I like making with my hands. I particularly get pleasure from making beneficial things out of wood. Sadly, my self-made and self-constructed garage six X three foot workbench has a tendency to turn into littered with miscellaneous “stuff”, and I uncover myself at my wit's finish attempting to construct projects on a piece of plywood strung across two folding sawhorses. Not excellent, I will agree. I do appreciate the comfort of getting in a position to take down and place away the elements of my makeshift functioning surface. What I never like is that the functioning surface is not that steady and demands a separate set of clamps to hold the functioning prime to the sawhorses.

Casting about for some thing additional robust than a hunk of plywood and some adjustable clamps, I discovered there are a quantity of folding workbenches on the market place from suppliers like Worx, Black and Decker, and sold at locations like House Depot, Lowes, and Harbor Freight. Their rates are varied, but they all have related options. I particularly like benches that fold flat, are simply stored, have constructed-in adjustable “vises”, and can carry moderate loads.

Just after researching the different offerings, I settled on an economical folding workbench from Harbor Freight.

Just after researching the different offerings, I settled on an economical folding workbench from Harbor Freight. Price tag was a figuring out element. You can see what I lastly purchased by following the hyperlink embedded under in the Resource section under.

The folding workbench comes as a kit. The vital components are preassembled. I had to mount the two hand crank assemblies to the two fiberboard perform surface, then mount the legs and their stiffening cross members that also double as tool stations. Assembly went rapidly I only necessary to provide a Philips head screwdriver.

Sadly, the completed workbench does not fold fully flat. But the workbench does function as I preferred: it really is a sturdy, transportable workbench that I can simply carry about the home or out into the back yard to exercising my woodworking prowess. Adding a handful of additional speed clamps and a transportable carpenter's six” vise, and I am excellent to go (my initial project was to make and attach two ¼” wooden facing pieces to that six” carpenter's vise's metal jaws).

Upon seeking at the workbench's building, it came to me that with a handful of minor modifications, this workbench could be materially enhanced. And that is what prompted me to create this “How To” write-up to document what I did to my workbench.

There are 5 places on that workbench that, with some minor rework, will materially strengthen its functionality and likely extend its functioning life. None of these ideas are vital, or even vital for the casual user. None of these ideas are difficult to implement, but I uncover that they will likely be worth the work as time passes.

Region #1: The “fold-flat” function.

When this workbench is assembled according to the directions, when folded, the handles lay pointing down the legs towards the floor. By reversing the way the legs are mounted (precisely reversed from the installation guidelines), the handles now are on prime of the folded bench, point away from the legs, and the legs do certainly fully fold flat! An straightforward repair.

Region #two: The hand-crank clamp lead screw adjustment.

I noticed that the board that is mounted to the hand-cranked lead screw that tends to make the perform surface boards function as a constructed-in vise, was loose, and flopped about as the handles have been cranked. To remedy this, I employed a wrench to tighten the crank shaft attachment on the moveable perform surface so that there was significantly less play as the unit is cranked. Do not more than tighten, or the board will not move at all!

Region #three: The hand cranked lead screw sheet metal finish clamp assistance.

Every single of the hand crank lead screws goes via an finish plate that is bent from the leg assistance sheet metal. If you appear closely, you are going to notice that the lead screw plate is secured to the sidewalls by two sheet metal “ears” and two smaller dimples in the sidewalls. That appears like a prospective supply of failure downstream: nothing at all prevents the sidewalls from separating and permitting the crank to turn into loose. My repair? Easy: I installed a clamping and securing bolt via the sidewalls just behind the finish plate. To safe the sideplates and stopping them from spreading apart, about 1 inch from the finish plate, I drilled a ¼” clearance hole via the two sideplates (that also mount the legs) and place a 1 ½ inch lengthy, ¼ -20 bolt with a washer and a locknut. Tightening the locknut tends to make the endplate securely clamped to the sidewall plates this will avoid any tendency for that endplate holding the leadscrew and cranking handles from coming loose more than time.

Region #four: Lowering friction.

The assembly guidelines had me applying a bolt, two washers, and a locknut on each and every leg to hold it in spot. Difficulty is, that signifies that the legs will put on on the sideplates. Not a excellent concept. I purchased eight additional flat stainless steel washers and slipped these washers in among the legs and the sidepanels. Now the legs will put on on the washers rather of the sideplates. This tends to make the leg securing assembly consist of the bolt head, washer, sideplate, washer, leg, washer, other sideplate, washer, then the locknut. So each and every of the legs now has four washers: two washers on the outdoors of the side panels, and two washers to retain the leg from rubbing on the sidewall straight. Once again, never overtighten, or the workbench will not fold up.

Region #five: Creating points run smoothly.

Be confident to lubricate all moving surfaces with oil, WD-40&trade or a dry film lubricant (You can use a light grease on the two lead screws, but if you grease the sliding rail, I believe you are going to uncover that the grease will likely be a sawdust magnet!). Be confident to lubricate all sliding or rotating joints and connectors, particularly these added washers on the legs exactly where they mount to the sideplates.

Region #six: Replace the fiberboard perform surfaces.

When this is a bench made for light to moderate loads, you may well think about replacing the worksurface's fiberboards with lengths of 1½ X4 inch lumber, suitably drilled holes for the plastic dogging clamp inserts. If you are comfy with a energy planer or router, make a appropriate undercut to clear the hand cranks and use 1 ½ X six inch planks for the perform surfaces. That will give you a wider functioning surface when the two panels are cranked to the max.

As I stated at the starting of this write-up, none of these rework things are totally vital the workbench will function quite nicely as is if you merely stick to the incorporated assembly guidelines. But I believe these minor mods and reworks will strengthen your enjoyment of this economical folding workbench. I know I have.