Murphy-style Fold Away Workbench (hingeless)

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Introduction: Murphy-style Fold Away Workbench (hingeless)

I have existing workbenches running along both sides of my garage. They vary in depth, with the deepest at about 30" deep. Since I wanted the ability to occasionally cut a full 4'x8' sheet of plywood on my work bench AND park my car in the garage most of the time, I needed a workbench extension that could be folded away when not in use. I looked at the hinged, traditional Murphy-style workbench designs available, but I also have absolutely no free wall space. This workbench extension detaches and is stored hanging below the existing workbench when not in use. Since it couples with the existing 30" deep workbench, I can get a 54 inch deep, 8 foot long worktable by adding just a 2' by 8' extension. Since it's not on a permanent hinge, I can remove it completely to access items under the workbench.

Supplies

1-2' by 8' piece of OSB,

4- 2" x 2" by 8'

1- 2" x 4" by 8'

4- 3.2" long eyehooks

approximately 50- 1 1/2" screws

and

2-folding leg brackets (I used brackets (sold by the pair) from Rockler Woodworking and Hardware )

Tools: clamps, drill and bits, hammer and chisel (optional)

Step 1: Building the Extension

Choose the location where your new extension will hang when stored. My existing workbenches are 36" tall with OSB tops, a 2x4 support along the front, and 2x4 legs that run to the gravel floor. Since I wanted to hang it from the underside of the existing workbench, I had to allow room for the old workbench's legs. I braced the underside of the 2'x8' table extension for the weight it might need to hold as best I could, while also allowing space for the existing workbench's permanent legs. I wish I could have braced it all along the length with no breaks, but I didn't want the extension to bump out so much that I'd hit it with my knees when it was hung and stored below the old workbench. That worked okay, except for the folding legs, they had to be 34" long to match the height of the existing workbench and got in the way anyway. Another option would be to move the existing workbench's legs back a bit. I did not do that, but you could.

My underside braces and the two folding legs are made from 2x2's. The braces on the side that will have the folding legs attached are 2x4's so the folding leg bracket would have something wider to attach to. I screwed down through the top of the OSB into my braces to attach.

Step 2: Marking the Holes for the Eyebolts

Choose the location where your new extension will be located when in use. I was able to move it so I had room to stand on either end and all along the front. To hold it all steady while marking the holes, I extended the hinged legs to help hold up one edge of the new workbench, and clamped the other edge to the existing workbench, careful to make the tops flush. Then I drilled small pilot holes through the extension into the old workbench. This marked the center locations of the eyebolts. Make sure the locations also allow for the size of the eyebolt head to fit nicely into slots the old workbench and not hit any existing nails. I marked spots for four eyebolts spaced evenly out along the long edge of the workbench extension.

Step 3: Put in the Eyebolts and Create Slots to Receive Them.

I drilled the small pilot holes in the new workbench larger and put in the eyebolts, leaving a generous amount of eyebolt sticking out. Then I chose a drill bit a little bit bigger and drilled out the matching slots in the old workbench above and below my center mark. Here's where I would do it differently in the future.....I would make the slots horizontal, not vertical. Drill it out to the left and right of the center mark, not above and below. Originally I thought I'd need to have the head of the eyebolt drop down a bit and "lock" in place. With the tightness of the slots and with gravel as my floor, it feels very stable and not like it's going to slip around. Horizontal orientation of the eyebolt heads would make it easier to hang the extension up under the old workbench later.

Step 4: Check the Fit

Make sure the two workbench tops are nice and level and that the eyebolt heads fit. Putting this extension on without help, is a little awkward. I rest almost the whole extension on top of the old workbench first, lock the legs down, and then back the extension off the old workbench and slide the eyebolts home. Definitely harder than using a hinge, but, since it will mostly be folded away, I like the way it gives me more knee space when stored and can be removed for full access of items stored behind it.

To put the extension away after use, I back the eyebolts out of the slots, rest the long, eyebolt edge of the extension on the old workbench again, fold and lock the legs up, and lower the workbench extension to rest on the ground. I also have to turn my two end eyebolts 90 degrees with a screwdriver, but you won't have to, if you put the eyebolts so they go into horizontal slots, unlike I did.

Step 5: Hang the Extension Out of the Way

To figure out where to put the hooks that will hold the extension when it's not in use, I lined up the gaps in the extension's underside bracing with the legs on the old workbench, and snugged the extension up, leaning it against the workbench. Then I used some cribbing to hold the extension up off the floor where I'd want it to hang, giving me a toe kick. Reaching under the old workbench I used a pencil to draw a circle inside the eyebolt on one end. then I moved the extension and cribbing out of the way so I could get under there, and put a screw onto the backside of the workbench. I left it sticking out about 3/8ths of an inch. I could then hook the eyebolt onto the screw and hold up the other end to mark it. I just hooked the two ends, not all four eyehooks.

I chose to hang it on the backside of 2x4 that runs along the front of my old workbench to gain a little more knee space. I made marks on the front of the old workbench so I can tell about where the screws are that I'm aiming for. Of course you could hang it anywhere.

.

Step 6: Enjoy Your New Workspace!

In addition to having a huge workspace when I need one, A hidden silver lining is that I also find I like the way it blocks the view of the under bench storage. I have it hung so it hides the 2x6 lumber stacked behind it, (nothing that I need to get to often). Thanks for reading!

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    3 Comments

    0
    agoodbrooks
    agoodbrooks

    1 year ago

    Good ideas! Originally I thought I’d do the French cleat thing, but then it seemed so sturdy I quit messing with it. Depending on how much I use this extension, and if/when the holes in the old workbench become looser, I will change a couple of the eyebolts to bolts and wing nuts? Maybe? Right now they are snug. Thanks so much for checking it out!

    0
    agoodbrooks
    agoodbrooks

    Reply 1 year ago

    My eyebolts aren’t long enough to go all the way through for a loose pin bolt to catch it, or that would be great. What about if you have the eye bolts heads sticking out horizontally, then you drive a screw up from below that just catches in the head? I’ll try to draw a picture.

    5FB28358-A454-4C1B-8434-B0C72DDB44EA.jpeg
    0
    oragamiunicorn
    oragamiunicorn

    1 year ago

    I'm not sure I'd feel happy with the eyelets taking the weight but not really being locked in in any way. I'd be tempted to use a french cleat which would give a bit more stability, you could also run one on the underside so it could still hang up when not un use. The other option would be loose pin bolts