How to Increase the Performance of a Folding Workbench

I like making with my palms. I especially take pleasure in generating handy objects out of wood. Regrettably, my self-designed and self-created garage 6 X 3 foot workbench has a tendency to grow to be littered with miscellaneous “stuff”, and I locate myself at my wit’s conclusion attempting to make jobs on a piece of plywood strung throughout two folding sawhorses. Not ideal, I will agree. I do take pleasure in the benefit of being able to take down and place absent the parts of my makeshift working surface area. What I really don’t like is that the doing work surface is not that secure and needs a individual established of clamps to hold the doing the job leading to the sawhorses.

Casting about for anything much more strong than a hunk of plywood and some adjustable clamps, I observed there are a amount of folding workbenches on the market place from manufacturers like Worx, Black and Decker, and bought at places like Household Depot, Lowes, and Harbor Freight. Their rates are different, but they all have identical characteristics. I specifically like benches that fold flat, are quickly stored, have built-in adjustable “vises”, and can carry average masses.

After investigating the numerous offerings, I settled on an affordable folding workbench from Harbor Freight.

Soon after researching the numerous choices, I settled on an economical folding workbench from Harbor Freight. Price tag was a identifying element. You can see what I ultimately purchased by next the website link embedded underneath in the Resource segment underneath.

The folding workbench comes as a package. The critical things are preassembled. I experienced to mount the two hand crank assemblies to the two fiberboard get the job done surface area, then mount the legs and their stiffening cross users that also double as device stations. Assembly went promptly I only required to offer a Philips head screwdriver.

Sad to say, the finished workbench doesn’t fold fully flat. But the workbench does operate as I sought after: it’s a strong, portable workbench that I can conveniently have about the household or out into the again lawn to workout my woodworking prowess. Including a couple extra pace clamps and a transportable carpenter’s 6″ vise, and I’m great to go (my initial venture was to make and connect two ¼” wooden struggling with pieces to that 6″ carpenter’s vise’s steel jaws).

Upon looking at the workbench’s construction, it arrived to me that with a couple of slight modifications, this workbench could be materially improved. And that’s what prompted me to create this “How To” report to document what I did to my workbench.

There are 5 spots on that workbench that, with some minimal rework, will materially increase its functionality and almost certainly extend its operating daily life. None of these tips are critical, or even required for the informal person. None of these suggestions are challenging to put into action, but I uncover that they will almost certainly be worth the work as time passes.

Space #1: The “fold-flat” feature.

When this workbench is assembled in accordance to the instructions, when folded, the handles lay pointing down the legs to the ground. By reversing the way the legs are mounted (exactly reversed from the installation instructions), the handles now are on top of the folded bench, point absent from the legs, and the legs do certainly entirely fold flat! An straightforward deal with.

Region #2: The hand-crank clamp lead screw adjustment.

I recognized that the board that’s mounted to the hand-cranked direct screw that would make the operate floor boards operate as a created-in vise, was loose, and flopped all-around as the handles were cranked. To cure this, I employed a wrench to tighten the crank shaft attachment on the moveable perform floor so that there was fewer enjoy as the unit is cranked. Never more than tighten, or the board is not going to go at all!

Area #3: The hand cranked lead screw sheet metallic end clamp support.

Each and every of the hand crank direct screws goes by way of an conclude plate which is bent from the leg guidance sheet metallic. If you seem carefully, you’ll discover that the guide screw plate is secured to the sidewalls by two sheet steel “ears” and two modest dimples in the sidewalls. That seems to be like a possible resource of failure downstream: practically nothing helps prevent the sidewalls from separating and allowing the crank to become unfastened. My repair? Easy: I set up a clamping and securing bolt through the sidewalls just guiding the end plate. To secure the sideplates and protecting against them from spreading apart, about 1 inch from the stop plate, I drilled a ¼” clearance gap via the two sideplates (that also mount the legs) and put a 1 ½ inch extended, ¼ -20 bolt with a washer and a locknut. Tightening the locknut makes the endplate securely clamped to the sidewall plates this will stop any tendency for that endplate keeping the leadscrew and cranking handles from coming loose around time.

Space #4: Lowering friction.

The assembly recommendations had me using a bolt, two washers, and a locknut on every single leg to keep it in place. Problem is, that signifies that the legs will wear on the sideplates. Not a great idea. I purchased 8 extra flat stainless metal washers and slipped those washers in amongst the legs and the sidepanels. Now the legs will dress in on the washers as a substitute of the sideplates. This will make the leg securing assembly consist of the bolt head, washer, sideplate, washer, leg, washer, other sideplate, washer, then the locknut. So every single of the legs now has 4 washers: two washers on the exterior of the side panels, and two washers to hold the leg from rubbing on the sidewall specifically. Yet again, never overtighten, or the workbench will not likely fold up.

Region #5: Creating things operate smoothly.

Be sure to lubricate all moving surfaces with oil, WD-40 or a dry film lubricant (You can use a mild grease on the two lead screws, but if you grease the sliding rail, I believe you’ll locate that the grease will probably be a sawdust magnet!). Be absolutely sure to lubricate all sliding or rotating joints and connectors, specifically individuals added washers on the legs exactly where they mount to the sideplates.

Place #6: Substitute the fiberboard function surfaces.

Although this is a bench intended for mild to reasonable masses, you might consider changing the worksurface’s fiberboards with lengths of 1½ X4 inch lumber, suitably drilled holes for the plastic dogging clamp inserts. If you are comfortable with a power planer or router, make a appropriate undercut to very clear the hand cranks and use 1 ½ X 6 inch planks for the work surfaces. That will give you a broader doing the job surface when the two panels are cranked to the max.

As I claimed at the starting of this posting, none of these rework items are completely needed the workbench will purpose really properly as is if you just stick to the involved assembly recommendations. But I think these insignificant mods and reworks will improve your satisfaction of this low-cost folding workbench. I know I have.