Semi-permanent workbench project....

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Victorthesecond

Established Member
Joined
5 Apr 2022
Messages
76
Reaction score
43
Location
Preston
Hello everyone. We have a converted garage (with bathroom) that is used when we have all of our family visit and is used as a bedroom - in the space (other than the bathroom) there is a sofa bed. The room isn't used for anything else, so has become somewhere to dump stuff and I'm keen to make better use of it!

What I am planning is to build a workbench in a sort of frame around the sofa bed. The sofa bed will be protected from dust etc by a good quality plastic cover that will go over the whole thing. Effectively, the workbench will go across the seating area / arms of the settee - the back of the sofa bed will still be visible but, as I say, will be protected from dust. There shouldn't be any risk of damage to the back of the sofa bed as all the work will be done at the front of the bench. I could always place a wooden back to the top of the bench to ensure no damage to the sofa bed.

My plan is that the actual bench will be a simple affair with 2 "H" frames at each end. These will be connected lengthways to give some stability, and there will be a centre piece connecting the front to the rear. The top will be 2 pieces of solid MDF (which I already have) and which will rest on the framework, supported in the middle (ie at each end of the 2 pieces of MDF) and by each of the "H" frames.

I need to make it easy to dismantle when the room needs to be used (that is perhaps only a few weeks each year). (I'm not sure where the dismantled parts will be stored yet but will find space somewhere!)

Hopefully, the rather rough picture attached will show this plan! The width (i.e side to side) is 2m, the depth (front to back) is 700mm and the height will be 1m.

I think I can just "drop" the MDF onto the frame and simply insert coach bolts through the MDF into corresponding holes in the top of each upright (also , I think, on the centre support) and that will hold the top in place. The coach bolt heads will be sunk into the MDF. Coach bolts supporting the centre can easily be secured by using a bolt to go all the way through the supporting lengths and using a wing nut underneath. It doesn't, I don't think, need to any more securely attached - this isn't going to be used for any heavy duty work but much more as a) simply somewhere to keep tools handy and b) somewhere to work on for modest projects. So, the bolts at each corner will simply act as sort of pegs.... There won't be a vice or anything like that attached.

I'm also thinking that I can attach each "H" to the supporting (front and rear) lengths by inserting a coach bolt into each "H", drill a corresponding hole into the ends of the supporting lengths for the coach bolt to pass through, and then drill out a hole (underneath each supporting length) that is big enough to let me insert a wing nut and screw it onto the coach bolt.

I'd appreciate any other ideas! Also, I think I can use 4x2 lengths of timber for each "H" and all the supporting material, but am happy to be guided if you think differently....

Thank you in advance of any ideas!

Mike
 

Attachments

  • PXL_20231127_163824918.MP.jpg
    PXL_20231127_163824918.MP.jpg
    4.3 MB · Views: 0
If it can be against a wall, could you mount back edge of bench on sturdy hinges along wall, turny-cleat-thingy to hold it up when its not being a bench, legs along front edge hinge down when it is a workbench.

If you are prepared for wrath of the family:

Dispose of sofa bed
Build big pernmanent workbench 6ft6 x 4ft6
Buy mattress to fit bench top
Make small set of steps to get up into bed :)
 
Ha! Sounds a great idea. But you mentioned the wrath..... And after 40 years of marriage, I'm wise enough to know how far I can stretch this! Sadly, it's not going to be against a wall but needs to be free standing.....
 
Build big permanent workbench 6ft6 x 4ft6
Or two benches which lock together..
It sounds for a very good option to me, nice foot stool saw horses to match too.
Don't forget to install a sliding deadman!

Perhaps the height might be the dealbreaker, but where there's a will...
Introducing the Jack bench
Though not sure how low it can go, it might give some ideas.

 
How about using 4 big door hinges, to hinge the legs up and away. Some braces to stay the legs?
 
You could make it along the lines of a folding pasting table but using 4x2 or 3x2 etc, then an extra full size top that sits on top.
That way the main top can be stored flat against a wall, then the base folded and stashed elsewhere?
 
There's a lot to be said about a long, i.e 8 foot floating top, slim fire door etc...
which can be stored upright.
Make some nice trestles to support it, preferably something which allows for strechers,
should the top sag, then a chok under that would sort it.

The length of the longer top being very sensible, as it can be braced against a wall or somethin else, perhaps another little bench or whatever, what's against it, and you're not going to be planing into a wall, nor having to deal with not being able to see the ends of the work whilst prepping stock.

Pretty darn difficult to sort out lateral stability otherwise, should you be using hand tools like planes, which to be fair, is probably the only way a workshop can work in this environment.
You'll often hear Rob Cosman mentioning something along the lines of "I've never coughed up a shaving"
Perhaps have a look at Mitch Peacock's workshop for a taste of handwork, should you wish to work
cleanly and be the healthier for it, as guessing you don't wish to invest in extraction,
what would be needed if going with the messy and noisy approach, with screaming lunchbox planers, or filthy sanders, with a bench what won't hold up for anything but that.

Ben here made a nice pair of trestles what would be apt, very similar to Kris Harbour's ones.

All the best
Tom
 
Here's an idea. As suggested, make up the top with 2 layers separated by 2x1 or thereabouts so it's rigid but not too heavy. Make, or buy, 2 trestles. If you leave a gap or two, or holes, on the edges of the sandwich you can use clamps to hold the top to the trestles without anything projecting above the surface. Good enough for most things apart from heavy duty planing and similar. Can be used for other things like when the sewing machine needs to be out or as a drawing board.

One side will be the working surface. On the other, bottom, face paste posters, photos, magazine covers, whatever and varnish with quick dry acrylic. When it's not a workbench, it stands against the wall as a giant picture frame with the trestles stored elsewhere.

I also wondered if you might find a garden furniture/bbq cover to keep the sofa bed clean, if the size is right it might be a decent close fit.
 
i don't think you'll be able to keep the dust out of the soft furnishing, any power tool will atomise the dust and it will get in anywhere it can, it not like keeping rain off a garden bench.
 
Here's an idea. As suggested, make up the top with 2 layers separated by 2x1 or thereabouts so it's rigid but not too heavy. Make, or buy, 2 trestles. If you leave a gap or two, or holes, on the edges of the sandwich you can use clamps to hold the top to the trestles without anything projecting above the surface. Good enough for most things apart from heavy duty planing and similar. Can be used for other things like when the sewing machine needs to be out or as a drawing board.

One side will be the working surface. On the other, bottom, face paste posters, photos, magazine covers, whatever and varnish with quick dry acrylic. When it's not a workbench, it stands against the wall as a giant picture frame with the trestles stored elsewhere.

I also wondered if you might find a garden furniture/bbq cover to keep the sofa bed clean, if the size is right it might be a decent close fit.
Put the 2x1 on edge too will help increase stiffness.
 
i don't think you'll be able to keep the dust out of the soft furnishing, any power tool will atomise the dust and it will get in anywhere it can, it not like keeping rain off a garden bench.
Fair point. Thinking back, in similar but temporary situations I have covered the soft furnishings with something like an old blanket or sheets then over that a plastic mock-tarpaulin. That works and the inner layer can be washed.
 
Fair point. Thinking back, in similar but temporary situations I have covered the soft furnishings with something like an old blanket or sheets then over that a plastic mock-tarpaulin. That works and the inner layer can be washed.
I think there is a difference between a temporary dust sheet used when needed and designing a space for regular dust creating use and expecting the soft furnishings not to be penetrated by dust.

Also sitting on a sofa that is a bit dusty isn't a big deal, sleeping on a bed that is dusty, breathing it in for several hours in close contact is a different situation, not one the i'd fancy, especially if you cut up a lot of chemical infused wood, mdf, pallets, tanalised etc

Dust aside, I think I'd go down the trestles and torsion box top route, though there is also the murphy bed style, wall mounted bench, as per a recent 'DIY for knucklheads' video
 
Any dust you create will get behind and plastic covers. Unless you want to vacuum plastic cover it.
 
Exactly what will the bench be used for?
If its a gentle hobbies sort of bench you could get away with a dismantlable osb top/door/sheet of ply etc and cover furnishings as above, if its machine sanding/planing/cutting then the top/setup will need to be more substantial and I think you are on a no win fight with dust.
You have somewhere to store whatever tools you will acquire to use on the bench?
Buy a shed is a better solution
 
For such a short usage time as a bedroom, why not put the guests up in a local travel lodge as needed, then snaffle the room as a full time workshop 😀 😉
 
Thank you all so much for your ideas and comments. They were all genuinely thought about. In the end, I've decided to concede some space and have bought one of these: Keter Folding Work Bench. I can happily use this for the small projects I tend to do and the portability/ ease of storage is attractive. Appreciate its not for everyone and won't come close to what you guys may have access to, but I think it will work for me. Thank you again.
 
Thank you all so much for your ideas and comments. They were all genuinely thought about. In the end, I've decided to concede some space and have bought one of these: Keter Folding Work Bench. I can happily use this for the small projects I tend to do and the portability/ ease of storage is attractive. Appreciate its not for everyone and won't come close to what you guys may have access to, but I think it will work for me. Thank you again.
that looks like a good option at a good price, keter stuff is normally pretty well made, would be interested to hear how you get on with that
 

Latest posts

Back
Top