Tommy’s Wall-Mounted Folding Workbench

Viewer Project - By Tommy from Venice, Italy
Added on September 5, 2012

I needed a folding workbench since I only have a small garage and there is not enough room for everything. I rejected the rule ‘Folding=Weak’, so I opted for a 2.5″ laminated top (Beech) and 2 cheaper folding legs (Fir). The top is 60″L x 25.5″W x 2.5″T and the height is 36″. I used wide steel hinges (top) and brass hinges (legs). Glue used was Titebond II.

I ripped the beech boards with a hand circular saw and then on the bandsaw in order to get as many pieces as possible 65″ long. I then jointed and planed all the smaller boards. I then ripped again into 2-3/4″ strips (2 1/2″ + extra material), totaling 20 pieces. I glued 4 pieces at a time, getting 5 larger laminated boards, then jointed and planed the boards again.

I used biscuits for the final gluing of the 5 boards into a 20 piece laminated top. This helped me achieve a flat surface, which is helpful since the only way to flatten the surface after this point is hand planing. I added two border pieces on the end grain, not glued, only tongue & groove and then screwed.

Then, many, many hours of hand planing, starting from #6 to #4 and then machine sanding, hand sanding and the finish process. I drilled 3/4″ holes for brass dogs.

I added 2 crossing fir pieces under the top, where the hinges will be attached, to distribute the stress of the hinges action equally on the top. The wooden part of vices has been taken from the same beech boards.

Legs are simple pieces of fir, hinged on the wall. They would have looked better closing toward the inside, but I preferred to make them wider, and they would not fit behind the folded top, so they move to the outside when the bench is closed.

About the oil finishing, here’s the Old Italian Woodworker’s rule: “Once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and once a year for a lifetime.”

So, first 5 coats of Tung Oil were wiped on and then wiped off after 30 minutes. Sanding with 600 grit between every coat. Then the other 7 coats were applied with a clean rag (very thin damping coats, without extra removal). No wax, no other finishes, only Tung oil. It’s a long process, but it’s renewable at every moment.

UPDATE: If you’re interested, here is a link to my website.


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