Benchtop Tool Stand
Build a benchtop tool stand from common tools and materials.
Benchtop tools came into their own with Ryobi’s AP10 planer about 15 years ago. Today, most woodworking tool manufacturers make one or more benchtop planer models, tools that make any kind of woodworking a lot easier for most people. As the planers gained popularity, small jointers came along. Short jointers in 6-inch widths are very handy, take up only a little space, and come without any sort of stand, as do the planers. Benchtop drill presses are similar in intent and utility, again, without any kind of stand designed for it. Some small bandsaws come without good stands, too.
Swinging any of these tools onto a real benchtop is easy enough once, though some of the newer planers now weigh about 100 pounds, making repetition both awkward and difficult. Using them at that height may not be. Planers and jointers are easier to work with when their work surface is inches lower than the resulting height on your average benchtop.
The stand built here is sized for a benchtop planer, specifically the DeWalt mounted on it, as shown above. It also works well for a benchtop drill press or jointer. It can easily be raised or lowered during building, simply by cutting legs to different lengths. Adding a shelf, if one is desired, is easy.
Steel stands are also available. They’re expensive and hard to assemble, though. Building your own stand with 2-by-6s, 2-by-4s and plywood, plus an occasional bit of 1-by-4, is simple and isn’t half the cost of steel stands. This not-so-pretty stand is designed to be exceptionally sturdy, but also easy to make with tools that most people have on hand, or can readily borrow. The Milwaukee slide compound miter saw shown in this article isn’t essential, but is a real time saver and accuracy provider.
If you already have a shop full of tools, the job is even easier.
Tools and Materials
I started building my workstation by having Lowe’s cut the 2-by-6s to 4-foot lengths, allowing me to carry all parts home in my car. The 2-by-2-foot top is sanded 3/4-inch plywood, right off the shelf. If a bottom shelf is desired, pick up a 2-by-2-foot piece of 1/4-inch sanded plywood. Cut that to fit inside the legs.
The 1-by-4 braces are whitewood. Buy 6- or 8-foot pieces. Use the 6-foot if carrying the wood in a car, 8-foot with a pickup. The top brace is 22 inches long. The bottom is 19 inches long. The 2-by-4 leg braces on the bottom are fastened inside the legs to support a shelf if desired, while the top braces are outside the legs to add support for the top.
Tool requirements include a miter saw, a square, a drill, two drill bits, a couple of driver bits for screws, and a wrench to tighten hex bolts used for assembly. Toss in an impact driver to ease running screws in at the later stages. The stand is designed to be constructed from nominal lumber sizes, so the only cutting needed is to final lengths and angles. Standard 3-1/2-by-5/16-inch hex-head bolts are used, with nuts and washers right out of the bins.
Carefully select the lumber. Construction lumber is rough when good, awful when poor.
Step one, after buying wood and fasteners, is to square one end on each 2-by-6 to have a starting point. If you prefer, ends can first be cut to 10 degrees, the angle that stabilizes the legs front to rear when the stand is in use. The slight leg splay does a great job of preventing tip-over, even when fairly long boards are planed. Make sure to cut both angles without flipping the board. The ends look like / /.