Picture of Portable Timber Workbench
I wanted a robust portable workbench that was quick to assemble and dis-assemble, and that I could easily fit in the car. It needed to be light enough for one person to handle, but sturdy enough to carry a vice and a drill press. The challenge was to use hinges for fold-up legs but to make the bench stable at the same time. This was achieved with bolt-on diagonal braces, which attach & detach quickly with engineers bolts and wing nuts. The bench top is 1200mm x 650mm, height is 735mm (to match another table I use).  The design is for indoor use (the fixings and boron treated framing timber would have a limited life if left out in the weather)
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
A half sheet of 18mm plywood (1200 x 1200 x 18mm). 10m total length of 75 x 50 gauged (about 65 x 45mm) boron treated timber. The boron treatment makes it pink. Packet of 10g x100mm self-drilling screws, Jar of 8g x 45mm self-drilling screws, 8 x 100mm x 8mm engineers bolts and wing-nuts. 4 Hinges (about 65mm wide). 8g x38mm wood screws for fixing the hinges.

Step 2: Cut the bench top & shelf

Picture of Cut the bench top & shelf
I cut the plywood into a 650 wide 550 wide pieces (1200 long). The smaller piece is the shelf. I used the 75 x 50 timber to support the plywood off the floor. I clamped a ply offcut from another project as a straight edge 'fence' / guide for the circular saw.

Step 3: Cut the top frame

Picture of Cut the top frame
The bench top overhangs the frame by 50mm all around, so the frame will be 1100 x 550mm. I deliberately didn't mitre the corners because some of the hinge screws would have been to close to the mitre. Cut two pieces of 75x50 1100 long  & two pieces about 420mm long (so that the width will be 550mm).

Step 4: Assemble the top frame

Picture of Assemble the top frame
Pre-drill the 1100mm timbers for two 100mm self-drilling screws. Use the square to set the corners square. Screw the frame together.
Mr_Liss11 months ago

Looks great! I'm going to make one just like it.

Tinkerer42 (author) 2 years ago
The shelf is currently too wide to fit inside the legs, so is carried separately.. You might narrow up the sides of the shelf so it could slide under the folded legs. You could perhaps also cut the shelf in half lengthways and re-join together with a pair of hinges, allowing it to fold in half and fit under the folded legs. You could get slightly more room underneath by moving the four braces to the outside of the frame. Using the plywood offcut gives you a much stronger (and thicker and heavier) shelf than you likely need. You could alternatively use a thinner ply. When assembled a narrower shelf won't be self-contained within the 4 legs, so you'd want to improvise something to prevent the shelf from wandering off its supports.

It'd be great to see your version of the design.
joelhunn2 years ago
Brilliant! Does the shelf somehow fit inside the legs when folded? Or is it carried separately. Quite a nice design, I've been struggling with the same concept for a few months now. Thanks for posting!