An Exemplary Folding Workbench
Ingenuity, some scrap wood and $60 of hardware are all it took.
Synopsis: This is a description of an unusual and ingenious folding workbench devised by an architect turned finish carpenter. It handles a variety of tasks and folds down to 2 ft. by 4 ft. by 18 in. for easy transport.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then Kazimierz Pawlik might well be the father. He used scrap oak from a couple of his jobs and adapted common hardware available at Kmart to build a workbench as sturdy as a plow horse and as versatile as a Swiss army knife.
During the mid-’80s, Pawlik left his architectural practice in Poland and came to the United States. But he wasn’t licensed in this country, so he couldn’t practice architecture. Pawlik got a job as a carpenter’s helper near Bethlehem, Pa. After a couple of years, he started his own company specializing in finish work.
Pawlik and his crew work at incredible speed and to a high level of quality. They typically trim out a 3,000-sq. ft. house in three days. Pawlik’s ingenuity is evident in everything he does: the way he has outfitted his work van, the gauge he made to cut stair treads, the jig that enables him to install a prehung door in one minute.
But perhaps his most ingenious invention is the workbench he designed and built. He wanted a bench that was portable, sturdy and easily adaptable to diverse jobs.
The most remarkable aspect of Pawlik’s bench is that its multiple tasks are accomplished without any sort of Rube Goldberg-like gyrations. Everything operates simply and smoothly. The whole bench weighs about 50 lb. Metal parts are used where needed, but where wood will suffice, dovetails and butt joints account for the bench’s strength.
When folded up, the bench is small — 23 in. by…