December 9, 2023

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How to Strengthen the Functionality of a Folding Workbench

How to Strengthen the Functionality of a Folding Workbench

I like generating with my fingers. I primarily appreciate making useful things out of wooden. Unfortunately, my self-intended and self-crafted garage 6 X 3 foot workbench has a inclination to become littered with miscellaneous “stuff”, and I discover myself at my wit’s close trying to establish assignments on a piece of plywood strung across two folding sawhorses. Not suitable, I will agree. I do appreciate the ease of currently being capable to consider down and place away the parts of my makeshift operating surface area. What I will not like is that the doing work area is not that steady and involves a individual established of clamps to keep the functioning prime to the sawhorses.

Casting about for some thing a lot more sturdy than a hunk of plywood and some adjustable clamps, I found there are a selection of folding workbenches on the current market from producers like Worx, Black and Decker, and sold at areas like Dwelling Depot, Lowes, and Harbor Freight. Their prices are diversified, but they all have very similar capabilities. I particularly like benches that fold flat, are easily stored, have created-in adjustable “vises”, and can have reasonable masses.

Immediately after studying the a variety of offerings, I settled on an affordable folding workbench from Harbor Freight.

Just after looking into the numerous choices, I settled on an inexpensive folding workbench from Harbor Freight. Selling price was a analyzing component. You can see what I eventually bought by adhering to the link embedded beneath in the Useful resource section below.

The folding workbench arrives as a package. The vital components are preassembled. I experienced to mount the two hand crank assemblies to the two fiberboard do the job surface, then mount the legs and their stiffening cross members that also double as resource stations. Assembly went speedily I only desired to source a Philips head screwdriver.

Sad to say, the completed workbench will not fold fully flat. But the workbench does functionality as I desired: it really is a durable, portable workbench that I can quickly carry around the house or out into the back property to training my woodworking prowess. Incorporating a handful of additional pace clamps and a moveable carpenter’s 6″ vise, and I’m great to go (my very first job was to make and connect two ¼” picket facing items to that 6″ carpenter’s vise’s steel jaws).

Upon seeking at the workbench’s building, it came to me that with a few insignificant modifications, this workbench could be materially enhanced. And which is what prompted me to create this “How To” article to document what I did to my workbench.

There are 5 spots on that workbench that, with some slight rework, will materially improve its performance and likely lengthen its working lifetime. None of these tips are vital, or even needed for the informal person. None of these tips are sophisticated to apply, but I come across that they will possibly be value the work as time passes.

Space #1: The “fold-flat” aspect.

When this workbench is assembled according to the directions, when folded, the handles lay pointing down the legs toward the ground. By reversing the way the legs are mounted (just reversed from the installation guidance), the handles now are on top rated of the folded bench, level away from the legs, and the legs do without a doubt absolutely fold flat! An easy repair.

Spot #2: The hand-crank clamp guide screw adjustment.

I discovered that the board that’s mounted to the hand-cranked guide screw that helps make the get the job done floor boards functionality as a built-in vise, was free, and flopped about as the handles were being cranked. To cure this, I applied a wrench to tighten the crank shaft attachment on the moveable perform surface area so that there was a lot less enjoy as the device is cranked. Really don’t about tighten, or the board will never transfer at all!

Place #3: The hand cranked guide screw sheet metallic conclusion clamp help.

Just about every of the hand crank lead screws goes by way of an end plate which is bent from the leg guidance sheet metallic. If you look carefully, you can expect to recognize that the direct screw plate is secured to the sidewalls by two sheet metal “ears” and two smaller dimples in the sidewalls. That appears like a prospective resource of failure downstream: nothing helps prevent the sidewalls from separating and enabling the crank to turn into free. My correct? Simple: I set up a clamping and securing bolt by means of the sidewalls just powering the close plate. To safe the sideplates and protecting against them from spreading apart, about 1 inch from the conclude plate, I drilled a ¼” clearance gap as a result of the two sideplates (that also mount the legs) and put a 1 ½ inch very long, ¼ -20 bolt with a washer and a locknut. Tightening the locknut makes the endplate securely clamped to the sidewall plates this will protect against any tendency for that endplate keeping the leadscrew and cranking handles from coming free about time.

Place #4: Minimizing friction.

The assembly instructions had me employing a bolt, two washers, and a locknut on each and every leg to maintain it in position. Challenge is, that implies that the legs will dress in on the sideplates. Not a fantastic idea. I acquired 8 extra flat stainless metal washers and slipped people washers in involving the legs and the sidepanels. Now the legs will wear on the washers as an alternative 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 of the legs now has 4 washers: two washers on the exterior of the aspect panels, and two washers to hold the leg from rubbing on the sidewall immediately. Again, you should not overtighten, or the workbench would not fold up.

Area #5: Making things run effortlessly.

Be positive to lubricate all relocating surfaces with oil, WD-40 or a dry movie lubricant (You can use a mild grease on the two direct screws, but if you grease the sliding rail, I feel you’ll come across that the grease will likely be a sawdust magnet!). Be positive to lubricate all sliding or rotating joints and connectors, particularly those added washers on the legs the place they mount to the sideplates.

Region #6: Exchange the fiberboard do the job surfaces.

Even though this is a bench designed for light-weight to moderate masses, you may well contemplate changing the worksurface’s fiberboards with lengths of 1½ X4 inch lumber, suitably drilled holes for the plastic dogging clamp inserts. If you are at ease with a energy planer or router, make a suited undercut to apparent the hand cranks and use 1 ½ X 6 inch planks for the get the job done surfaces. That will give you a broader doing work surface area when the two panels are cranked to the max.

As I mentioned at the starting of this short article, none of these rework products are certainly vital the workbench will functionality extremely well as is if you just observe the bundled assembly instructions. But I imagine these slight mods and reworks will make improvements to your pleasure of this economical folding workbench. I know I have.