Anyone using a folding workbench

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I'm really getting cramped for space in the hole I call my workshop. Useable space (excluding storage) is about 10x14, which holds the bench, planer, tablesaw, dust collector, drill press and other miscellaneous crap.
One idea I have for reclaiming my space is a folding workbench. I'm thinking of attaching a ledger board (current bench) to the wall, hanging off some stubs every 16". The 'joists' for the benchtop would mesh up with the stubs and be joined to each other with a long metal pipe passing through holes in both. Likely two shorter pipes, since the room isn't long enough to insert one long pipe. I'm not too sure about the legs, probably more studs held to the 'joists' with more pipe. A crosser would hold the legs together on the outside, so as not to get in the way of folding under the bench.
Probably the biggest issue would be losing the space under the current bench, which holds the various power tools and other stuff. Maybe a rolling cabinet that I could move before folding down the bench. Then there's the stuff on top of the bench, drill press, various tools, etc. Perhaps I'll have the bench fold in two sections so I can pick my extra space.
Any thoughts/pit falls on a folding bench?
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*snip*

I've got a couple. If your bench is going to be a primary work surface, you're not going to fold it up. You'll want to leave your part to dry or something... Then other things will join what's there, and the idea of closing it will only be a warm fuzzy in your mind. Folding (or expanding) surfaces are great as secondary work areas, where your normal bench is 2x4 but you need to work on a piece of 4x8 plywood.
What you could do, however, is make a bench or work table to set up on saw horses. Give yourself a smaller bench, and when you need a larger one you can then set up the big one. I've got a piece of 1/2" plywood I use as a "cutting board" when I'm working with sheets of plywood. Most of the time, though, my project fits nicely in a 2' area of my 2x4 workbench.
Puckdropper
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Good comments. One thing I did was make a "tabletop" that fit over my tablesaw. Just a piece of 1/2" ply & legs that rotated down to rest on the table saw casters area so nothing touched the floor and it'd still roll around easily (relatively at least). It centers on the fence slots so it stays pretty stable & can be clamped if needed.
Then on my regular bench, which is 2' x 11', I put something similar to breadboard "slide-outs" under it, to bring the surface out further. But I put those in four pieces so I could sit between them on my stool and pull them out on each side of me if I wanted to; which it turns out I do very often. Then each of those will fold out another section that lies on top normally. But those are rather flimsy; only good for setting stuff on while you work. Idea: Let me surround myself with my work, so to speak. ymmv I'm sure. Better than fold downs because it leaves room for storage under the bench, but be sure to give the slide-outs enough STRENGTH to stand up to your punishment; I used 45 degree rotating legs that brace to the legs of the main bench.
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LOL, You've seen my Bench. :-)

This does give me an idea though. A smaller permanent bench with a drop leaf. I get more floor space, keep my shelves under the bench, keep space for my drill press/vice/clutter and get a larger clutter free workspace when needed.
I originally built my bench a tad lower than the Table Saw so I could use it as an outfeed table. But it was usually covered in crap and not wide enough to be of much use. With a drop leaf in front of the existing (but smaller) bench, I could move the TS and get a useful outfeed table Might work for the planer too, but I think it's too high.

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*trim*

Only because yours is a copy of mine! :-) *snip*

I have a drawer with a lid on the top that works pretty good for temporary use. Since it sticks out in to the aisleway, I have to remember to clear it off and close it.

You could also get one of those outfeed rollers that folds up and not worry about using the workbench.
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That works. I carpetted my shop with throw-away carpeting, mostly because it's a cement floor. Then I wanted a base for the TS so I experimented with a base and the smaller, 2" casters on it; worked perfectly. No need to pull casters up or anything; stays well put during use. If you push strictly horozontally on the top itself it'll tip over forward or backward before it'll start to roll, so I liked that and just extended the size another 2 inches in front and back. Then, while I was at it, I made the table saw match the height of my workbench plus a half inch for the slope/unevenness of the floor; worked great. When I finally got my planer I put that on casters too, same method as the TS, and set the height to use the TS for outfeed rest with long boards. Yes, outfeed rollers would be better and work smoother probably but space is at a premium so anything that can do double duty I try to find. Bench, TS and Planer can all work together this way. Then I have a top I can add to the table saw to make it large enough to hold a full size window and a 4'x8' sheet in a pinch though it extends over all edges. With the TS on casters it moves around fairly easily too so the faux table top can be moved to pretty much wherever I want it. I also have typing-tray-like pull outs above all the drawers of the bench, except for one area where there's a cutout to mount a router into.
Oh: Forgot to mention I'm disabled, so the less running around I do in the shop the more time I can spend on actuall woodworking. At the moment, the planer lives out in the garage, in front of my wife's car, while I'm working on refinishing an antique Secretary from my MIL for my wife. It's completely disassembled into its components parts, so I can sit down on the stool at my bench, pull out a couple of the pull-outs from the bench, pull the TX with faux top on it up to me, put all the materials on one side to start (excepting drawers which are not disassembled), work on each piece and place it on the other side and so on until I go through them all. I'll work well for the worst part of the job anyway: The sanding and initial treatments/repairs/wood putty, etc.. Thanks to the pullouts I have places to set the smaller decorative pieces etc. too. I'm ready to stain now; gonna miss that neat little setup! But, I have lots of surface areas to put the stained/finished pieces on at least. I used to hvae to put them in the garage on saw horses with a sheet of ply over them. Now they can all stay in the relatively dust-free confines of my shop. Oh, my "shop" is actually one of the car stalls but smaller than the other one since one end of it was turned into an inlaw bedroom; it's a huge garage. My wife turned that inlaw room into a sewing room recently since inlaw passed, so we get to wave at each other now and then as we pass by<g>. All possible wall areas are peg boarded and the ceiling as well provides storage wherever possible except the immediate area over the TS space so I can flip boards on end. I hung a couple halogen lights from the old door opener track so they can be moved from one end to the other easily, and I used the side track for hanging too. Made wood storage area from some L brackets I inherited lng ago that extends out into the garage over the 8' sliding door to the parking area. Plenty high enough to walk under in the garage & a little high to reach from inside, but it works. More storage over the bedroom area; that's a large area so works well and lower than the other since it doesn't protrude into the garage; it's just insulation thickness higher than the ceiling of the bedroom, which has a 7' celing. The "trick" IMO is to be as inventive as possible with any available space and do as little as possible to block off any usable space. And take your time and don't be afraid to redo something if it would improve things. I use screws exclusively for fastening and avoid glue unless it's certain to be a permanent affixment.
Now if I just had room for the jointer; it has to sit covered out in the garage which isn't good for it, but with a good cover, wax and calcium chloride bowls, it seems to stay in pretty good shape. No rust yet anyway. Yet.
Cheers,
Twayne

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Yeah, I bought one of those for the Planer. Very handy, but doesn't do too much for the floor space.
Some points others have mentioned:
I've also got a Workmate, but it mostly gets used outside the shop.
Shopvac is no longer in the shop, the new one is bigger than the last. Compressor actually fits in the offcuts storage hole, so it's OK.
I'm thinking of moving the DC to the closet next to the shop, which should help with the dust/Asthma and give me 8 more sf. Combined with the smaller bench I could get 20 more sf. It may not seem like much, but until I win the lottery.
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I would look at something like this:
http://woodstore.net/mosaroce.html
This was entire series on how to build this critter for folks with "limited" space.
I recall American Woodworker do a very similar device with even more options.
With your space issues, this is worth a look-see....
Bill Stock wrote:

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I use a free standing folding work bench, an old B&D work bench about 30"x36" surface area. I have been using it for 25+ years. It gets folded up and put away nightly so nothing collects on top of it. I also have a steel 30"x 60" bench on wheels that tends to be a collection area. I would love to add a wood top and vise but I am thinking stationary would be better if you are going to actually work on the bench rather than use it to hold stuff that you are not working on.
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That's the thing with a bench, it tends to accumulate stuff, stuff that isn't quite finished, stuff to work on other stuff, stuff that doesn't have any other place, and pretty soon it isn't a bench anymore. So I've been putting up shelves and hooks and so on to get the stuff off the bench, but even so one of this year's projects is to build another bench, and *that* bench won't be covered with stuff. I swear.
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Especially if you want to put a vice on it of any size at all, the table should be stationary and fairly substantial.
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wrote:

I was trying to look it up quickly and couldn't find it, but I seem to remember a folding bench project in Shop Notes in the past year or so that seemed reasonable but it wasn't in any of the issues I had sitting close at hand. Maybe check one of the online databases?
My only concern with a folding bench would be stability and strength, but if you can find a way to make a strong, stable, flat work surface that will also fold out of the way, it shouldn't be a major issue.
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On Jan 9, 10:51am, Brian Henderson

Wood Magazine had one. I think Workbench Magazine (cousin of ShopNotes) also had one in the past.
MJ Walalce
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On Wed, 9 Jan 2008 12:36:23 -0800 (PST), " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com"

That could have been it, I just remember it had a red top.
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wrote:

I've had an old B&D WorkMate for ~20 years and love it.
Of course, the size is limited but that's sort of the point.
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Malcolm Hoar wrote:

The new Stanley FatMax Project Center is similar in concept--not sure if it's a real improvement though.
The Fatmax is narrower, has built in cord storage and a power strip, folds and unfolds in a single motion, and doubles as a hand truck. Downside is that being narrower it's not as stable, and it lacks the Workmate's step that makes it easy to hold the Workmate down with your body weight.

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Malcolm Hoar wrote:

I still do!
Mine gets used as everything from a finishing table, to a shop dummy, to an actual mini-bench.
The OP should check out the "I Can Do That" series in Popular Woodworking Magazine or on popwood.com. The whole point of the series is to show real woodworking done with basic tools. The "bench" of the series is a Workmate.
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Bill Stock wrote:

My thoughts on a folding bench might be discouraging. I like my benches as solid as I can get them, which to my mind would preclude making them folding. I do a lot of hand planing and need that stability.
What I've done in a similar sized space (actually smaller than yours) is to move unnecessary stuff outside. All wood, except scraps is out. The shop vac is out. Compressor when I get it will be beside the shop vac.
The router table is on a rolling cart that stows out of the way when I'm not using it.
Everyone likes their workspace set up a bit differently. However, I'd find, like you have mentioned, that moving the stuff on the bench to be a PITA every time I folded the bench up.
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Tanus

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Tanus wrote:

While the portable won't replace a good joiner's bench, tube sand can greaty increase the stability of a small or portable bench used for hand work.
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B A R R Y wrote:

If you're careful with the design and the folder is folding against a wall then you can use the wall to obtain a great deal of rigidity.
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