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Fold up or break down workworking bench design?

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Forum topic by diito posted 04-21-2014 05:18 PM 963 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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diito

15 posts in 244 days


04-21-2014 05:18 PM

I really need a formal woodworking bench with dog holds and vises etc. Right now I have counter space and space on my table saw/outfeed table that I make do with, but clamping options are poor. Larger pieces I do assembly directly on the cement floor. Unfortunately, I have no room in my shop for a fixed bench. All my tools are on mobile bases and I have to roll them out in the middle of the room one by one to use them. There is zero space to do the same for a bench. So I need a bench that I can either fold up or can easily break down and store up against a wall behind another tool or between them. A tabletop bench might be an option too. I will use this for hand planing, cutting dovetails, sanding, routing by hand, assembly, etc. I know I will have to compromise on weight and size.

Has anyone else built anything like this? Any good links to some ideas or commercial offerings?


15 replies so far

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JayT

2256 posts in 863 days


#1 posted 04-21-2014 06:24 PM

Have you looked at a Milkman’s workbench? There have been several built and posted here on LJ.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/84338 (This one includes a link to the Popular Woodworking article)

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/97712

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/89903

A knockdown workbench like mine could easily be modified in size and for more frequent assembly/disassembly.

TechRedneck has an ingenious design that you may be able to add to your outfeed table.

Or there is this very cool Saw Stool on Steroids built by Greg Miller that would store easily.

Hope that can give you some ideas and inspiration.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

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redSLED

687 posts in 544 days


#2 posted 04-21-2014 08:30 PM

I love portability so my choice would be fold-down (faster) instead of knock-down – based on the idea that I would use my workbench very often. The biggest issue will be of course the bench’s rigidity and heft to eliminate unwanted movement when working on it.

My only other thought on your situation would be to make a portable workbench that doubles duty for your table saw’s outfeed – instead of your existing out feed table.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

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diito

15 posts in 244 days


#3 posted 04-21-2014 11:23 PM

Thanks for the links. I’ve seen some of the milkman benches but these look a little more useful. Can anyone that’s used one comment on how they compare verses a regular bench? How are you clamping the benchtop down to it doesn’t move around on you?

I should add that I don’t think that an outfeed table will work for me as a bench. It has to be able to fold up and and hang on the wall behind my table saw went not in use. What I came up with in the design I use currently is essentially a two legged card table that attached to some brackets on the back my contractors saw. It’s study but it will move around too much for hand planing anything.

I really have three options I think:
1. A free standing bench that’s small enough I can break down somehow and store vertically in some way.
2. A benchtop bench for on top of my cast iron table saw (thinking heavy duty magswitches to lock it down). Of course this means I have to remove it every time I need to use the saw.
3. A benchtop bench for on top of my counter space. My clamping there is more of an issue but I do have ~1 1/4” of overhang I can use on two sides. It’s a thick top at 2”.

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Matt Przybylski

448 posts in 1030 days


#4 posted 04-22-2014 12:47 AM

In the current issue of American Woodworker there is a really nice knockdown bench design that also has a built in stool. I would highly suggest you check it out, it folds up and out of the way and when scanning the issue today I was pretty impressed with the design (even though I have no intention of building it).

-- Matt, Illinois, http://www.reintroducing.com

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bondogaposis

2524 posts in 1003 days


#5 posted 04-22-2014 12:48 AM

Here's another one.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1881 posts in 1883 days


#6 posted 04-22-2014 01:07 AM

“I really need a formal woodworking bench with dog holds and vises etc… So I need a bench that I can either fold up or can easily break down and store up against a wall behind another tool or between them… I will use this for hand planing, cutting dovetails, sanding, routing by hand, assembly, etc. I know I will have to compromise on weight and size.”

I quoted the important stuff in your post. Have you seen the You Tube videos produced by Ron Paulk? His workbench is portable and might be a solution you can work with.

Here is a Google search.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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richardwootton

1249 posts in 607 days


#7 posted 04-22-2014 01:11 AM

You should also check out Mosquito’s workbench. Very traditional, but it can be taken apart pretty easily.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

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Mosquito

4682 posts in 944 days


#8 posted 04-22-2014 01:18 AM

This is the one Richard mentioned. It takes me about 3 trips total to move my bench. One for the top, one for both legs, and one for stretcher and tool well bottom.

http://lumberjocks.com/Mosquito/blog/35966

However, it’s still a shade over 4’ long, and it’s 2’ wide (after factoring the leg vise). I’m not sure if it’d be quite what you’re looking for, but it has been a good alternative to a larger bench. At least for me.

As much as I hated it, you’d be surprised how much you can do with a workmate, if you have to though…

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist - www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2830 posts in 1895 days


#9 posted 04-22-2014 07:32 PM

If you can free up some wall space, where a mobile tool now resides, you can build a bench that will fold up against the wall leaving you space to store your mobile tool.

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1881 posts in 1883 days


#10 posted 04-22-2014 07:51 PM

I know what this is leading up to – FRUSTRATION!

Once the OP gets the folding work bench built and in place, all sorts of things will find their way onto it. So now he has to either leave it set up or clear it off every time before folding it back done. :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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diito

15 posts in 244 days


#11 posted 04-22-2014 10:03 PM

Thanks for all the ideas. To give you a better idea of what I’m working with here are some pictures of my shop setup for use with my table saw. The room is ~25’ x 16’. When it’s not in use the dust collector gets pushed up to the left side of the room next to the drill press and the table saw and folded up outfeed table go in the corner where the dust collector is now. There is just enough room that I can break down sheet goods on my table saw if I have to. There is also just enough room in front of the table saw when it’s in place that I pull out another power tool and use it if the piece I’m working on isn’t super long. I have a storage room in the basement around my furnace where I keep my wood but generally bring what I need it into the shop and pile it where you see the pile now when I’m working on a project. I have to go through living space with my dusty clothes otherwise.

If you can see it in the pictures I have a lot of open wall space above as well as behind my jointer on the floor. I’m thinking of storing a breakdown bench there somehow and setting it up in front of the table saw when in use. I definitely have room for a 4’x2’ bench there, maybe even 5’x2’. The other option is a benchtop bench on top of the table saw.. but that’s higher then I’d probably like and not as useful, so I’m learning towards a regular bench.

Working with a smaller bench and limited space my main concerns are the lack of mass, ability to clamp large projects, and other stuff just getting in the way of my work area. I was thinking I might be able to solve the mass issue with 3 or 4 5 gallon buckets filled with water hanging under the bench when setup. My laundry room /w utility sink is directly behind my shop (the door behind the table saw) so it’s fairly easy to fill/empty those as needed and at ~40 pounds each they’ll help a lot. Stuff getting in the way… I’m minimized that the best I can with how I store my tools and accessories but it’s always somewhat of any issue with a small(ish) shop space.

What do you guys think?

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MT_Stringer

1881 posts in 1883 days


#12 posted 04-22-2014 10:54 PM

“What do you guys think?”

I think you have a lot more room than I have! :-(

And…where is all the clutter? :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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diito

15 posts in 244 days


#13 posted 04-22-2014 11:08 PM

I just actually measured…. 21’ x 12.5’. It’s essentially the size of a one car garage.

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HarveyM

27 posts in 674 days


#14 posted 04-22-2014 11:54 PM

Here’s one that’s basically four torsion boxes bolted together with all thread. The top can be lifted off, undo a couple bolts and the base disassembles.
http://www.americanwoodworker.com/blogs/tom_caspar/archive/2009/02/23/tom-s-torsion-box-workbench-2.aspx

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BikerDad

78 posts in 2253 days


#15 posted 04-23-2014 12:03 AM

you have a lot of counter space there. Why not simply use it? If you can’t be putting holes into the countertop, you can make/buy a slab that has some projection off the front, mount a vise to the slab and use short dogs. You could even rig up a temporary means of keeping the slab on the countertop beyond simple gravity, using either something mounted to the wall behind, or a hold-down that uses the ceiling as the “anchor.” Basically, think a bigger variation on the Milkman’s workbench.

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

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