Torsion Box Assembly Table #5: Final Thoughts

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Blog entry by Morton posted 12-16-2009 07:32 AM 2831 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Finishing the Box Part 5 of Torsion Box Assembly Table series Part 6: Front Vice »

I’ve completed the torsion box workbench top!

I milled the cherry boards using my jointer and planer and finished with a little hand-planing to remove the mill marks. I attached them using screws, keeping them flush with the top surface. Even so, I had to hand plane the cherry top in some places because it was a little higher than the table top.

I counter-sunk and counter-bore the screws, leaving a 3/8” diameter hole. I used a plug cutter to create some plugs from birch that also came from our property. It was straightforward to plug all the screw holes and then flush-saw and block-plane them smooth.

I took one last pass with the router and a chamfer bit to add about a 1/8” chamfer to the top edge of the cherry. I then did some hand sanding on all the cherry, up to 220. I rounded over all the edges so I won’t get cut or snag anything.

I did add a support leg near my vice since it’s very heavy and had bowed the previous top. I don’t think there’s any concern about bowing this time (torsion box!), but no harm adding an extra leg to help bear the weight on both sides of the vice.

I finished the top with 2 coats of shellac and a coat of paste wax. It was easy to apply and makes the whole piece really shine!

I had an awesome time building this project and look forward to building future projects on it! Please leave me any comments, questions or thoughts. I’d love to hear from you especially if you have something like this or plan on making something similar.

-- Morton -

12 comments so far

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3513 days

#1 posted 12-16-2009 07:49 AM

Beautiful table. I bet you beam with pride every time you walk into the shop. I have learned that dead flat is one leg of the holy trinity of woodworking, the other two being dead square and dead straight. I think you used the same type of pulls I used recently. I picked them up on clearance at Lowe’s. $8 pulls for $2 something. Thanks for sharing.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View studie's profile


618 posts in 3174 days

#2 posted 12-16-2009 08:07 AM

That looks great & what a tidy shop you have! I’m still needing to build a bench & want to make a new fangled bench like Dave Pruits on thefoldingruleblogspot. Nice work!

-- $tudie

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3849 days

#3 posted 12-16-2009 02:30 PM

Morton, this turned out to be a nice addition to your shop. You documented the construction well and it has been fun to tag along on this one.

Thanks for sharing this.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View rcs47's profile


190 posts in 3157 days

#4 posted 12-16-2009 04:43 PM

Great Job! Now you can put all that hard work to use. Thanks for sharing.


-- Doug - As my Dad taught me, you're not a cabinet maker until you can hide your mistakes.

View king's profile


71 posts in 3975 days

#5 posted 12-16-2009 06:21 PM

Great job,I enjoyed your video also.


View dlmckirdy's profile


199 posts in 3161 days

#6 posted 12-17-2009 12:11 AM

After all the discussion on the(maybe real and percieved) pros and cons of a torsion box for a workbench top, I would like to here from you about how it is really working after a short (and extended) time.

It looks great! Hope it works as good as it looks, because I want to copy it.

-- Doug, Bakersfield, CA - I measured twice, cut it twice, and it is still too short!

View griff's profile


1207 posts in 3789 days

#7 posted 12-17-2009 04:23 AM

Great job, I enjoyed all the videos.

-- Mike, Bruce Mississippi = Jack of many trades master of none

View randyb's profile


119 posts in 3355 days

#8 posted 01-06-2010 02:22 AM

I Really like you table, it turned out great! I want to build one of these. what is the dimensions of the top?

-- I was going for that distressed look

View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3605 days

#9 posted 01-06-2010 02:24 AM

Glad you had fun that’s what it’s all about . Good job.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Morton's profile


30 posts in 3127 days

#10 posted 01-06-2010 04:15 AM

@randyb – I made it 3’ x 6’ 6” (or just about). That was essentially the size of the top I was replacing, and what works in the space that I have.

-- Morton -

View Dchip's profile


271 posts in 3280 days

#11 posted 02-11-2010 11:03 PM

Sorry I’m a little late to the show, but I have been investigating torsion boxes in preparation for my own. First off, thanks for the videos, they will help in my future construction. My question is about the vise on the torsion box. I noticed that it sits below the top of the table due to the thickness of the top. Has this caused any problems with the vise function, or have face plates rectified this discrepancy? Thanks again.

-- Dan Chiappetta, NYC,

View Morton's profile


30 posts in 3127 days

#12 posted 02-12-2010 01:13 AM

Dan—GREAT timing as I’m about to change that vice. It does currently sit below the surface and that is very very annoying ;)

So, I’m about to try to retro fit it to be level with the top (or at least very close). Not sure how easy or hard this will be. I did fill in the torsion box in that area for the lag bolts, so I suspect that I can use the router to make a recess for the vice to slot into, essentially raising it a couple of inches (and insetting the back faceplate).

I’ll try to take some video – thanks for pointing this out!

-- Morton -

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