A Garage Folding Workbench.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mike rings me up:  "Hey!  Whatcha workin' on?"  Because 9.999 times out of 10 I am indeed working on three things at once.

B:  Oh uh, well uh, stuff.

M:  Oh yeah?  Like what?

B:  I uh, um, a uh, fold up workbench for the garage?  (See, sometimes I like to surprise him and then other times, yeah, just not tell him what I'm working on because I get the following response:)

M:  What?!  Why?!  (grumble) (the inferred sound of an eye roll and a head shaking)

It's not enough that I have my workbench in the basement, right?  That my workshop has spread itself like kudzu?  Now I gotta invade the garage too?!


That's how it goes.  What can I say?

Now, see, here's the thing.  I keep finding myself working on things in the garage for one reason or another, oddly.

The area where we have some cabinets, it's a dumping ground and we only have a random floppy lame piece of panel as a "counter" there.  Yeah, I could slap on a vastly better solution.  And I should, maybe go all the way across over the mini fridge.

But it's a dumping ground and I'm not real into clearing it off every time I want to do something.  Just every few months like I do.  Sigh.  (I'm not keen on dumping grounds.)

Wah wah, right?

So hey, what's ten bucks to make a folding workbench?  Eh, not much so hey, why not?  Plus ya know, I've got all this 2x4 that I've extracted out of our house from here and here, gotta use it.  And you can never have too many work surfaces.


Sure.  Heh.

No but really, the restaurant/bar that I've been creating stuff for has asked for charcuterie boards which possibly equates to fancy schmancy wood.

I asked my cool woodworking pal Scott about working with walnut as he has some black walnut and that stuff to cut and mill, you need loads of gear that I do not have to work it safely.  Cutting, milling, sanding -- that sawdust is bad for living beings, well, as is all sawdust, but some woods are worse.

He said I'd need to do this and that and this and that so I said eh forget it.  Then he said you have a garage right?  With power, right?  Oh.  Duh.  Yup, I felt a dimwit.

So really this workbench is all about making it easier to work with something like walnut.  Heh!  Whatever I gotta tell myself!

Eons ago I had pinned a folding workbench thinking I'd build that for my real one but ended up not.  Unable to locate said pin, I re-researched and found thisthis, and this which I jumbled and smashed together in my goofy head, squirting out the one I built.

quick sketch of workbench plan
Quickie lil' general sketch of the idea.
Ok, here's my original supply list (I say original as it evolved.)
pile of hardware supplies
Pile o' supplies.  Didn't take much, that's for sure.
Yessiree, I spent a hair under ten bucks sans tax for all the stuff in the photo above.

All righty.

First, I cut the 2x4 two-foot sides.  My original plan was to bolt the legs like the cornhole project so I needed the long screws to not interfere with any hole drilling, hence the sides being long.

Here's an important tip:  if you are reusing any kind of lumber/material, check every inch for nails, bolts, screws, any metal objects first before cutting.  You do not want to hurt yourself nor destroy your tools.

building folding workbench tabletop
Framing pieces all laid out nice and such.
Next, cut the front 2x4 piece.  Assemble the frame per the usual three:  pilot hole, glue, screw.  I used regular ol' wood glue here and 2 1/2" drywall screws.

screwing things together
Assemblin' that there frame.
Ok.  Flip it all around, run a bead of glue (regular wood glue again) along the frame edges, attach the plywood top with 1 1/4" drywall screws.  Sure, probably the wrong screws for semi-outdoor use but eh, whatev's, this ain't no chichi perma-bench.

attaching plywood for folding workbench tabletop
And puttin' the lid on it.

Next I tried to do the legs like the cornhole project but failed miserably.  My jigsaw is out on loan, I tried to make it work otherwise, no go.  But yes, one can do the curved top 2x4 leg and have it swing off the carriage bolts.

forming the tops of the legs
Even my spiffy new sander is frowning.
I however changed gears as I'm a make-it-work, make-it-happen-now kind a' gal.  Dug up some itty bitty hinges and opted to go that route.

attaching wimpy hinge to folding leg
Wimpy wimpy wimpy.
These are clearly wussy so here I marked where the hinges went on the 2x leg, pilot drilled teeny holes, dabbed on some Gorilla glue then sunk in whatever screws I could find that were not the ones that came with the hinges as those were infinitely too feeble.

Lined up the leg in the frame corner, made a pilot hole divot on the plywood, dabbed Gorilla glue, scrounged some half inch-ish screws and dropped those in.  I ended up with tips peeking through the plywood so I'll need to grind those down.  Oops.


So yeah, now the legs hinge instead.  Rendered the bolts, nuts, washers all useless, cash misspent.  Boo.

But wait, not really!  I drilled holes through the frame, through the legs and will bolt them open so the legs don't go flying out from underneath the table, spewing materials everywhere.  Ah!  See?

Ok.  To keep the legs aligned and ya know and such, I grabbed a piece of 1x4, trimmed it down, measured up some random distance of 9 1/2", pilot, glue (Gorilla this time), screw.  Bingo!

folding leg pieces for folding work table
Ah, 1x, keepin' it aligned, alllll right.
Double check measure the distance between the legs and cut one final piece of 2x4 to fit there as a ledger, 3'-6".

Next up, move the operation to the garage.

My brain was waning so I figured I'd hammer the final assembly details out there on the fly.  Again, I pick a hot sticky humid day to do all this in an oven, yay.  Yick.  Magically, atypically, the heat turned my brain back on which was great.

First I had to move the cornhole boards to the other side of the garage, no big whoop.  See, I planned the table for Mike's side of the garage as he's not home when I work on stuff.  Hence his area is car-free, wiiiiiiide open.

I measured up 35", marked, then using my level drew lines across three studs.

measuring for ledger in garage
My level, seeing some action in the garage.
Pilot drill through the ledger into the stud edge, attach with my last remaining 2 1/2" screws.  Menards run, yay!

ledger attached to wall
Hey, it's a ledger!
Next I plopped the folding table onto my attached ledger.  Whoa, and I was proud of myself, heh!  Yay!  Ok, not done yet, slow down, too soon to get excited.

After flipping the hinges around to figure the best way...

The hinges, ahem, well, I kinda inadvertently ruined the uh door I removed from the hall bedroom so uh, that won't ever go back up.  Not that I intended it to but I thought I'd maybe save it for the next homeowner, in case, ya know.

accidental cuts
Uhhhhhhh, oops.  Sliced right into it.  Doh.
Kinda less than believable that I was saving it, sure, as I have been using the door as a work surface since removing it.  Shrug.

But, so much for that.  As such, I pillaged the hinges off it.

Right, so, after flipping the hinges around a few ways I decided the best route to attach everything to everything was hinges behind the ledger, flop the other half on top of the table.  Which meant removing the ledger.  Hm, mmk.  Well, no worries, it's only three screws.

First though I made sure the table was in the correct spot, leaving a 1 1/2" gap on either side underneath for the legs to fold up into.  Next I marked the hinge location on the ledger with a stubby pencil out of my grandfather's massive pencil assortment.  Take everything down, attach hinges.

attaching door hinges
Hinges attached.
Put ledger back up.

Prop up table, attach other hinge flap to the top with some itty 1/2" machine screws and Gorilla glue for reassurance......moment of truth......Flip the table up and ta-da!  It worked!!  Yessssssssss.  Fist pump and butt wiggle dance.

attaching hinges to tabletop
Other hinge half getting attached on top, yep.
To keep the table up, I foraged a hook and eye.  I do not want this table releasing onto Mike's car or yikes, yeah, ooooh bad.  So I'll keep an eye on it, make sure it does what it's supposed to do.  Maybe I'll install a back up catch of some sort so I can sleep at night.

hook and eye to hold top up
A wee hook and eye but it's holding.
And here it is!  Yay!

finished folding workbench in garage
A folding workbench in the garage!

garage folding work table down
Yay 2!
Not to be a twit, but I'm so proud of myself!  I love when a project comes together.

garage folding work bench up
All folded up!
DIY folding workbench table in garage up and stored
A little closer view folded up!
Anyway, so it's not hard to do, it's cheap, and in a coupla' hours you have a folding workbench!  This thing could be useful in a zillion ways -- a kitchen, a grill station, a potting station, a craft table, a dining area, oh laundry hmmm...I mean, the list goes on and on and on.

plywood and 2x4 garage folding workbench work table DIY
All folded up again!  A major plus here is that its profile is a mere 4.75" total since the legs fold right into it.  Sweet!  Make it 4" by lowering the cross piece and attaching it behind or within the legs!  Poof, mind blown!
I know Mike is totally gonna love it, and use it.  I just know it, despite his earlier cynicism.  I'll get a call one day when I'm not home, "hey babe, thanks, this table is awesome."

Now onto charcuterie boards....

And back to revamping my basement workbench here!

*The carriage bolts, wing nuts, all washers, wood glue, and Gorilla glue are all Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. That's awesome! Wish I had space in my garage, you should see it . . . Hopefully this fall I can clean it up,when it is 100°+, there is no motivation to even be outside. Fantastic instructions, anyone with basic skills can certainly follow along to make this. Great job!

    1. Thank you so much! I hope you're able to find some space and make this happen for you. Yeah, I totally get the too-hot-to-work thing! So glad the instructions were clear and easy to follow! Thank you!

  2. The table looked good by itself but the fact that it can be folded up is fantastic! 👏👏

    1. Oh fabulous, thank you so much! I really appreciate that!

  3. Ooohhh!! I NEED one of these! Now all I have to do is hire some kids to clear out the garage of someone who saves everything lol. 😎

    1. Fantastic! I hope you can get some kids on it ASAP! Thanks so much!


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