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"