One thing that I believe every man should have is a good solid work bench. Whether you keep it in a garage, a shed or a storage closet, it is nice to have a sturdy wood shelf that you can pull out and use to craft all of your DIY projects, whether it be building a porch or painting a vase.
But let’s be real, this is a homebrewing blog, and what’s better than a good workbench that doubles as a brew stand (and WAY cheaper than most 3-tier gravity stands)!?
Here is the sketch of the bench/brewstand that I built. I took all of the measurements to make sure everything would fit, went to Lowes and picked up some lumber (about $20 total), a hand saw ($12) and some casters so that I can roll it around ($6 each). I was careful to buy sturdy, yet inexpensive materials because I want this bench to last, but also not break the bank. I went with regular untreated lumber since this won’t be in the elements and will save some precious cash. Plus, you can always stain it later if you need to.
I am by no means a skilled carpenter, so I was very careful in my measurements and planning before I began this project (note all of the math and measurements on the scrap paper). In fact, I found two great tutorials on how to build a workbench that gave me some good inspiration. I combined elements from the one at Lowes.com and Hammer Zone to create my bench. Not to mention another cool DIY workbench/brew stand build I saw on homebrewtalk.com.
The legs and sides are all made out of untreated 2x4s, which you can get for about $2.50 for each 8-foot board. The top is 7/16″ thick OSB. This is plenty thick to hold a good amount of weight (remember, I’ll be brewing 10 gallons of beer inside a couple of stainless steel keg/keggles, so it needs to be sturdy. I got a 4’x8′ sheet for a little over $5, and it was more than enough for the top and an extra shelf. If you need something SUPER strong, you can get the 1/2″-thickness for about $7.
I first cut all of my 2x4s and the OSB to size, being careful to make sure that they were all equal lengths.
Then I constructed one of the long sides by laying down the two legs and lining up the top rail and the rail for the shelf on top. Be sure to keep everything squared up, then pre-drill your holes and use 3″ deck screws to attach everything.
I then repeated this process to create the other long side. Once I had those two sides built and square, I laid it all out upside-down on top of the piece of OCB that would be the top of the work bench. This allowed me to line everything up and make sure that it would all fit and be square.
With it sitting like this, I connected the two shorter sides and the other two rails for the bottom shelf. Then I sat it right-side-up and screwed in the top and the bottom shelf (after cutting out notches for each of the four legs).
I then had to make sure that it was level and sat sturdy. It was a little wobbly, so I had to take a little off of the bottom of a couple of the legs to make sure it sat firmly on the ground.
Once it was standing firmly with the top and shelf in place, I attached the casters. I used two that have breaks, so that I can lock it in place while in use. I purchased the 3″ casters that each have a weight limit of 110 lbs., which is again plenty for what I will be using this for.
A 3-Tier Gravity Brew Stand
And with that, I now have a rolling work bench that doubles as a cart for my brewing. I originally used the bench as the middle tier of a 3-tier gravity brewing stand. This allowed me to just fill the first vessel with water, and then use gravity to transfer the hot water from the first pot, into the mash tun (cooler) and finally into the boil kettle, all without having to lift a heavy keg full of hot liquid. Later, I ended up mounting a pump on the bottom shelf and adding an electric element in the HLT to create a 2-tier system. For more on that, see my HERMS posts.