Instructables

Wall-Mounted Folding Workbench

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Picture of Wall-Mounted Folding Workbench
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This Instructable is for us amateur woodworkers out there without the luxury of a spacious workshop. I have a small 2-car garage that has no extra space on the sides when the vehicles are inside. Instead of building all my projects on the kitchen table, I decided to put my wall space to use and build this folding workbench!
 
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Step 1: Step 1 - Tools & Materials

Picture of Step 1 - Tools & Materials
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Tools:
Drill with phillips head & various size drill bits for pre-drilling holes
Circular Saw
Tape measure
pencil
Sander
Stud Finder
Clamps (not shown)
Level (not shown)
Saw Horses or some kind of temporary work surface

Materials:
Pegboard, 2'x4', 2 EA
Particle Board (or any other surface you want for your worbench), 1 4'x8' sheet, cut*
1x3x8' cedar, 3 EA, cut*
1x4x12' pine, 1 EA, cut*
2x4x8' pine stud, 3 EA, cut*
3" core butcher paper roll, 3 EA
(we print a lot of large format drawings at work, so I used the cores from empty paper rolls. You could easily replace this with 2x4's or metal fence posts if you like)

Hardware:
7 Door Hinges (3")
2 2" Hooks
about 4-6" small chain
50ct 3" Wood Screws
100ct 1-1/2" Wood Screws
100ct 1" Wood Screws
50ct 1/2" Wood Screws
You won't use every single screw, but those are the standard size packs that are commonly available.

*Cuts
If you are capable of producing reliable straight cuts, go for it. You are ultimately way better than Homer at deciding how to cut your own lumber. I was not capable, so I had them do it. Most places say they charge for cuts, but most of the time if you are nice, courteous, and not in a huge hurry, they will not charge you.

Particle Board: ripped @ 23"1x3x8'
cedar: 4 @ 44-1/4", 3 @ 23"
1x4x12' pine: 6 @ 23" (really just 6 equal cuts)
2x4x8' pine studs: 2 @ 20", leave the other 2 studs full length
If you chose to make your legs out of 2x4, wait to cut them to length until you have mounted everything on the wall. This will save a lot of hassle. Get at least 2 extra studs if you choose to go this route.

Step 2: Step 2 - Worktop

Picture of Step 2 - Worktop
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First, I set up the worktop. Because it folds, both sides will be visible & functional. The underside will show when the workbench is folded closed, so that is where we will add the 1x3 cedar as trim. This also helps the stability of the particle board, but not very much.

I arranged the trim around the outside of the particle board with 3 vertical pieces (23") and 2 horizontal pieces at the top and 2 at the bottom (each piece 44-1/4").

Tip: Pre-drill all of your screw holes! This will keep the wood from splitting, and it will make it easier to start each screw. This may seem like a waste of time, but believe me, IT IS WORTH THE EXTRA 10 SECONDS!!!

Next, I flipped the worktop over and added one of the 2x4's to the edge that will attach to the wall. I secured the stud with several 3" screws from the trim-side of the worktop into the stud, and six 2x2 corner braces on the workbench side using 1/2" screws. If it makes you feel better, you can use more, but I think this should hold up just fine. This shores up the particle board much more.

Step 3: Step 3 - Mount the Pegboard

Picture of Step 3 - Mount the Pegboard
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Next, I used the stud finder and marked the studs on the wall, as well as my desired workbench height. I secured the 1x4 pine slats to the wall centered over each stud. This gives the separation needed between the wall and the pegboard for pegs to properly mount. I aligned the bottom of the slats about 4-5" above the top of my desired workbench height. The bottom of the slats is VERY IMPORTANT! It doesn't really matter if the tops of your slats are a little uneven because it is the bottoms that will be attaching to the workbench assembly.

Next, I aligned and secured the pegboard to the wall slats. You might need someone to help hold everything up so you can concentrate on screwing into the slats. Again, don't worry about the slats sticking up past the pegboard. Those will be covered up later with a frame. If you are still worried, cut them shorter than 23".

Step 4: Step 4 - Attach the Workbench

Picture of Step 4 - Attach the Workbench
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Next I aligned the worktop with the pegboard. I balanced the worktop on two sawhorses that I shimmed with extra wood so that they were the proper height. I centered the hinges with respect to the wall slats supporting the pegboard and marked their location on the 2x4 backboard on the worktop. This ensures that the weight of the worktop will be supported by each stud through the hinge. Secure the hinges to the 2x4 on the worktop first, NOT the pegboard. Once the hinges were on the worktop, I re-aligned and attached it to the wall. I made sure the hinges folded well and there weren't any issues or catches.

Note: I mis-aligned one of my hinges, so I removed it. It would have either cracked the backboard or bent the hinge, so I just decided to remove it altogether. The remaining hinges are more than enough to support the weight of the workbench.

The cores that I used for my legs come with some HDPE plastic plugs that go into the end, so I screwed three of these into the bottom face of the worktop at the ends and middle for a secure leg location. I sized each leg so that the bench sits level, and trimmed them to the proper height.

Step 5: Step 5 - Frame & Paint

Picture of Step 5 - Frame & Paint
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Next, I aligned the remaining 2x4's in a frame around the top and sides. Screw a few more 2x2 angles into the pegboard at the support slats to hold the frame in place. It's important to make sure the bench doesn't contact the sides when it folds up. You might have to angle or sand the edges a bit to allow for the rotation. I just cut them short and dealt with the gaps, but you can measure out the precise length needed and trim accordingly. I also noticed that the sides didn't want to stay plumb, so I glued a couple 1x3 spacer pieces behind them to rest against the wall. (Don't glue them to the wall!)

Next, I screwed a couple of hooks with some chain at the center to lock the bench in the upright position. You can get as fancy as you like here, but hooks & chain works just fine for me.

When the bench is not in use, I store the legs on top of the frame and keep them in place with some small picture hanging nails sticking 1/2" out.

Lastly, paint the pegboard with chalkboard paint and mark the location of each tool so that you know where each one goes. The chalkboard paint isn't necessary; you can just mark the location of your tools using a marker on the white pegboard. We just like chalkboard paint and had plenty left over from other recent projects.

Step 6: Step 6 - Complete!

Picture of Step 6 - Complete!
There you have it!

There are a few additional options for finishes that might be a good idea:

  • If you decide to use particle board like I did, you can cover it up with some cheap vinyl flooring. This will keep the normal wear and tear from shredding your workbench surface.
  • You can also use 2x4's or metal fence posts as your legs if you need something sturdier.
  • For the trim-side, you can paint the entire surface, just the trim, or cover it with photos. It's up to you to make it look like you want.
Thanks for reading my Instructable! Good luck everybody!
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Chris_Schroeder made it!23 hours ago

Wicked Instructable! Was looking through a bunch of designs to help organize our garage a little better and came across your build. Worked out perfectly and looks great too when its put away. Thanks for the guide!

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weezyfiggs made it!24 days ago

Thanks for the great idea. Replacing the old, crappy workbench that came with my house when I bought it was just my second woodworking project ever, and thanks to you, it turned out great.

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awesome

nice idea, thank you for sharing it!
MikeO5 months ago

I did something similar a few years ago. Anyone else who makes this, might want to think about using self-closing hinges which are spring loaded. My old bench was pretty heavy and they made it much easier to lift up to lock in place. Also, my legs were hinged off the wall so they swung out and the bench sat on them.

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Jgsanders1 MikeO5 months ago

Do you have the instructions for your workbench??

MikeO Jgsanders15 months ago

Sorry, but no instructions. The top is framed from 2x6's with 2x6's laid flat around the inside top then a sheet of plywood applied on top of that. The legs are just 2x4's with some metal feet that can slide across the floor. Everything is held together with pocket screws.

brianromeo5 months ago

This looks awesome! One question...is it a pain in the neck having to drop the bench to get at the tools that are hiding inside? I'm planning a garage overhaul this spring and this idea looks like a great way to save some space!

alcurb6 months ago
Tommy, I imagined the folding legs too. The legs could be held in folded with weak magnets when bench is stowed, then when the bench is opened, gravity overtakes the magnetic hold and the legs drop down on their own.
Tex Arcana alcurb6 months ago
Woah. I never considered this! And "weak" isn't a real consideration, too weak is a liability.

Fantastic idea, tho! Thanks!
alcurb Tex Arcana6 months ago

By "weak" I meant...well...you can look at it a different way; that the magnets are strong enough to hold the legs in place, but no so strong that it will impede the legs from dropping down when the table is lowered to a 90-degree angle from the wall. (In case I wasn't clear enough, the legs are hinged to the bottom of the table.)

Another way to do this, sans the magnets, is to install a trigger and latching mechanism that releases the legs when you are ready (e.g., when you have your feet out of the way).

Once the legs are deployed, one has to consider a design to not allow the table leg to slip when you accidentally hit it with your knee or foot, like rubber tips for the table legs.

emilkaram6 months ago
Great idea

I like everything except how you attached the bench to the back 2x4 with L-brackets. This is a very weak connection method. I would have used long screws through the bottom of the bench up into the 2x4, maybe every 16" or so. 3-1/2" deck screws with a self tapping head would work well here. And then you wouldn't have the brackets in the way on top.

WorkBoots09 (author)  NitroRustlerDriver6 months ago

I didn't make it clear enough in the how-to, but yes I used 3" nails from the trim-side of the workbench into the 2x4 as the primary connection. The angle brackets are for a little added stability.

Ah, I missed that.

eychung18886 months ago

Wonderful space savers idea. Thank you for the sharing the idea.

wdsims636 months ago

Nice workbench. I like the simplicity of it. However, it seems like it is a little small. Something closer to 30" would be closer to a standard work bench depth, but I'm guessing you just wanted everything to be easy multiples of 2' so that cutting was simpler. (Is that the reasoning?)

You didn't show any pictures, but I assume you put the spacers behind the 2x4's so that they rested against the wall. It might even be a good idea to put some kind of shelf for the back of the work top to rest on when it is opened up, those hinges aren't supporting weight the way they were intended to (but as long as you aren't rebuilding engine blocks, you probably won't have any trouble. ;)

Any reason why you chose particle board over MDF? That would be a much more durable surface and also be smoother. Of course, 3/4" plywood (or even 5/8") would have been a better choice from a durability and stability standpoint.

Your garage reminds me of mine, I have the same door opener and similar space limitations. However, I had additional room in front of the cars so that I have space for a permanent workbench.

WorkBoots09 (author)  wdsims636 months ago

That's pretty much the reasoning. It was easy to have the lumberyard cut a standard 4'x8' piece down the middle. If I want to, I can build another workbench with the other side!

Step 5 shows a small piece of the 1x3 placed between the 2x4 backboard and the wall. Just glue the spacer to the 2x4 frame, not the wall.

I chose particle board because it was cheap and relatively light. Regular 3/4" plywood was expensive, but MDF is a good option. You can also find pre-made counter tops that come with a backboard covered in formica or masonite. I did not price any for this project, but I would assume they are a little more costly. It might make it look nicer though, and it will definitely hold up to wear and tear a little better.

I wish I had room for a permanent workbench, but I have a kegerator that I made out of an old fridge on the opposite side of the workbench! :-D

I guess I missed the pictures in Step 5.

I didn't think about a pre-made counter top. You might even be able to find one before it hits a dumpster if you find someone redoing an old kitchen.

kegerator, huh? I see you have your priorities straight. ;)
Tex Arcana6 months ago
One suggestion to everyone mounting pegboard: doing it this way kills 4-5 available pegs holes per backing board. Not a good thing. :-(

Instead, use a maximum 1"x1" (nominal: actually 3/4"x3/4") piece of wood to screw to the stud ***NEAREST THE EDGES OF THE INDIVIDUAL PIECES OF PEGBOARD. This way, you lose only 1 row of pegs at the edges.

And if you can't get the studs in the wall to line up with the edges, then skin the entire area under the pegboard/tool area with 1/4" plywood, securely fastened to every stud with a minimum 6" spacing between screws; THEN attach your 1x1s to the edges of the pegboard, then screw through the 1x1s into the plywood skin beneath for a strong and well-supported tool storage area.

;-)
anuvanoob6 months ago

My goodness I'm slow. I built a folding table almost exactly like this for my wife last year (for laundry), yet it never dawned on me until this article to do the same thing when moving my workbench to the garage (almost a small 2 car garage). SMH!

I also used Masonite for the table top and hinges for the legs.

also* a small 2 car garage

"almost" applies, too: with two full-size vehicles, most garages now don't even have space to access both cars properly.
+1 on the Masonite, it's super durable and a few screws later very replaceable, once worn out.
nfrith6 months ago

Great project! Design born out of necessity is always best.

holtwebb6 months ago

I'll be setting up a few tables like this in my studio/loft. Do you think folding legs are better than a chain-to-wall (drawbridge-type) support at the corners?

Depends on the use of the tables, and the look you're trying to achieve. If you want that industrial look, use galvanized gas pipe for your frame and heavy chain to hang it. If you want stealth and wood, and need access to the ends, then use folding legs.

The possibilities are endless. I still have an old conference room steel and laminate table top sans legs that I use for a variety of projects (most recently tearing down the top end of my engine); I also plan on mounting it to my wall and folding it up, and I will do an Instructable on that. ;-)
mzembower6 months ago

Excellent idea, this is one of those, "why didn't I think of that?" You get an A+ and thanks for sharing. While I don't need one for my workshop it is a prefect idea for my son's one car garage.

Edgar6 months ago

A Zillion gizmo Makers will welcome this...

Done a description with link, in by Blog:

http://faz-voce-mesmo.blogspot.pt/2014/01/torno-cnc-torno-littlebits-strawbees-e.html

tjl1156 months ago

I built one of these in my garage years ago using a discarded door complete with hinges, knob and latch assy. Just build a 2x6 frame on the wall and install the door horizontally ~ hinges, striker plate, etc. Skin it with masonite, attach leg system of choice. Close it up, well, kind of like closing a "door"

volvista6 months ago
good idea brillant . tomo la idea

You can attach a layer of masonite with screws to the top for a hard, flat surface for the workbench. I did this in my garage, because the surface of the workbench was a bunch of two-by-fours nailed to the legs, with annoying small-part-eating gaps.

If it gets too messed up over the years, just remove it and attach new masonite, although the stuff in my workshop has lasted for nearly 20 years now.

richreitz6 months ago
Just thinking. If you were to add another hinged board underneath the front of the table and fastened the legs to it, when folded up, the legs would just hang down in front and not have to be re-attached every time you opened the bench. This is a great idea, and I think that I will build a few different sized benches in my basement and garage.
richreitz6 months ago
Just thinking. If you were to fasten the three legs to another hinged board under the front of the workbench, when you folded the bench to its storage position, the legs would just hang down in front and wouldn't have to be re-attached every time you set up the bench.
ElectroFrank6 months ago

May I suggest having the timber across the front set back a couple of inches from the edge, to allow fitting a small clamp-on vice or similar useful things ?

A coat of varnish on the worktop will prevent stains, which is particularly helpful in a garage.

WorkBoots09 (author) 6 months ago
The drawbridge supports will work just fine, but it limits the size of your project space since the chains would be in the way. Glad to hear y'all making design choices with the legs! I chose those tubes because they would otherwise serve no purpose.
LolasMuse6 months ago
I was imagining using chalkboard paint on the pegboard, and when I got to the end when you mentioned that it was just what you had done I was quite pleased! I applaud your thrifty and upcycled use of the tubes that had formerly held rolls of paper, but I would be inclined to use a pull-up/drop down hinged leg option as mentioned by others as I love my vise and assorted (heavier) power tools too much to depend on a lighter weight option, and skipping assembling of legs when dropping down the bench gets me to my project quicker. Excellent idea, execution, and tutorial. Thank you.
broadsea6 months ago

This looks great. I only have a small shed so I will be making this (with folding legs) very soon.

agulesin6 months ago

Great project, but I have a habit of leaving stuff all over the bench so folding it closed would be rare! :-)

An alternative to pegboard for those who can't find the stuff (not available all over the world!) would be to use various sized hose clips (example: http://www.autopartswholesalers.com.au/files/5328-230x230.png) to hold tools on a flat board.

WorkBoots09 (author)  agulesin6 months ago
Good idea agulesin! I didn't realize that pegboard wasn't available everywhere. The slats screwed into the wall studs should provide a good base for whatever wall-hanging system one wishes to use.

Thank you and everyone for reading my instructable!
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