How to Make a Shop Work Bench from Stock Cabinets

What You'll Need
Stock kitchen cabinet (yourchoice of wood)
Additional wood for a sturdy and durableworkbench top
Sturey Shelving
Wood glue
Caster wheels
Sand paper in grits from 100 to 220

How to make a shop work bench from stock cabinets is a novel idea that will not only save lots of money, it will also reduce construction time and necessary materials. Having a solid, hardwood face frame that has been constructed for added strength will provide a great head start, since you are already beginning with a fully assembled cabinet. All that is necessary is adding customized features and a durable finish.

Step 1 - Preparation

Purchase a stock kitchen cabinet 60 inches long, by 24 inches wide, by 34 inches high, from any home improvement outlet. The cost should be approximately $200.00. 

Step 2 - Bench Top

Most kitchen cabinets will not arrive with a counter top. Several options are available for making a work bench top from stock cabinets. Purchasing a ready-made work bench top made from hardwoods such as maple is an expensive option. An alternative option is to build your own work bench top from strips of maple, or another hardwood. This is done by gluing 1 inch by 1 inch strips of hardwood together, forming a durable, solid bench top, and gluing or fastening it to the top of the kitchen cabinet. 

Step 3 - Shelving

Most kitchen cabinets will come with a combination of doors and drawers. These will also have adequate hardware, hinges and knobs, but will not include shelving. In order to include shelving that will not sag under loads of heavier hand tools and small machinery, it will be necessary to install a vertical bracket behind the doors of the cabinet. This will accomodate shorter, stronger shelves. 

Step 4 - Wood Options

Consider installing shelving consisting of hardwoods. Cherry Oak and Walnut woods are excellent choices for shelves with lengths of up to 36 inches. Another, less expensive option would be to consider shelving made from Douglas fir and Pine. None of these shelf options will sag at shelf lengths of 34 inches or less and will work well with kitchen cabinets. 

Step 5 - Wood Finishes

Although it is feasible to make a shop work bench from stock cabinets because most cabinets come with various, usable doors and drawers, most stock cabinets do not come with durable finishes. In fact, many come unfinished. This situation can easily be rectified through the use of sandpaper, stains and durable finishes such as epoxies or varnishes.

Depending on the tasks for which the work bench will be required, consider finishing it yourself. If it is required for light hobbies such as jewelry boxes, varnish may be all that is required. However, if the work bench is required for heavy wood working, an epoxy finish may be required. 

The idea of making a shop work bench from stock cabinets facilitates a quick, easy and inexpensive alternative to designing and building a work bench from scratch. Professional in appearance, it also adds credibility to woodworkers seeking to establish themselves as professionals in their trade. It should be considered a valid shop option.