$25 Dollar Folding Work Table with Vise

handymanEvery self respecting handy-person needs a good work surface for their inspirations. Sometimes space is no problem and sometimes money is also flowing freely so its simply a matter of going to the hardware store and paying the dollars and bringing home pretty much anything your heart desires. I will assume that neither is the case which is where this handy creation comes into its own.
The work surface size is up to you limited only by your needs and scrounging abilities. I found mine at the dump….a piece of 3/4″ plywood 2 feet wide and 6 feet long. For some reason there seems to always be an abundance of plywood at the dump and often without nails to pull so this part should be easy if your local dump manager is sympathetic to your cause. If not you may have to bite the bullet and actually pay good money for your work surface but it will still be very cheap compared to just buying the finished product.
You’re going to need some legs and this, unless you happen to have some lying around, is where you will have to part with some hard earned dollars. For under $20.00 you should be able to purchase a pair of folding table legs from most any department store which will come with all mounting instructions.
Trying to make this sound technical would be very difficult….just put them on….making sure they are both on the same side of the plywood and fairly close to the ends so it doesn’t tip over when you are working on it. And there you have it! Not only will it serve as a quickly available work bench that you can take anywhere but if you make it a suitable size, by simply adding a tablecloth it doubles as a great portable picnic table. Want to look like a hero on Mothers day guys? Just take 15 minutes to throw one of these babies together, toss a bit of sawdust on the old thinning hair line, put on the “end of the work week tired look”…….and Mothers day becomes Fathers day!folding-work-bench
Pictured here the bench is pretty much as described above. If you want something a little more rigid just run a couple of one by twos along the perimeter keeping in about 2 inches from the edge so you can use a clamp on the edge if you want to hold a project firm on the table.
I work with logs and other unconventional projects a lot so a standard vise or clamp are often unable to hold them in place because of their size or shape…..and so the vise part of the table.
You may have to hit the wallet again unless you happen to have a tie down or two lying around. Again, you should be able to pick one up at any department store and they are cheap.Tie downs come in one piece or two pieces. The one piece, which is what we will be using doesn’t have a metal hook attached so the strap will run around something and then return through its own ratcheting devise. If you own a pick up or have a roof rack you should have a pair anyway as they make quick work of securing most any load and they don’t slip.
Because your work surface is wood you can cut holes in it quite easily using a few different means depending on how handy you are and what tools you have. Two holes are going to be needed running length wise along the table top as shown. Any spot will do but just try to avoid the area where the legs are attached on the underside. The holes can be any distance apart…..the further apart accommodating larger projects and closer will hold something smaller. You can drill a sequence of holes then use a small saw to cut the channel through or you could use a router with a plunge bit…I use a chain saw.garden-007
Now for the tie downs. Just weave one end through the holes so a loop is formed on the surface of the board with the tie down’s ratchet device facing you and the loose end returning to enter the ratchet part of the mechanism.
You can now put ANYTHING on your table and you will be able to hold it firmly in place while you work on it.You may at first find the ratchet part of the tie down somewhat confusing to be able to quickly tighten and then get the project out when needed.

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