Hubby How To: DIY Flipping Workbench
Do you have a lot of large tools constantly taking up precious workbench area and work space!? We’ve designed a flipping workbench system that can store multiple large tools, while maximizing your work space. This post will cover the materials, tools, and step-by-step instructions on how to build your own DIY flipping workbench.
When you’re in project mode, you want quick and easy access to your tools, especially the larger, bulkier tools. But these large tools take up a ton of space and compete with precious workspace in a garage or workshop.
We love coming up with creative DIY solutions in our home, especially when it lets us be more efficient and organized. With a lot of tools and limited space, we knew there had to be a way to maximize our workshop space and still make all our large tools easily accessible.
We designed a 96″x 48″ workbench with three flipping table sections that could support our large tools, store them when we weren’t using them, and give us lots of tool-free work surface. So we’re sharing our DIY plans and step-by-step instructions so that you can build a flipping workbench for your home workshop, too!
Store Large Tools Without Sacrificing Work Space
We actually inherited a lot of our tools from our grandparents, so we always had more tools than space prior to building a flipping workbench. It meant constantly moving tools out of the way or having to lift them onto a work surface.
The best part about being able to flip tools out of the way is that you never have to work around the other tools. For example, when trying to cut down a long board on the miter saw, you can flip the other tools out of the way and have open work space to accommodate the long board. You can also have all the tools flipped down and stored in order to have plenty of space for any project glue ups or sanding.
We’ve kept the design simple and only use two 4×8 sheets and some 8’ boards. We actually built two of these flipping workbenches to make a combined 16’ workbench with six flipping table sections to store all our large tools. It’s been a game-changer for our small workshop. Go check out how we organized and set up our entire small workshop!
When it comes to deciding what tools to attach to the flipping workbench, consider a couple of safety items:
- Will you be able to safely use the tool at this height?
- Can you safely secure the tool? Are the attachments strong enough?
- Will you be able to physically lift it to flip? Is it too heavy?
The flipping boxes and latches are strong, but as with any workshop and tools, you’re responsible for making sure it’s safe.
We currently have a bandsaw, router table, 12” planer, miter saw, benchtop belt sander, and an angle grinder attached to our flipping workbench. We wouldn’t recommend attaching something like a table saw for safety concerns and it would be mounted too high.
Overall, always consider if you can safely use the tool when flipped up and that it can be strongly secured to the flipping table section.
Tools & Materials For A DIY Flipping Workbench
- Drill & Drill Bits & Drill Block
- Help drill straight plumb holes – Forstner Bits or Portable Drill Press or Drill Press (Optional)
- Tape Measure
- Jig Saw
- Miter Saw OR Table Saw
- Router w/ a Flush Trim Bit (Optional)
- 1.75″ Zinc Plated Barrel Slide Bolt Latch
- depending on how the manufacturer measures this could also be called a 2.5″ bolt
- 1/2″ x 4′ x 8′ Plywood Sheet or OSB Board (or other)
- 2″ x 4″ x 96″ Board
- 2.5″ Construction Screws
- 1″ Construction Screws
- 1/2″ DIA x 92″ Pipe
- Wood Glue
Flipping Workbench Build Process
Step 1: Get Workbench Plans & Materials
As always, the first thing that you need is a plan. We have a plan set available in our Shop or on our Etsy Shop for this build. And you are free to adjust it to make it work for your space.
Once you have the plans, you’ll need to get materials. The plans include a page with the shopping list so you can take it to the store and make sure to get everything you need.
For the main framing of the workbench, we just used construction lumber. Just make sure to check each board you buy to ensure it is straight and free of any major defects. If you are struggling to find good boards, consider buying a wider board and then ripping it down to size when you get back to your shop.
For the top of the workbench, you will need some kind of sheet good. Plywood is always a good option. In our case, we wanted to be able to drill and screw into our workbench and generally let it get beaten up without worrying about how it looks. So we decided to save some money and use ½” OSB board. If you want a nicer finished product, then melamine makes a great workbench top since wood glue doesn’t stick to it. Think about how you are going to use the workbench and then choose the material that’s right for you.
You’ll also need to head over to the plumbing section and pick up a ½” galvanized steel pipe, and then over to the hardware section to get some slide bolts and screws. Once you have all of the materials, we are ready to start this build!
Step 2: Cut Boards & Pre-drill Holes
The first thing to do is cut down the boards to size. If you have a miter saw, then I recommend you use that for these cuts. Check the plans for final dimensions and quantities, set up a stop block for boards of the same size, and then get to chopping. You can also do this using the table saw or really any cutting tool. Just try to make sure the boards are cut to consistent lengths.
Once the boards are cut, you’ll notice that some of them are supposed to have large holes in them. This is the hole for the galvanized pipe that allows the workbenches to flip. You’ll want to be very precise in measuring out this hole location and ensuring it is drilled plumb to the face of the board. A good way to do this is to drill the first board and then use it as a template to transfer that initial position to the rest of the boards.
Drill Holes For Pipe
First, carefully mark the correct location on the first board. The distance from the end of the board isn’t as critical as making sure it is centered. So if you have a center finder, then be sure to use that. Then use a punch or a nail and hammer to indent right in the center of your mark. This will help keep the drill bit from walking and shifting off-center as you start drilling. Now, grab a drill block and drill an ⅛” pilot hole in the board. The drill block will help ensure that the hole is nice and plumb to the face of the board.
Now take the board and align its edges with the edges of your other boards. Then your ⅛” drill bit and drill through your previous pilot hole to make a small indent on the other board. Pull the first board away, grab the drill block, and finish drilling the rest of the way through the board. Repeat this process until all of your pilot holes are drilled.
Once those holes are drilled, you can come back with larger drill bits to drill the hole for the pipe. The pilot hole will help to guide you, but if you have a drill press, or portable drill press, that will help a lot in keeping the hole plumb to the face of the board. We also highly recommend that you use a forstner bit for this hole as spade bits don’t drill perfectly round holes.
Step 3: Assemble Frame For Flipping Sections
To start the assembly, put together the framing that will go around each flipping workbench flip-top section. Measure from the back edge of each board to determine where the cross board needs to go, or use an offcut as a spacer to keep everything consistent. Then add a little glue to the joint and screw the boards together using 2.5” construction screws. When you’re done with this step, you’ll have 3 “H” shaped pieces.
Step 4: Add Additional Framing Boards
Now add the short framing boards to join these H-shaped sections together and build out the rest of the workbench. When you are positioning these boards, it is a good idea to stick the legs in between the various sections to make sure you have a good fit. The last thing you want is to not be able to fit the legs in later.
Piece the boards together, glue each joint, and then secure them with 2.5” construction screws. However, do NOT glue one of the framing pieces on the very end of the workbench. You will need to be able to remove this piece later in order to install the galvanized steel pipe.
By the end of this step, you’ll have the complete frame for your workbench top done.
Step 5: Add Legs To Flipping Workbench
Now you are going to add the legs to the workbench. We designed these plans to put the workbench top at counter height and to allow enough room under the workbench that we can mount our bandsaw to one of the flipping stations. Consider your personal height, the height you’d like to work at for glue ups, the height of your tools, and the height you’d like to work at when using those tools. You can then adjust the length of the legs as needed.
Temporarily Secure & Adjust Legs
Once you are happy with the length of the legs, glue and screw two pieces together to make a 4×4 leg. Once those pieces are dry, you are ready to raise up the workbench. It helps to have a second person here.
Start by moving the workbench to where you intend to use it. Then have one person stand in the middle and lift the frame up to your desired height. Go around the table and clamp all of the legs in place. Once they are temporarily installed, you will need to adjust for any unlevel flooring that your space might have. Grab a level and adjust the height of the legs until all the legs touch the ground and the workbench is level.
If any of the legs ended up having to stick up past your frame, just cut the excess off later. It’s better than having some legs so far down the frame that you don’t have a good joint.
Attach Legs In Final Position
Now you can secure the legs to the frame. If you know you will be keeping the workbench in a specific spot then go ahead and glue these joints and secure them with 2.5” screws. If you might move your bench in the future, then you shouldn’t glue them. Just use screws so that you can adjust their heights later. If you think you will be moving your workbench around a lot, consider adding adjustable feet or adjustable height wheels to the bottom of the legs.
The workbench should feel pretty sturdy at this point, but if it doesn’t you may want to add some bracing from leg to leg, or screw it into the studs of the wall. We wanted to make sure ours didn’t move, so we screwed it to the wall and it has been rock solid ever since.
Step 6: Add The Top Plywood Surface
Once the frame is up on legs, you are ready to add its top surface. The easiest way to do this is to set the sheet of material up on the table top and screw it down to the frame using 1” screws in the corners. Then you can trace the frame with a jig saw and cut out openings for the flipping sections. Make sure you don’t cut too far into these openings as you will need that material for the flip tops.
A jigsaw will probably be good enough to cut the edges, but if you want to take it to the next level, you can come back with a router and flush trim bit to really clean up the edges and get good, flush lines.
With that done, go back around the frame and screw the top down in multiple spots using more 1” screws.
Step 7: Assemble Flip Table Boxes
Now you’re ready to assemble the Flip Table Boxes, which are the flipping portions of the workbench that will hold the tools. These boxes go together pretty simply with some glue and 2.5” screws. Just be sure to pay attention to the location of the hole for the steel pipe and make sure they align.
Consider Tool Weight
Before you put the surface on them though, think about the tools you’ll be attaching and if the weight will need additional bracing. For example, if you have a particularly heavy tool, like a 12” planer, and are using weaker sheet material, like OSB sheathing, then it would be a good idea to add a cross member inside of these boxes. This way you can secure the tool to the cross beam through the sheet and you aren’t relying on the sheet good alone. The last thing you want is for the screws to strip out and have your tool come crashing down. Use your tool now to figure out where the cross member should be and secure it in place. Then mark the side of your boxes with the location of this member so you can find it later and ensure you are screwing into it.
Add Sheet Material
Once the boxes are ready, start cutting the sheet material for it. You’ll use the offcuts from the sheet good workbench top earlier for one side of each box. However, you’ll need to cut an additional sheet for the second side of each box. A table saw makes this easy, but you can also do it with a jigsaw and flush trim it with the router afterward.
Then just secure the sheet to each of the boxes with more 1” screws, and you are ready to put this full workbench together.
Step 8: Attach Flip Table With Pipe
Unscrew and remove the board from the end of the assembled workbench (that hopefully, you did not glue into place!), and then begin feeding in the steel pipe. As you get to the first opening in the bench, bring over the first flip table box and align the hole in the side of it with the steel pipe, then feed the pipe through. Repeat this process until all of the flip table boxes are installed. If you haven’t already, be sure to cut the steel pipe to length, and then reinstall the board on the side of the frame.
Step 9: Install Barrel Latches
Now with the flip table boxes installed, you are ready to install the barrel slides that will lock them in position. Start by marking the center of the workbench frame boards and installing the main body of the barrel slide latch on the frame. Try to make sure that these are installed level and close to the edge of the opening so you get maximum engagement of the slide bolt.
Then position the flip table box so it is flush with the workbench top and install the receiver for each barrel slide. Clamps or long boards can help here to help hold everything flush while you install all of these receivers.
Once that side is done, flip each of the boxes over and then make sure they are flush once again. Since the barrel slides only come with one receiver, we offset the location of the hole for the steel pipe in these boxes. This way the boxes now stick out from the rest of the workbench once flipped. Push the barrel slide so it contacts the sidewall of the flip table box, and trace out its position. Then use a drill bit to carefully drill out this location. Take your time drilling these out as you want them to line up well so your tables stay flush.
Repeat this process on the rest of the barrel slides and you now have a complete flipping workbench!
Step 10: Attach Tools, Flip & Use!
All that’s left to do now is attach some tools. If you had a heavy tool that you put a cross member in for earlier, then check the side of the boxes for the marking of the cross member’s position and carefully line up your tool with that position. Drill a small pilot hole for each corner of your tool and then drive screws in to secure them. It can help if you use washers or pieces of scrap wood on the end of your screws to make sure their head is big enough to secure your tools. Or use larger lag screws if you have them available.
Once your tools are installed, carefully give them a test flip. If it seems the screws may be straining, then it’d be a good idea to remove the cover from that box and install a cross member for additional support. But once you have that done and everything is secure, your flipping workbench is ready for its first project!
More DIY Projects
With your new workbench built, it’s time to get started on some woodworking and DIY projects! So check out more of our DIY projects articles for inspiration:
- Hubby How To – DIY Hanging Daybed Swing Plans
- How To Make DIY Floating Shelves – Live Edge Wood Shelves For Kitchen
- 15 Awesome DIY Projects At Home You Can Do
- Hubby How To – Modern DIY Platform Bed Frame
- Hubby How To – DIY Modern Headboard With Floating Nightstands
Hope this flipping workbench gives you back some workspace and you create a ton of awesome woodworking/DIY projects! Let us know what you think of the design and what projects you’ll be making now in the comments below!
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