Off and on over the winter I’ve been pondering the 21st Century (or New Fangled / Seven Clamp) workbench by Popular Woodworking’s Robert Lang. A few days back, it occurred to me that it could also be designed and built using a box beam structure (inspired by the beam-and-base system featured in FWW’s Winter 2008/2009 Tools and Shops special issue) and converted into an assembly bench using the center well to hold jigs rather than a clamping system. (Though there is no reason you couldn’t install a clamping system and use it as a workbench.)
Though I’ll probably never build it, the mental exercise of designing it is fun so I thought I’d toss my work to date up here on LJ and see what you think.
General pondering on the design:
All of the box beam are identical, allowing them to be cut from 1/2” plywood with a single setup. The beams are glued, and could be held together with screws or brads. (Given the number of beams being assembled, using a brad gun sounds like an awfully good idea.) The beams for the top are then glued to each other and then further strengthened by adding a 1/2” MDF top.
I’m not entirely sure how to attach the base boxes to the table top without assembling the individual components (tops of the base beams and bottom of the top beams) and then assembling the boxes on top of that. Thinking about this as I write, you could also design the table top beams around a single sheet with dadoes to hold the vertical webs…
The center well is deep enough that a length wise clamp system (as in the original) could easily be installed, and could also possibly be designed to be easily removable.
With sufficient forethought, one could also also the width wise clamping system. You’d need to drill all the required holes prior to assembly.
-- Derek, Bremerton WA --