Collapsible workbench - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-13-2013, 01:55 PM Thread Starter
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Collapsible workbench

Hey all,

I'm thinking of making a workbench in my garage. I'm only a hobbyist (and a beginner at that) so it'll only be used occassionally; however, given the room in the garage, I'd like to make it collapsible. I know there's a lot of different designs out there that I could use as a reference, but my question is about the the material used for the top of the workbench.

I acquired an old executive desk from my job and have since taken the desk apart and now have the flat desk surface. It's 3' x 6' and it's extremely heavy (I may cut it down slightly). It appears to be particle board (of course with a veneer on the surface). I was planning to use 3 door hinges screwed into the desk surface and then of course screw the other end of the hinges into a horizontal piece of wood (I'm not sure if a single 2x4 is sturdy enough or if I need a couple of 2x4's glued/screwed together). So, when the work bench needs to fold, the surface will hang from the hinges. My question is, is the particle board strong enough to hold the screws while it's hanging from the hinges?


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post #2 of 5 Old 02-13-2013, 02:35 PM
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I would lean to say no, especially if your workbench is going to take any abuse (pounding, shaking, etc). I would be inclined, if you want to use that top, to glue a hardwood strip on the edge that you want to fasten the hinges to, and then screw into that hardwood edge. They will hold the screws alot better.


I used to be fairly indecisive, but now....... I'm not so sure.
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post #3 of 5 Old 02-13-2013, 02:40 PM
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If it has to fold I would make it fold up into the wall instead off down. That way you can have a more sold support along the wall when the top is unfolded. I would run a 2x4 across the bottom off the top under it when folded down and make sure the 2x4 is screwed into each stud that it hits.
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post #4 of 5 Old 02-13-2013, 02:48 PM
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I'm sure I'll get laughed at but here's my "collapsable" work bench. It's two saw horses made of 2x4s. On top of that I place a 2 foot x 6 foot box made out of 2x4s on end screwed together. I place that box on my two saw horses and shim it level. Then I dropped a 3 foot x 8 foot (because it's what I had) piece of MDF on it and screwed it down with couple of sheet rock screws counter sunk into the top.

I once built a fancy workbench at an old house and had to leave it behind because it was too heavy/big to move. I love my current bench. I realize it's not heavy or sturdy enough for a lot of hand tool work. But it's big, great for assembly, and I can remove the top and lean it against a wall and use the other components for other things. Moral to my story... Keep it simple. If I can make that work, anything will work.
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post #5 of 5 Old 02-13-2013, 08:32 PM
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+1 on the thought that the desk top itself will not hold screws in the long run and +1 for the workbench folding up instead of down. By folding up you could have a permanent support (ledger board) at the back to rely on to hold the entire workbench instead of just hinges alone.

Alternatively, you could build something like this: Moravian Workbench. I have two benches -- a Roubo bench, a built in tubafore bench, but that does not stop me from wanting a third one like the Moravian. I guess I have workbench lust in my heart ....


If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
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