I would like to build a workbench for my garage. Having minimal experience, I would like to try this: https://www.familyhandyman.com/workshop/workbench/how-to-build-a-workbench-super-simple-50-bench/view-all

The project calls for using 0.5in 4x8ft plywood. I know nothing about lumber and its properties. I see some options in Home Depot:

  1. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Pine-Plywood-Common-23-32-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-Actual-0-688-in-x-48-in-x-96-in-799397/202677224

  2. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Sande-Plywood-Common-1-2-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-Actual-0-472-in-x-48-in-x-96-in-454532/100017950

  3. http://www.homedepot.com/p/PureBond-3-4-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-Maple-Plywood-263012/100548908

  4. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Columbia-Forest-Products-3-4-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-PureBond-Red-Oak-Plywood-FSC-Certified-332733/202887464

Can you suggest which one of these would be ideal for this? I don't plan to do anything special (no woodworking, metal work, etc). Just small house projects and/or general purpose usage. I would like to stain the workbench later on. I live in the Northern California region so temperatures range from 40-110F. Thanks.

  • If you're going to be nailing, 0.5" is a bit thin and bouncy. You can minimize that with plenty of 2X6" cross members, but easier to start with 3/4" – Wayfaring Stranger Jun 21 '17 at 20:01
  • Thanks. Yes, I was wondering if 0.5'' will be thin. I will go with 3/4'' – user4979733 Jun 21 '17 at 20:06

Option 1 or 2. The plans themselves call for 1/2" plywood, and it's a general purpose workbench with good supports underneath, so 3/4" is overkill. Option 2 is a bit nicer of those 2, but again, it's a workbench, so you don't need super fancy. If you do plan on staining, pine does not generally take stain very well, so in that case you'd want option 2.

A fifth option, if you have any kind of hardwood dealer near you (search google for "hardwood" and ignore any flooring stores), is to get 1/2" Baltic birch plywood. This is the staple for shop furniture in many shops, given its nice look and low price tag; it also takes stain and other finishes nicely. It may cost more than the pine ply you linked (but may not!), but should cost less than the other 1/2" ply you linked.


You may think about adding a sheet of galvanized metal to the top as I have on mine. You can pick it up at any roofing supply. No worries about spilled glue, paint, stain, solder, and can even cut on it.☺


2 or 3. 1 is pretty poor stuff, 4 is unnecessarily fancy. 2 is probably sufficient for the use, but 3 is quite a bit nicer without too much additional cost.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.