|Project by Dirk Van Essendelft||posted 11-20-2014 05:53 AM||7747 views||31 times favorited||23 comments|
I built this workbench through the winter last year and have been using it for my new projects. Every time I wanted to do a video about it, I had another project on top of it! Finally, I had some free space at the right time to do the “finished product” video.
I made it out of Baltic Birch Plywood, Maple, and Walnut. The bench consists of 8 torsion boxes (4 on the base, 3 on the “elevator car” and 1 under the maple skin of the table). The torsion box skins are made from 3/4” baltic birch and the ribs are 1/2”. The top is skinned in 3/4” maple strips with a 4” skirt around the outside. I plugged the screws in the top skirt with walnut accents and made matching bent wood handles from walnut. There are 3 big drawers for loads of storage and a side cubby for larger items (could be configured for shelves).
The bench rides up and down on 4 screw jacks which are actuated by a single NEMA 34 motor which is controlled by an Arduino. I made a simple remote for it that allows me to control the speed and direction of the lift. There is also a rechargeable battery pack on board which allows me to operate completely wireless which is handy. The bench can lift over 350lbs so it is good for even the heaviest projects. I wanted an adjustable height workbench because it really saves my back and is so convenient for moving materials and serving as infeed/outfeed for all my different tools. It will go from about 30 inches to over 50. I can also lock the elevator car to the base with high strength clamps when I need extra rigidity.
The bench is mobile and rides on 4 leveling swivel casters. They are super heavy duty which is good because the bench weights over 800Lbs. Being able to lower those feet helps when I am hand planing.
It also has a custom built, twin screw end vise which I built directly into the table top tortion box for extra strength. This thing is perfect for doing hand cut dovetails. The screws in the end vise are linked by a chain inside the vise so they advance at the same speed and keep the face parallel to the bench face. The end vise and table top are drilled for bench dogs which allows so much versatility. I can fasten anything very securely and it really helps to face boards by hand. I also included a general purpose face vice for those quick and dirty tasks.
All of the torsion box parts were cut on my home made CNC, but I did all the finishing with my traditional techniques and hand tools (except for flattening the table… I did that on my cnc).
I finished the top with linseed oil. I have to say I love that finish. If I get marks on it or stains, they come off with just a little denatured alcohol. If I get scratches, I can just sand them lightly and put more on. I think every workbench should have that finish. It is so easy to care for. The base is finished in water based varnish (general finishes). I love that stuff because it has a deep color to it, doesn’t stink up the place, and dries super quick.
Check out the video, you can see all the stuff working:
-- Blending Traditional Woodworking with 21st Century Tools http://www.21stCenturyWoodworking.com