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!

2 People Made This Project!


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56 Discussions


1 year ago

I just saw this instructable. Very well planned and extremely useful. I will build this and add detachable wheels for easier mobility. Thank you very much for sharing this with us.


3 years ago

Awesome bench, I can't help but notice the troup county tag in that picture. Local here


5 years ago

very nice. but I see some space for improvement : if u make the lower wood to fix from inside (currently it fixes the legs from outside) then it will fit in the box

5 replies

Thanks. If I understand correctly, that isn't the part that doesn't fit. One of the legs doesn't, but that can be fixed by making it wider. Also, the long stretcher is about 2 inches too long to fit.


Hi, sorry about not pointing in the right direction, i was talking about the long stretcher, if you design it to hold the legs from inside and not from outside. Thanks for the nice design :)


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Another option would be to just make the bench longer. Since it has to be wider to accommodate the forth leg and long stringer, it doesn't hurt to make it wider as well. The way it is designed now keeps the legs from moving in either direction. And internal stringer would require a fastener to keep everything from moving.

Here is a picture of it designed wider and longer. A single board across the bottom would hold everything in place for transport or storage on the side and everything fits inside. I have not built this, yet, but plan to as a modular bench tool workstation.

Collapsible Workbench - Storage.jpg

5 years ago on Introduction

I thinks I'm going to try this and expand it to bench size to travel with the folding table under my camper.


5 years ago on Step 10

love the notches, very smart, nice looking, thanks for posting

spark master

5 years ago on Introduction

In answer to 2 questions, weight is better in a work bench as we like to pound on it or put heavy items, but to make it more travel friendly as a take down table, I proposed lightening it up.

As for the Eurosealer. I have made covers for things using one. It is a plastic bag sealer. So if you want to leave one outside you can make a fitted cover for it. Or a and a a plastic case for it to travel,(just for water protection.

Eurosealer is a brand, you can use a soldering iron, (I have a friend who makes waterproof bags if need be, or seals small electronics in plastic this way.

I do realize that this was meant for the garage/basement, but your design is so darn good, there could several ways to make it, for other applications.

2 replies

0ne day perhaps. My wife and I were talking about camping again so who knows? I have had some fold up tables that were light, but were elstinko, this may allow for a much nicer table, sturdy that is.

And if you spar varnish everything with a few good coats (thinned) the pores can really absorb, then wax it and it is never "water proof", but it will be highly water resistant, and good for field use.

made just way it is here, and higly finished, I see it good for a camping/fishing/hunting person. If it get covered in game guts rinse it off and soap it, rinse again. But varathane all parts before assembly, and run a bead of silicone (rtv) on all the joints.

For Scouts decoupage a logo of the troop and troop Number after 4 coats then do another 4 thin coats and a heavy coat. It will be there for their kids to use.

But again this gilds the lily it is pretty sweet w/o any additions.