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So It Begins...

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Blog entry by Jimi_C posted 08-16-2009 04:48 AM 993 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just got back from the big box store with some supplies, mostly some pine and MDF, in order to build a work bench. I’d love to start with a nicer design, however my lack of a thickness planer leads me to believe that I would not be able to execute it properly. So I’m setting my sights a little lower, with this nice and easy torsion box design by Tom Caspar, from an old issue of Woodwork Magazine.

I like the simplicity of the design, and the fact that you can build it out of cheap materials with minimal tools. Since I do have a chop saw, I expect this to go pretty smoothly (famous last words of course). I’m modifying the design a little bit, using 1”x4” boards for the torsion box grids instead of 2”x4”s and 1/2” MDF for the skins instead of plywood. I figure this shaved some decent $$$’s off the bottom line, especially when buying the materials at the big box store instead of a lumber yard. I’m not going to worry about the vise/dog holes just yet, but I plan to trim the entire top torsion box with nicer pine when I do the dog holes. I’m confident the torsion box will have plenty of strength, and I plan to use more beams for the grid than Caspar’s design calls for (1 every foot depth wise, and 5 running the length).

Other minor design changes:

1) I am not going to have a tool tray towards the rear, as I’d rather have a full 2’ depth to work and keep bench tools.
2) I’m going to liquid nail the skin to the grid, as I think this will give me more time to assemble. Since this will be my first glue up, I’m probably just being a chicken. I think this will ensure a strong torsion box though, and will compensate for the 1-by’s lack of quality.

So, I’m sure this is going to take way more than a weekend (my goal is a torsion box a day). But hopefully I’ll have a workbench before too long, and I’ll definitely be posting updates on my progress!

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"



7 comments so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

35034 posts in 3861 days


#1 posted 08-16-2009 04:53 AM

Good luck on the build. I’m want to try a thinner tortion box for a drafting/drawing table.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View papadan's profile

papadan

1174 posts in 2828 days


#2 posted 08-16-2009 04:57 AM

Sounds like a plan Jimi, might rethink the supports. Need the 2x material to drill the dog holes into. Might use them just where the holes will be and the 1x everywhere else.

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

View patron's profile

patron

13535 posts in 2801 days


#3 posted 08-16-2009 04:59 AM

sounds good ,
just make sure that it is flat at the glue up ,
any deflection will be your forever . and yes ,
good luck .
keep us posted .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

507 posts in 2695 days


#4 posted 08-16-2009 05:35 AM

@papadan: Good point. I think I’ll double up the front 1-by in a king-stud configuration to give it extra thickness for the lag screws. The dog holes are actually formed in that design by three layers of 2×6 pine attached to the front, with space left at the end for the vise, but I’ll need something sturdy to put the lag screws into.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115201 posts in 3037 days


#5 posted 08-16-2009 05:44 AM

A good useful project good building to you.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1283 posts in 3197 days


#6 posted 08-16-2009 06:30 AM

You could also use 1/2” MDF for the torsion box grids instead of 1x material. It is more stable and very strong when glued up as a torsion box. Have fun.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

View Jimi_C's profile

Jimi_C

507 posts in 2695 days


#7 posted 08-16-2009 07:03 AM

@John: I thought about it, but figured it’d be a pain to rip all those thin strips of MDF from the big sheets. Being alone, those 4×8 sheets of MDF are unwieldy, and ripping them down with a circular saw didn’t sound too fun.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

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