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Discussion Starter #1
I'm building a pretty simple workbench for a stable surface to work on. Replacing my pallet on sawhorses setup.
Legs will be either two 2x4s put together or 4x4s (4x4s are more expensive and I find it's harder to find straight ones). 2x4s for the rails (?) at the top and part way down. Couple of layers of extra plywood I have, MDF layer, and some hard board for the top. About 6' x 3'.
Originally I was just going to screw the rails into the legs but then I thought maybe I should notch the top of the legs. Here's my question (finally):
Would I just notch the legs for one set of rails, such as the longer ones? I figure I can't really notch the tops for both rails that meet at a leg or I won't really be left with any leg at the top.
Hope this makes sense. I couldn't figure out the correct Google to get what I was talking about. Obviously this is basic stuff and I'm not doing any kind of tenons or anything.
Thanks!


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If you're sistering two 2x4s you can make a half lap joint by cutting one of them to full height, then the other to the height of the bottom of your rail, and then filling in whatever is left.
 

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In the years I've done wood working I've found notching to be of no value because as wood changes dimensions what looked good at notching time became useless later.

Being I'll never park my truck on my bench I would substitute good straight 1X4s for the legs on this plan with a little X bracing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the help. I wasn't worried too much about how the notches will look just wanted to make them nice and sturdy

If I did notch the top, should I do it for both rails? (Long ones on sides, short ones on ends). Something like this where the black is the rails and the gray the legs. Only half of one leg would be full height (the X) this way:


Make sense? Am I over thinking this (as usual...)?


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I'd use the 1x4s (as mentioned) with a triangle backer for each corner. You really, really want a stable platform so it pays to minimize racking.

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In the years I've done wood working I've found notching to be of no value because as wood changes dimensions what looked good at notching time became useless later.

Being I'll never park my truck on my bench I would substitute good straight 1X4s for the legs on this plan with a little X bracing.
It all depends on what he wants to use a bench for. If you have to use it for general word working this bank would probably be just fine but if you must use it for some heavy duty metalworking stuff or even working on lawnmowers etc. that design probably isn't going to be strong enough.
 

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If you put cleats under the shelf frames, bracket style legs will work fine. The cleats don't have to be load bearing since 2 1x bracket can carry more weight than you'd need. I built bsmt storage moving shelfs with 1x4 furring strips with lap joints and screws. 6' span and about 20" wide, 5' tall with 4 shelfs. The wood and the joints can take more than 300 lbs total and I'm sure it can take much more. Don't use more than 3 screws per joint and predrill and countersink. I didn't use any glue. Stop the screw and hand tighten if needed. The ends must not split.
1x wood may not give you the solid feel, however. As you work and move it, it may move a little. I like it though, since it feels like it's moving with me. I didn't use any bracing on the side corners - these take away that much space. Much of the racking that can happen is blocked by the middle frame.
 
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