Introduction: Collapsible Workbench

About: Maker and builder- aspiring woodworker and engineer

This is a simple little collapsible workbench/assembly table I made. The dimensions may seem strange but it was as large as I could get it while still fitting under my current one. It also is tall enough so that the surface of the mitre saw when it is up there is level with my big workbench, allowing my to easing cut long boards. This can easily be adapted to be a sturdy, permanent workbench with only a few extra bolts.

Final Dimensions:

22" Wide, 35" long, 33 1/2" Tall

Step 1: Materials

You will need:

1-2'x4' Sheet of 3/4" MDF

4-8' 2x4s

1-Box of 2" or 2 1/2" Wood Screws

Wood Glue

Material for the Apron (the part right below the surface)-the dimensions don't really matter, but I ripped a 1x10 in half because that's what I had on hand. You could use 1x4s as a cheap alternative.

Total Cost Not Counting Apron or Wood Glue:


Step 2: Legs

The legs consist of two 32" segments of 2x4s screwed and glued together. You will need eight individual segments in all. Use the first one you cut and base the rest off of that-you get more of the same sized legs that way. I ripped the edges off because it gives it a slightly cleaner look and makes them square, but if you don't have a table saw this is not necessary. You should have one 32" segment and a full 2x4 left over.

Step 3: The Stretchers

You will need two 22 1/2" boards and one 35 1/2". Square the edges if you can.

Step 4: Apron

I made these 4" wide, but that can change easily based upon your materials. These will need to be cut to the size of your tabletop-in my case 35" and 22"-with a 45* cut on the ends. The second photo is just a test fit. Then they will need to be screwed and glued into a square. A corner clamp really is helpful, I got mine for a $1.50 and an antique tools store!

Step 5: Table Top

Cut the top out of the MDF. I used the jig saw to cut the wide part and the table saw to cut the remainder.

Step 6: Lap Joints

Measure 8" up from the bottom of each leg, then place a stretcher across, the bottom at 8". Mark that. This will be cut out using a combination of miter gauge and rip fence. Place the rip fence so that when the leg is against it, it will be touching the far line you just drew. Cut that, then slide the leg to the other line and cut that. Then cut out the in between bits. Use that to base you other legs off of. Do this in all four.

Sorry for the washed out photos! I'm not good with the whole photography thing.

Also, if you don't have a table saw, these can be done with a regular saw and a chisel. It just takes much longer.

Step 7: More Lap Joints!

Measure one inch from the end of the 22 1/2" stretchers. Then lay a leg across that, and mark it. Using the same technique, cut out a lap joint on each end of both the stretchers.

Step 8: Even More Lap Joints!!

Measure one inch from the end of the long stretcher (which is vertical!!) , and lay a short stretcher across it. Vertically!! Mark that, and cut a-you guessed it!-another lap joint. Then find the center of the short stretchers and cut one there too. It should look like the third photo.

I would make those fit flush, but my dado stack is a 6" and I have a 10" saw, so it doesn't cut a ton. This works great too though!

Step 9: Corner Things

These go in the corner of the apron, right under where the top will be. The legs MUST be tight in these, but they also MUST be able to slide out if you're making it collapsible.

Use some of the remaining 2x4 and mark where the leg meets. Cut two of these with a 45* on both. When they are up against the side the leg should fit snugly in it. Screw and glue them in. Clamps help to keep things in place while this is going on. Repeat on each corner (4 times total).

Step 10: Attach the Top

Dry fit with the clamps. It works! Then screw on the top. Don't glue though! This way, if the top gets all marred up, you can easily replace it.

Step 11: Done!

Fold it up, don't fold it up, whatever! This is a great addition to any shop. Just add a few extra screws or bolts to make it permanent. I think I will make a dolly to slide it out from under my workbench since I'm already destroying the paint as it is. Thanks for viewing!