In some of the other posts in this series, Bob Babcock and I were bouncing around ideas about making this bench portable. I toyed with this and after coming up with some relatively complex ways to make the top removable, the obvious (or so I think) approach dawned on me.
The simple solution is to widen the crosspiece at the top of the leg assembly by 2 inches. Widening the bottom two supports that are part of the bench top assembly is also required. This allows for 4 to 6 bolts to be used on the “flanges” that are created by doing this. The bolting is done in lieu of screwing the two assemblies together with the deck screws as called for in the design.
Here is what it would look like when the top is separated from the legs. The blue element is top of the leg assembly that is widened by 2 inches (from 3” to 5”).
Here is what it looks like assembled.
My rough bolt renderings don’t show the usage of washers but I would recommend it to avoid crushing the fibers.
A detail illustrating the “flange” created by widening the supports. The blue support is not widened, just the green one. The blue and green elements are still joined with deck screws per the original design.
The other aspect of making this a knock-down design is the easy separation of the stretcher from the legs. I didn’t modify the SU for this but it is a simple matter of using bed bolts rather than lag bolts. These can be purchased from a number of suppliers. Here is a link to the ones Lee Valley sells. (Ding! That’s an endorsement.)
I think if the bench is built this way, a person with limited room to work could move their bench around from season to season. When broken down, you have four pieces that can be easily stored (top, planing beam, and two legs). I guess it would really be 6 pieces if you count the two clamp bars the planing beam rides on.
I kinda wish I had built mine this way now. I would be much easier to move when we get a new house.
Whaddya think Bob?
-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN