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How To Make A DIY Portable Workbench For Your RV (Or Tiny House!)


[Reposted from MobileRik.com]

Would you find it handy to have a sturdy space-saving portable workbench you can easily stow away?

You can bet I totally do! I was looking for an easy way to do my projects on the road, when I came across the Sta-bull Ta-bull project on 911Kisses.net. To say it was exactly what I was looking for is a bit of an understatement. As you’ll see in the video, I rushed so quickly to get the parts I needed that I made a number of short cuts that proved, shall we say, “very educational.”
Essentially the Mobile Workbench is a portable “saw-horse and vise” style workbench (ideally a Black & Decker Workmate 125) with a removable work surface, fold-up peg board wall to keep your tools handy-but-out-of-the-way, and a drawer to store any tools that you wish to stay with the work bench.
portable workbenchFeeling like I needed a usable workbench “like, yesterday”, I was a bit dismayed to discover that the recommended workbench isn’t sold in stores, although the Workmate 125 is easily available through Amazon or Ebay for $30 with free shipping.  Not wanting to wait for it to arrive, I checked my local Harbor Freight and picked up a cheap imitation on sale for just $16.99. Upon assembling it, I quickly figured out a few reasons why I should just order the Black & Decker (described in the video) and return the cheap U.S. General to Harbor Freight. But since I had a zillion projects on my agenda, I decided to just, as they say, “make it work!”
Knowing that I’d eventually swap it out for the Workmate, I wanted a way to make a less-than-permanent installation, leading to what’s become an interesting variation in quite a few respects. Some of the changes I made as what I consider to be all-around small improvements. But the biggest change was the “flexible” way I attached the top to the bench, so that you could potentially use it with different sets of legs, if you wanted to upgrade later or just rotate between different workbenches.



The Black & Decker Workmate 125

Parts & Instructions

Here are the parts recommended in the original project (in normal color), arranged according to what goes together, with any of my revisions listed in blue:
BOTTOM (LEGS):
(1) Black & Decker Workmate 125 Work Bench
($30) <– Strongly recommended
- OR -
(1) Any lightweight portable workbench
WORK SURFACE:
(1) 24″x24″ section of 3/4″ plywood (about $10-15)
- OR -
(1) 24″x24″ section of 1/2″ scrap plywood/OSB/MDF +
(1) 24″x24″ section of 1/4″ scrap hardboard (about $1 from the scrap bin)
(1) (small amount of spare wood glue or All-Purpose glue to adhere the pieces
(1) (alternative) small pack of finishing nails or carpet tacks if you want an easily replaceable surface
BACK WALL:
- (1) 18″x24″ Peg Board ($3-5)
TO ATTACH THE WALL:
(To make it retractable)
  • (2) Small 1″ hinges w/ screws
  • (6) 3/8″ machine screws
  • (6) nuts that fit the screws
(To make it stand up)
  • (6) screws that came with the hinges
  • - (2) 1/4″ wide x 1/2″ long thumb screws
  • - (2) 1/4″ inner diameter threaded screw insert that the thumb screws fit into
TO ATTACH THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM:
  • (4) 3″ Toggle bolts
  • (4) Washers
- OR -
  • (2) 4″ Machine screws
  • (2) large wing nuts that fit the screws
  • (2) 8″ sections of 1″x2″ wood
SUPPLY DRAWER
- OR -
  • (1) Any 6-Qt. Plastic Box
  • (4) Wood Screws to serve as drawer “rails”

Watch the video to see how it all fits together!

Overall, it’s really not a tough project at all. The only thing that really created a detour was my need to come up with a creative way to make the work surface usable with different legs.
Provided you just go ahead and get the Workmate 125, I think attaching the top the way 911Kisses.net does it will work well, as long as you countersink holes, so you can have a flat work surface… especially if  always have a power screwdriver handy to pull out the toggle bolts, because the bolts are long.
For attaching the pegboard wall, I think using the thumb screw and screw-insert trick you see in my video is a good improvement.
NOTE: At some point I may break the long video into parts. For now, here’s where the sections start:
  • 0:00 Intro
  • 2:24 Parts and Strategy
  • 5:16 The workbench surface
  • 7:51 Connecting the surface to the bench
  • 11:24 “Clever” way to integrate a makeshift drawer
  • 18:15 Testing the makeshift drawer
  • 20:53 Installing the pegboard wall
  • 23:34 Evaluating the results

Hi, I'm Mobile Rik! Visit my home site MobileRik.com and check out my growing collection of projects and ideas for building a super-frugal sustainable DIY RV Truck Camper to Live Off The Grid.

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