. Being home depot 2X4’s it warped anyway. Not to bad and I used my Veritas Jointer plane to get it flat. At last – a totally flat surface. No more running the the kitchen to check blanks against granite!

For all the work involved I probably wouldnt do it from Spruce again. But the bench is rock solid and it is nice to know the old Tele will do damage to the bench before the bench can harm the tele.

Next time I will probably go with the standard oak or maple. Funny thing is furniture makers rarey understand the fine adjustments required in guitars. Me, I often blunder furniture making. All my work working skill is guitar related but I like to think I can build anything.

10 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3618 days

#1 posted 06-22-2011 05:39 PM

we all can build anything – just takes longer for some of us to build things we are not used to building.

nice work on the top ! and I did a similar mistake on my mortises for the legs as well ;)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View RedBarnWoodwkr's profile


14 posts in 2500 days

#2 posted 06-22-2011 06:49 PM

Very good looking top. Anyone can build anything is correct just as long as the builder is happy with the result.

-- Most people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference, Marines don't have that problem...Ronald Reagan

View dpoisson's profile


190 posts in 2884 days

#3 posted 06-22-2011 06:51 PM

Wow! That’s exactly what I had in mind for my next bench.

A couple of questions if you don’t mind. What are the dimensions of the top? 20” by 6’ long?

Would also be nice to have extra pics of the vise installation, the rods and see how the top is anchored to the legs.

You didn’t use any 4×4’s, did you?

Again, great looking bench! Did you include the rods in the 100$ budget or was that only the price of wood?


View SnowFrog's profile


102 posts in 2516 days

#4 posted 06-22-2011 06:53 PM

I am really impressed! This looks really nice! Can’t beat 100$ There is a few utility projects like this where I may reconsider custruction lumber and keep my pennies where it counts.

Once again really nice work!

-- One can dream, about a passion not yet fully fulfilled!

View lashing's profile


109 posts in 2790 days

#5 posted 06-22-2011 07:07 PM


Mostly 2X4 and 2X6 for the stretchers. Everything is held together mortise/tenon/titebond. The top is simply held on with one lag bolt per side. The legs are 3 2X4’s jointed and planed. I just made my tenons that way. The center peice is longer. Fits right into the mortise as all the peices were planed to thickness at the same time. However in the end that didnt save me anything. Would have been just as easy to cut the mortise and tenons after gluing.

Top is 22” X 5’. Vice is just a record vice. Four bolts thru top and 2 screws on the jaw. All bolts are sunk of course so the heads well below the top.

$100 includes eveything (except vice). Wood, glue, bolts. Rods were the cheapest. $3 for one threaded rod, 8 bolts, 8 washers. Jigsaw easily cut the thread rod into 4. I also didnt consider I probably need to flip my planer and jointer blades after it too. That soft green contruction wood is nasty. I was cleaning sap off the beds. They say kiln dried but what do they dry to? 30%?

The best decision I made was the truss rods on the strecthers. Bench wobbles until I tighten those up and its like a rock. Nice to be able to snug it if needed. I poured epoxy in the truss routes but not at the thread end of course. I could take this bench apart in minutes.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3143 days

#6 posted 06-22-2011 07:56 PM

I think it looks great.

Mine looks fairly similar, and is made from HD Doug Fir.

If it works … it works.

Very nice job !

-- -- Neil

View scarpenter002's profile


605 posts in 3874 days

#7 posted 06-23-2011 12:29 AM

I agree with everyone. Looks great and it should serve you well.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott in Texas

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 2624 days

#8 posted 06-23-2011 03:02 PM

Lowes yellow pine for my bench. It works great.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View acducey's profile


65 posts in 2474 days

#9 posted 07-31-2011 01:03 AM

A great job on a great bench. When you have only a Home Depot handy, (and a budget to match) you can still do some great things.

View lashing's profile


109 posts in 2790 days

#10 posted 07-31-2011 02:02 AM

After some time I find the bench sturdy as a rock. However its love/hate with the soft spruce top. Soft so yes it will not dent what I work on but dents itself so easy. Also the home depot spruce will need to be levelled again already. Buying from a lumberyard instead would solve that I suppose as it would be drier tha the depot stock. I proved a point to myself anyway. All in all its a cheap way to build a sturdy bench. Unlike using doors etc for a top it can be flattened periodically. This aspect it something I see hobbiest miss all the time. For me it has to be flat. When the top wears out I’ll put oak or maple in its place.

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