As a DIYer, the larger my projects get the larger my work space to make them needs to be. Believe me, building that DIY Farmhouse Table was not so easy to do in a cramped work space. The table turned out great, but that project was the last straw. I knew I needed to build my own fold down workbench.
I have mentioned several times before that I get my decorating chops from my brilliant mother, but I definitely get my love of tools and woodwork from my dad! Tool shopping for us tends to feel more like Christmas. So you can imagine how excited my dad was when I mentioned that I wanted to build a fold down workbench in my garage. He simply said “Tell me when and I will be there!” ( love him ).
Here is what we needed to get started on the fold down workbench:
Click on the links below if you are unsure of what the items listed are or what kind you will need.
- ( 2 ) 2″ x 12″ x 8′ wood
- ( 3 ) 1″ x 4″ x 8′ wood
- ( 1 ) 2″ x 4″ x 8′ wood
- 3″ wood screws
- 2″ wood screws
- 1-1/2″ wood screws
- ( 4 ) 5″ wide hinges
- ( 2 ) 1-1/2″ wide hinges
- ( 2 ) roller catches
- ( 1 ) handle
- Miter saw
- Drill / Driver
- Measuring tape
- Stud finder
Step One: Decisions, Decisions
First, you will want to figure out exactly how long you want your fold down workbench to be. We decided on 6 feet long for mine. Then we had to spend some time figuring out the width of the bench top. For this, we had to keep in mind that since my workbench will be folding down, whatever width I chose would also directly effect the height.
Originally we were thinking of a width of 3 feet, but that would have made the table height to tall for me. We had to consider the fact that we wanted the table to be a couple inches off of the ground when it was in the folded down position, and also take into consideration the thickness of the table top. All of that plus the width would equal the height of 42″ and my ideal workbench height is closer to 36″. Keeping all of this in mind, we decided on a width of 24″ for the table top.
Step Two: Measure Up
Now that I knew how long I wanted my fold down workbench to be, it was time to cut the wood down to size. We took the two 2″ x 12″ x 8′ boards and cut them each down to 6′ long.
Step Three: Making The Table Top
We laid down the 6′ long boards with the sides I wanted as the top laying face down. Then we cut down some 1″ x 4″ wood to three 20″ long pieces. These will be acting as the bracing holding the top together. We placed them across the bottom of the 6′ long boards and screwed in several 2″ wood screws to insure the boards would not be coming apart.
Step Four: Don’t Forget Your Apron
Now we needed to create the decorative and functional apron to go all the way around the table top. I decided that I wanted the corners of this framing to all be mitered at a 45 degree angle. We set the miter saw at the correct angle and got right to cutting the frame. We needed two pieces at 6′ each and two at 2′ each.
We then secured the apron with 2″ wood screws at every few inches. Along one of the 6′ sides, however, we doubled up with 3″ wood screws to secure it because this side will be the side of the table that is hinged to the wall and supporting the entire fold down workbench.
Step Five: What A Stud!
Use your stud finder to determine the placement of your fold down workbench along the wall. Questions you will want to answer during this part: How many studs will my table be crossing paths with? This tells you how many hinges you will be using. Are my studs placed at the standard 16″ intervals? This will tell you how far apart to screw your hinges from one another into the side of your table top. Be sure to mark where the studs are along the wall, this will help during step nine.
Step Six: Add Your Hinges
Now that you know where you will be placing your hinges along the side of your table top, it is time to screw them in. Since the table will be folding down, we made sure to place the hinges along the edge closest to the bottom of the table, with them opening out towards the top. Also, the hinges will be going along the thing edge of your apron so be sure to place some scrap wood along the edge for added support for your hinges.
Step Seven: Nice Legs
Keeping in mind the desired height that I wanted my workbench to sit at, we cut the legs. Basically, if you want your workbench height to be 36″ you have to take into consideration the thickness of the table top you have just built. What we did was place the 2″ x 4″ wood inside the framing of the table top as if we were about to secure it, and using our measuring tape we marked the leg at 36″ from the ground. Therefore, the leg itself is not 36″ long, but will place the table top at our desired height. Then we cut!
Be sure you have placed your miter saw back at a 90 degree angle for the legs.
Step Eight: Secure Those Legs
Take your newly cut legs and your 1-1/2″ wide hinges, and secure your legs to the bottom of your table top. Be sure to consider which direction you would like your legs to fold up. We chose to have them fold in towards the middle of the table, but it is up to you. Then we needed something to catch the legs in their folded up positions so that I could feasibly put them away by myself. This is where the Roller Catches come in handy. They are very simple to install, just follow the instructions on the packaging.
Step Nine: Hang That Bad Boy!
Now it is time to attach your new fold down workbench to the wall! Your workbench is undeniably pretty heavy at this point, so I would definitely say that this step requires 2 if not 3 people to complete. The best way to go about figuring out the exact placement of where to screw in your hinges is to fold the legs down and lean your workbench up against the wall and line up your hinges with the marks you previously left on the studs you will be using. While one or two people hold it in place, one person will need to drill a 3″ wood screw into the center hole of each of the hinges.
Once that is done, your bench should be able to hang from the wall on its own while you go through and drill in the rest of the screws, so fold up the legs and lower it while you do so.
Step Ten: A Smooth Finish
Once all of your screws are in your hinges, all that will be left are the finishing touches. Install one or two handle(s) in the most ideal place for you to be able to fold down your table by yourself. Since both of my legs are folding in towards the middle of the bench, I placed my handle front and center to make it easier for me.
Then I sanded down the top of my workbench and I was done!
Have questions about this DIY project?
Write them in the comments, I would love to help!