Build A Space Saving Workbench

  • Handyman magazine, DIY, Build a Space Saving Workbench

Most of us have a single car garage which means our workspace has to double as a parking area. If that’s the case at your place then this is the bench for you.
At 400mm wide this bench can be positioned against a wall and when the car is out of the way it opens up to a generous 1540 x 800mm worktop.
The front half of the benchtop is hinged and simply lifts up, with pivoting support arms that are held
in position by removable ring bolts.
It has an underbench shelf that’s handy for keeping power tools and also large enough for paint tins, plus four drawers for storing DIY materials.
Made from plywood with a pine frame, the benchtop and drawer faces are finished with clear polyurethane and the rest with green acrylic paint.
TIP Hang a pegboard over the bench to keep hand tools within easy reach.

Cut the components

The bench is cut from two sheets of 15mm thick CD plywood with the bench back and drawer bases cut from 6mm plywood.
Have the components cut to size by your supplier or use a circular saw and straightedge guide.
The bench frames are cut from 90 x 45mm pine with the 20 x 19mm drawer guides cut along the grain from an offcut of 90 x 19mm pine.
Make sure you select the sheets of CD plywood carefully, as it is not an appearance-grade product. The knots and any defects are filled on the C side, so use it facing out. 


Use PVA adhesive on all joints and assemble the frames with 75mm x 8g timber screws. Build the drawers and attach the fixed benchtop, base, shelf, sides and divider with 40mm x 8g timber screws. Add the support arms with coachscrews.
Secure the hinges to the folding top with 15mm x 8g screws and into the frame with 30mm x 8g screws. Attach the drawer bases, cabinet back and drawer guides with 30mm x 8g screws, using 25mm x 8g screws for the drawer faces and handles. Secure the brace with 45mm x 8g screws.

Folding the benchtop 

The drop-down top means that when the bench isn’t in use it’s only 400mm wide and doesn’t encroach on valuable floorspace.
Butt hinges allow the top to swing up and down with support arms on the sides rotating to carry the weight of the top.
The arms are locked in position with ring bolts pushed through clearance holes.
To secure the arms more positively, tap T nuts into the clearance holes and wind the ring bolts into them.

Step 1. Assemble the carcass

Position the frame sides between the fronts and backs, securing with screws. Secure the frames to the fixed benchtop and base, turn the benchtop upside down and position the sides, securing with screws into the top frame then attach the base frame

Step 2. Attach the shelf

Position the shelf using the divider and offcuts as supports. Mark the shelf position on the sides then drill pilot holes between the marked lines and secure with screws. Position the bench face down and secure the back panel with screws at 300mm centres.

Step 3. Install drawer guides

Position the divider, checking for a neat fit so the shelf is not bowed. Mark the divider location on the base and shelf then drill pilot holes and secure with screws. Secure the base drawer guides first then measure up 165mm to secure the top guides.

Step 4. Build the drawers

Position the drawer sides between the fronts and backs, securing with screws at each corner. Add the bases, slide in the drawers and shim the faces with even gaps, attaching the handles first so the drawers can be removed to secure the faces from the inside.

Step 5. Secure the folding top

Turn the bench upside down and butt the folding benchtop against the fixed top. Position hinges 75mm from the sides and in the centre, securing with screws to the folding top and the frame. Centre the brace on the folding benchtop and secure with screws.

Step 6. Add the support arms

Cut a half-circle on one end of the support arms using a jigsaw, and a 45º angle on the other. Position the arms against the sides, drill 6mm pilot holes and secure with coachscrews. Drill 10mm diameter holes for the ring bolts through the arms and frame sides.

Click on the diagram

This diagram breaks down each element of the space saving workbench and provides measurements in mm. Use the diagram as a guide while building.

Click on the diagram

This diagram breaks down each element of the drawers in the space saving workbench. Measurements are in mm.

Click on the cutting list

The cutting list breaks down the materials you need for the job, providing you with information about what size the material needs to be and how many pieces you will need. Use this as your shopping list.

Vote It Up: