Posted by Ash
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Digging through my scrap wood collection, I came across some pieces of pegboard from our previous home that I had forgotten about. I had just relocated a lot of garden tools to the shed, and there was an empty wall in the garage that would now be perfect for the pegboard.
After mounting the pegboard and hanging up some tools, the wall still looked a little empty. I had a vision of mounting a heavy duty folding workbench to the wall.
This was the perfect location, and if the workbench folded, we could still fit the car in the garage.
Moreover, I was also in desperate need of a good workbench, as I had been using the driveway and garage floor for all my projects.
The lack of a completely flat and level surface made projects more difficult. So I embarked on this bucket list project of building my own workbench.
First off, the pegboard needed to be installed. I had to create a slight gap between the wall and the board to allow the hooks to be inserted.
I used some scrap 1 x 3 wood left over from a prior project to create the gap.
Using my table saw, I cut the wood in half lengthwise to make 1 x 1.5 strips and screwed them to the studs behind the drywall.
Here’s a picture of the wall showing the mounted strips:
Then I hoisted up each 2 x 8 pegboard sheet and screwed them into the wood strips, using washers to secure the board. It all just seemed too simple, and I needed more of a challenge.
Then I remembered some French cleat shelves I recently built in between the two garage doors (post to come soon!). They were portable shelves that could be removed from the wall by simply lifting, yet they were very sturdy when mounted.
So I quickly made 4 shallow box shelves and rigged up a French cleat system for them.
Here’s a picture of the shelves, along with the pegboard and my fancy tool collection:
With the pegboard and shelves installed, I could start on the workbench. To come up with the design, I first did a lot of research on existing workbenches, especially folding ones. I was initially considering one that folded up to cover the pegboard when not in use. A nice feature of that design was that it left below the pegboard intact and I could make use of the space for shelving in the future. I ended up ditching that idea because it would hinder my ability to get tools off the pegboard when the table was folded up. The extra space below the pegboard was not worth that inconvenience.
Thus, my workbench was going to fold downwards. Many fold down tables I came across had built in legs at the front that swung down. I wanted to make my table free of legs to give a more roomy feel, and also allow easy access to the floor when the table was down. Sweeping up a sawdust covered floor is a lot easier with no table legs in the way. So finally, all my research culminated into a custom design, which I created in TinkerCad.
Here are the TinkerCAD diagrams of the table in the up and down position:
As you can see in the diagrams, the table would be supported with 3 wall mounted legs. Each leg would rest on hinges, allowing them to swing inwards and lay flat against the wall. With the legs folded in, the tabletop (also resting on hinges) would fold downwards to lay on top of the legs. I really liked this floating table design and was eager to start work on it.
The workbench construction consisted of 3 main parts - tabletop, legs, and wall mounts. When all 3 pieces were completed, it was just a matter of securing them to each other with hinges. So first I started with the tabletop. I opted to use several planks of 2 x 8 and 2 x 4 wood for the top, much like a picnic table. I liked the look because it blended in well with my existing garage shelves (including a sliding shelf behemoth I made a few months ago). I first cut the planks to size (85” long).
Then to assemble them together, I used a number of techniques. First I drilled 10 pocket holes along the length of each board. I used the Kreg Pocket Hole jig to precisely drill all the holes. Then I applied construction adhesive to sides of the planks, clamped them together tightly and fastened them to each other with 2.5" pocket hole screws.
Just a quick mention about wood clamps - if you're really getting into some wood working projects lately and don't already have a variety of wood clamps, I would strongly recommend getting some. For years, I never had the need for any. Then about a year ago, I had to borrow a neighbor's 3ft bar clamp to help hold some warped wood in place while I drilled it down. I was hooked ever since. Now I've accumulated a host of clamps ranging from 3" C clamps to 3ft bar clamps. For the bar clamps, I always try to get them in pairs because many clamping scenarios are better with multiple pressure points. A lot of bar clamps also convert to spreaders, which let you "spread" a certain distance between two pieces of wood (never thought I'd use that feature, but trust me, you'll run into a scenario where you'll want to pry apart two pieces of wood). I've also got a few 90 degree clamps, which are a godsend for building bookshelves (or any other scenario where you need to secure two pieces of wood perpendicular to each other). I even use an awesome Kreg face clamp to keep two pieces of wood perfectly flush for joining (also use it for the pocket hole jig to keep it in place as well). Alright, enough rambling about wood clamps.
Finally, I ran 3 perpendicular 2 x 4 supports underneath the tabletop for additional strength. These supports also serve as stops for the swinging legs, so the spacing of them was actually determined by the positions of the legs on the wall.
Here are pictures of the top and bottom of the tabletop once completed:
The tabletop was very heavy but sturdy. The surface and edges were a little rough, but I planned to sand it down in the end and route the edges with a rounding over bit. Next up were the table legs. Each leg was comprised of 2 pieces of 2 x 10 planks, cut to 27” in length. The planks were secured to each other very similar to the table top (with pocket holes and wood glue).
I did notch the corner of each leg structure with a 45 degree cut for a nice angled design. This would give me more leg room, and also eliminate a pointed edge to get snagged on. Here’s a picture of one of the legs being worked on (the workbench was already becoming very handy, even just resting on some sawhorses!):
The next task was to bolt 2 x 4 mounts into the wall studs. I used 3.5” lag bolts for the fasteners, and made sure they were perfectly level.
Here is a picture of the completed mounts:
For the horizontal 2x4 (that the table top will hinge to) that connects to each vertical support, I used 5 fasteners to secure it - 3 lag bolts to attach to each vertical support and two 6" TimberLok screws in between the vertical supports to attach it directly to two additional wall studs.
For the lag bolts, it was essential that they be flush with the surface of the wood. Up until recently, countersinking lag bolts was not a clean and easy task for me. This was until I bought a set of Forstner bits that made the task a breeze. Unlike regular drill bits, these bits are specially made to cut flat bottom holes to precise depths.
Here a picture of one of the bolts up close countersunk with a Forstner bit (note the gap around the bolt head to allow room for the socket spanner):
Finally, with the 3 main project segments completed (table top, legs, mounts), I could start attaching them to each other with hinges. Prior to a Home Depot trip for all the lumber, I stopped by the local Habitat for Humanity Restore. I was in luck because I picked up 12 used door hinges for a mere $3. Home Depot was selling a pack of brand new ones for $23.
I highly recommend the Habitat stores if you happen to live near to one. They can sometimes yield big savings for your DIY projects. Attaching the hinges went on fairly easily. I used three of the regular door hinges for each leg, and then I used 3 heavy duty hinges for the table top.
Here’s a picture of the legs mounted with some hinges (once again, a level was used to ensure accurate alignments):
After the three table legs were mounted, I rested the heavy table top on them. I positioned the table in place, and attached it to the wall mounts with the 3 heavy duty hinges. I used two types of fasteners for the hinges. For the wall mount connection, I used four 1/4" lag bolts per hinge. For the table top connection, I used Simpson 1.5" structural screws (btw these screws are amazing for all sorts of projects due to their anchoring strength, so I always have some on hand in the garage). To prevent the doors from accidentally swinging shut while the table was down, I attached a small bolt lock on each leg to lock them into place.
Here’s a picture of one of the heavy duty hinges used to fasten the table top to the wall mounts::
Here’s a picture of the bolt lock in action to secure the swinging legs (note the rectangular notch I had to make on two of the legs to account for the heavy duty table top hinge when folded inwards):
The workbench was practically complete at this point. The tabletop just needed a good sanding, and the edges needed a nice routed cut (I used a 3/8" radius round over edging bit with my plunge router).
Here’s a picture of the tabletop corner once routed (looks very professional, doesn’t it?):
Finally the folding workbench was complete. I was confident in its strength, so both Eileen and I sat on it to prove that it was a sturdy design. The table did not even budge.
This was a much needed addition to my workshop/garage and will be getting a lot of use in the very near future. Lumber and materials costed around $150 and the entire project was completed over the weekend. Here are some pictures of the final product:
Eileen is going to paint that wall for me, and she has an idea for further tool organization on the pegboard. Stay tuned for an updated picture.
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Hi! We're Ash and Eileen, and we are sharing our home project stories with you. From crafty projects to home maintenance to more ambitious DIY endeavors, we hope our stories inspire you to check a few things off your project list! :)