Heavy-Duty Folding Shop Table Keene NH
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Heavy-Duty Folding Shop Table
Heavy-Duty Folding Shop Table
by Tom Caspar
Need more bench space? Who doesn’t? Here’s a terrific solution: a folding worktable that’s both big and strong. And we mean strong.
You can set it up in only a minute and be ready for routing, sanding, planing—you name it. When you’re done, fold up the table into a super-compact unit only five-inches thick and stow it away. Here today, tucked away tomorrow.
Strong = Heavy
This table weighs in at about 70 lbs., a bit more than the full sheet of plywood it’s made from. A lighter table made of smaller plywood parts would be more portable, but not stiff enough to use as a real workbench (Photo 1). For heavy-duty use, extra weight is actually a plus. This table stays put!
Photo 1: This worktable is built for strength. It won’t wobble, sag or walk across the floor. Weighing 70 pounds or so, it’s not going anywhere until you stow it away.
The keys to this table’s strength are its wide rails, rigid continuous hinges and hardwood legs. The oversize rails and long hinges prevent the table from racking. The solid-wood legs prevent the plywood end panels from bending or shaking.
Go ahead and shove this table around the shop. The hardwood legs can take the punishment. Folded up, it stands on a durable hardwood rail, so you can slide the table across the floor into a small cubbyhole (Photo 2).
Photo 2: This table is built like a rock but knocks down in only a minute. You don’t need any tools and you don’t have to keep track of any loose pieces. Simply unscrew four knobs, fold the rails and legs on top of each other and tuck the worktable away.
Tools and Materials
This is a low-cost, easily built plywood project.Total cost is about $75, half for the wood and half for the hardware. You can build it in a day, no sweat, using little more than a tablesaw, jigsaw, hacksaw and a drill. All you have to do is cut a few plywood pieces to size, rip and cut some narrow 3/4-in.-hardwood boards to length and accurately drive in a whole mess of hinge screws. To make setting the hinges a lot easier, we recommend using a self-centering bit (see Sources).
Build your table from one sheet of an inexpensive grade of birch plywood (about $40). Fir plywood and MDF are even less expensive, but both are inferior substitutes. Fir plywood is usually quite twisted and MDF is way too heavy.
You’ll need some 3/4-in. solid wood for mounting the hinges. Plywood won’t do, because the hinge screws run into the edge of these boards. This would place the screws between the plies and chances are they wouldn’t hold. Pine isn’t a great choice, either, because it’s too soft to hold small screws well. Go with a hardwood that’s milled flat so you can glue its faces together. Birch or red oak are good choices.
Pick up most of the hardware at a hardware store or home center (see the Shopping List, ...