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

[Reposted from]

Mobile Rik's DIY Portable Workbench For Projects In Small SpacesWould 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 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. 



black and decker workmate

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:



(1) Black & Decker Workmate 125 Work Bench ($30) <– Strongly recommended

– OR –

(1) Any lightweight portable workbench



(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



– (1) 18″x24″ Peg Board ($3-5)



(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


  • (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


  • (1) Sterilite® 6-Qt. Shoe Drawer
  • (4) Wood Screws to attach the drawer to the top

– 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 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

Like this project? Reblog it! 🙂


I’m Mobile Rik:
Join me at my home site, where I’m building an ultra-frugal sustainable DIY RV Truck Camper to Live Off The Grid.
Follow Me: FacebookTwitterGoogle Plus



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

  1. Thanks for your interest and viewing 911 KISSES posting on the STA-BULL TA-BULL. Our extensive and thorough Quality testing (sitting on the end product) showed that only the Workmate version passed our requirements. We also determined that a secure connection between the work surface and the work bench was necessary, often the vertical load is expressed intermittently both up and down as in reloading ammunition. We stand by (or sit on) our design, but thanks for your input. Have fun, that’s what we wanted!! Be safe.

    • Cool, you got the trackbacks! 🙂 Yeah, I finally noticed that qualification about the superior ‘X’ construction of the B&D WORKMATE 125 buried near the bottom of your post AFTER I’d already committed to the cheapo version. 🙂 Thus this video and project. I love exploring alternatives, and through all of them I tried, I determined that the version you posted was for the most part the best way to do it. I’d suggest as definite improvements to look into connecting the pegboard as I did.

      Now that I’ve posted the “draft” version, I’ll come comment on your site. I’m still a little unclear on a few parts of your instructions, but once I figure out “the best way”, I’ll make another video (and plug you again.) 🙂

      (Feel free to comment on this post at my other blogs as well, as you get the trackbacks.)

      • Well, politely put, yes. As long as you need gasoline and tires and brake fluid and medicines and kerosene and/or propane and betteries and zippers and grommets and tools and grocery stores you will need $$ income and are not truly off grid or independent. However, learning about less is still a good idea and heading in that direction voluntarily is much more pleasant than being forced to it. Voluntarily you can experiment and adopt what workds and research for ideas and wheels that have already been invented. I am enjoying your blog. Thanks.

      • It’s definitely a learning adventure! And “getting off the grid”… a process of layers, peeling off one piece of dependency at a time.

        Though the standard definition of “off the grid” refers simply to unplugging from the municipal electrical grid, it’s true that there are a lot of “grids” we might consider unplugging from, ex. municipal water and waste, big oil, big pharma, commercial foodstuffs, the animal-massacre industry, Facebook… all the way to declaring ourselves Amish, and beyond!

        In a cosmic sense even, I think we’re all seeking to be free from what controls us, whether that’s by a spiritual practice or unplugging our electrical bits from “The Matrix”. But there’s a unique balance each of us is searching for as well, of how to free ourselves while at the same time, remain connected to what’s important to each of us.

        For myself, the Internet is part of my “land of relative freedom” (for now!) that I hope to remain connected to. For everything else… let’s see what we can do about loosening the straps, so to speak. 🙂

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