Work(shop) in Progress #1: The Workbench

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 06-11-2008 01:27 AM 5391 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Work(shop) in Progress series Part 2: Workbench: The TOP »

So like every other woodworker, I take pride in my shop, and always aspire to have the most convenient, flowing, accessible, productive, efficient, fun, and good looking setup I can get.

This is the story of my shop.

So one thing that I wanted for a while, but never really got the chance to setup, nor the place, was a workbench. for the longest time I’ve been mostly assembling on the floor, and working on foldable plastic sawhorses that have a work surface that flips on top – these work great , they are super portable, but really lack the ability to hold anything secure enough while expressing force on the piece (sawing, planning, sanding, etc) – sure they work, but it’s that “If only I had a sturdier work surface” kind of thought.

So I’ve seen the Garrett-Wade foldable workbench that folds down to about 10” when not in use, and I was sold on the idea. I never really planned on spending $500 on a workbench, and more than that – I always wanted to build it myself, just like everything else around me. I began designing the workbench with the idea of using 2 panels of 3/4” MDF on top of one another for stability,weight, and flatness… and started putting it all together using Sketchup.

about a month ago Rockler came out with their own foldable workbench – exactly the same design, and probably from the same manufacture as the Garrett-Wade one – or it could be just me, but they look exactly the same. so apparently the concept was getting more popular. I just need to actually make it.

last week I went with my wife to a donation center where they had this 2” thick solid maple top 72”x24” – was that a special custom order for ME of what? so I quickly took it for $25 before anyone else could even say “mine”. I was planning to cut off about 12” off of it’s length to use as the faces for the vise which would give me even color, and identical material, and still keep me at 60” for length which is more then enough for what I need.

the final design is this:

The top folds down against the wall, and takes less then 4” depth which is just perfect as I can fit my cat – AND open the door to get out of it.

right now the top is all installed on the wall, and you can see that in my workshop page, all I need now is a set of legs that will support it when it’s in the horizontal position – I already used it with temporary support, and it works like a charm.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

4 comments so far

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3923 days

#1 posted 06-11-2008 05:33 AM

Looks good so far. Those leg supports need to be heavy if you plan to do any chopping and or serious planing to flatten boards. I found mine were to flimsy and I had to beef them up a bit.

Good luck with the project,

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View SimonMayport's profile


8 posts in 2691 days

#2 posted 03-03-2011 09:22 AM

Are you going to ad bracing legs on the front or simply attach it to the wall? I would assume it’s the former, as to do otherwise would leave your vise without adequate stability.

-- Simon -

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3676 days

#3 posted 03-08-2011 08:11 PM

sorry for the delay – I was away.

this workbench was mounted/bolted to the wall for stability and was resting on a couple of sawhorses to keep it horizontal. it was never really used extensively as we moved out of that location shortly after putting this together but for what its worth it was holding up pretty well for light/medium work.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View rjoakwood's profile


4 posts in 2556 days

#4 posted 06-24-2011 06:28 AM

Simple, functional and fuss free – perfect!

-- Richard -

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