I like to create with my hands. I especially like to create useful items out of wood. Unfortunately, my self-designed and self-built garage 6 X 3 foot workbench tends to get littered with miscellaneous “stuff”, and I find myself on the verge of building projects on a piece of plywood stretched over two folding saw horses. Not ideal, I would agree. I appreciate the convenience of being able to remove and put away the components of my improvised work surface. What I do not like is that the work surface is not as stable and needs a separate set of clamps to hold the worktop to the saw horses.
I have found that there are a number of folding benches on the market from manufacturers such as Worx, Black and Decker, and they are sold at places like Home Depot, Lowes and Harbor Freight. . The prices are different, but all have similar features. I especially like benches that fold flat, can be easily stored, have built-in adjustable “fishes” and can carry moderate loads.
After researching the various offerings, I sat down on a cheap folding workbench from Harbor Freight.
After researching the various offerings, I sat down on a cheap folding bench from Harbor Freight. Price was a determining factor. You can see what I finally bought by following the link below in the section below.
The folding workbench is read as a kit. The critical elements are pre-assembled. I had to mount the two handrail to the two fiberboard work, and then mount the legs and their reinforcing crossbars that also serve as tool stations. Meeting proceeded swiftly; I just had to supply a Philips screwdriver.
Unfortunately, the finished workbench does not fold completely flat. But the workbench does work the way I want it to: it is a sturdy, portable workbench that I can easily carry in the house or in the backyard to practice my woodworking skills. If I add some extra speed clamps, and a portable carpenter’s 6 “screw, and I’m good to get started (my first project was to make two hout” wooden flat pieces to the metal caps of the 6 “carpenter’s screw and fasten make).
When I looked at the workbench’s construction, it occurred to me that this workbench could significantly improve with a few small adjustments. And that’s what motivated me to write this “How To” article to document what I did to my workbench.
There are five areas on the workbench that, with a few minor reworkings, will significantly improve work performance and likely extend its working hours. None of these suggestions are critical or even necessary for the informal user. None of these proposals are complicated to implement, but I find that they will probably be worthwhile over time.
Area no. 1: The “fold-flat” function.
When this workbench is assembled according to the instructions, the handles lie on the legs facing the floor. By the way the legs are mounted, to reverse (exactly the opposite of the installation instructions), the handles are now on top of the folded bench, pointing away from the legs, and the legs indeed fold completely flat! An easy solution.
Area 2: adjusting the screw with the hand crank clamp.
I noticed that the board mounted on the hand-tossed lead screw, which allows the work surface boards to function as a built-in bench screw, was loose and tossed around while the handles were slapped. To fix this, I used a wrench to tighten the crankshaft mounting on the movable work surface so that there is less play as the unit is tossed. Do not pull too tight, otherwise the board will not move at all!
Area # 3: The hand-tossed lead screw plate clamp support.
Each of the hand crank screws passes through an end plate that is bent from the plate plate. If you look closely, you will see that the lead screw plate is attached to the side walls by two “metal plates” and two small dimples in the side walls. This seems to be a possible source of failure downstream: nothing prevents the sidewalls from separating and the crank from being released. My solution? Simple: I fitted a clamping and fixing bolt through the sidewalls just behind the end plate. To secure the side plates and prevent them from spreading apart, about 1 inch from the end plate, I drilled a ¼ “clearance hole through the two side plates (which also mount the legs) and a 1 ½ inch long, ¼ -20 bolt with When tightening the locknut, the end plate is securely clamped to the side wall plates, this will prevent the tendency of the end plate to hold the lead screw and the crank handles to loosen over time.
Area # 4: Reducing friction.
At the assembly instructions, I had to use a bolt, two rings, and a locknut on each leg to hold it in place. The problem is that this means that the legs will carry on the side plates. Not a good idea. I bought another eight flat stainless steel laundries and tossed the rings between the legs and side panels. Now the legs will carry on the washers instead of the side plates. This allows the leg protection assembly to consist of the bolt head, washer, side plate, washer, leg, washer, other side plate, washer and then the locknut. Each of the legs therefore now has 4 washers: two washers on the outside of the side panels and two washers to prevent the leg from rubbing directly on the side wall. Again, do not turn too hard, otherwise the workbench will not work.
Area # 5: To make things run smoothly.
Lubricate all moving surfaces with oil, WD-40™ or a dry film lubricant (you can use a light grease on the two lead screws, but if you lubricate the slide rail, I think you will find that the grease is likely to be a saw magnet!). Lubricate all sliding and turning joints and connectors, especially attached rings on the legs where it mounts to the side plates.
Area # 6: Replace the fiberboard work surfaces.
Although it is a bench designed for light to moderate loads, you may want to consider replacing the fiberboard of the work surface with lengths of 1½ X4 inches of wood, suitable for drilling for the plastic clamp inserts. If you are comfortable with a power planer or router, make a suitable cut to remove the hand crank and use 1 ½ X 6 inch boards for the work surfaces. This gives you a wider work surface when the two panels are thrown a maximum.
As I said at the beginning of this article, none of these rework items are absolutely necessary; the workbench will work very well, just as you follow the accompanying assembly instructions. But I think these little mods and rework will enhance your enjoyment of this cheap folding workbench. I know I have.