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Virtual Designs in Sketchup #6: 3 Legged Workbench

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Blog entry by rance posted 06-28-2011 04:27 AM 4442 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Rolling Wood Storage Rack Part 6 of Virtual Designs in Sketchup series Part 7: Corner Splines Without a Tablesaw »

So you’ve built this elaborate workbench, the ‘Workbench of your Dreams’. With a Rock Maple top, Paduk edging and all the dog holes anyone could ever ask for (to go with the donuts). You have a difficult time positioning it because it weighs 400 lbs. THEN you realize, although you’ve taken every precaution to make sure all four legs are level and of equal length, the bench thinks its a Rock Star in its new home, your newly finished workshop. It ROCKS, but NOT in a good way.

How many times has this story become a realization? Well, Why not build a 3 legged workbench? I Googled around and the ones I could find were just 3 legged versions of the same ole rectangular benches. These seem to present a new problem with the bench tipping when you happen to be hand-planing in the wrong direction. Particularly working near, or on, the end with one leg.

So I present to you, the ‘Triangle Workbench’. Actually ‘A’ Triangle Workbench.

 

It looks weird. Mostly because we are not used to seeing them in the modern(or old) workshops. How about we dress it up with an old-school vise & bench dog holes.

 

Yes, even though I don’t profess to use many hand-tools, I believe it should have a certain draw from folks that do use them. True to form for many of those traditional benches, I’ve built it with the medium-length face even with the edge of the bench for clamping large items (such as a door) to the front two legs.


 

I’ve also provided the longest edge with an overhang to aid in the clamping of workpieces to the top of the bench.

 

Now on to some fun details. As part of the design of the front edge, I wanted to add some bracing for those two legs. Well, as it turns out, that bracing just so happens to make for a nice tool tray on the side. No, its not too traditional, but it could be useful. I’ve added a small lip to keep chisels from rolling out. (Leg and apron hidden for clarity)

 

Here’s a couple of views from above with the top removed. I temporarilly colored the legs charcoal gray so you could see them a little better


 

This is another place where a drawing package can shine over just a napkin drawing. You can size and draw the known dimensions for most parts, then you can add an angled piece and have the application(in this case SketchUp) tell YOU what the angles or dimensions are.

 

I’ve built this virtual one for your pondering. Maybe it will inspire someone to try one out for themselves. I’ve built this one with the 3-4-5 triangle in mind. You might also be interested in building two of them and placing them back to back with the long edges facing each other.

Feel free to build it up. shoot the idea down, or offer suggestions or alterations. That’s just one of the neat things about building ‘virtual’ projects, whether in SU or your own 3D design tool. It gives you the chance to make all(well, many) of your mistakes on the computer screen rather than with possibly expensive materials.

Disclaimer: I’m positive there are folks that have broached this subject in the past, but they sure aren’t very prevalent when I searched for them. If you find some, feel free to share the picture with others.

.

EDIT:

Per a new LJ’s request, here are the dimensions for this bench as it was designed. I still believe it could use some improvement. Enjoy.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--



12 comments so far

View David 's profile

David

81 posts in 1292 days


#1 posted 06-28-2011 04:43 AM

I like that table, it would fit my shop just about right. but I still need to get that small thing on top { just to keep my head dry } frist. Yall need to keep the great ideals up.

-- David, Center,Texas

View rance's profile

rance

4132 posts in 1819 days


#2 posted 06-28-2011 04:56 AM

For you David. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

7732 posts in 2711 days


#3 posted 06-28-2011 05:46 AM

Very interesting…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4820 posts in 2540 days


#4 posted 06-28-2011 02:07 PM

Hi Rance,
You’re weird. Smart and inventive, but weird none the less.

I can not imagine a 400 pound bench rocking. I would think to believe that they are ‘self leveling’. Pure weight is a nice thing for a bench to have.

Those legs look like they need some lower bracing. And the umbrella needs a stand to buttress itself from the wind. But I like exploring the possibilities.

Keep it up,
Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3664 posts in 1823 days


#5 posted 06-30-2011 05:08 PM

Rance
Here is my blog that contains a link to somewhat more realistic woodworking textures for SU.

Texture Blog

They are self tiling, small file size things. The blog explains how to use them. I think you will enjoy using the textures for your virtual constructions. I use SU to design everything of any complexity. I don’t think I have ever made something completely from someone elses plans.

Have a good one…......and I am going to post a teaser blog later today for my minibench, I suspect some of the ideas will amuse you, and you might find a useful idea or to.

The minibench has just a couple finishing touches left, and then will be presented as a project in the next couple of weeks.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3664 posts in 1823 days


#6 posted 06-30-2011 05:10 PM

Steve
I think I resemble your remark as well…..........(-:

I will present a teaser of a bench today, that is small, but with all its stuff in it, will approach 400 pounds….....it has 4 legs on levelers…......(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View rance's profile

rance

4132 posts in 1819 days


#7 posted 06-30-2011 06:50 PM

@Steve. Weird? I take that as a compliment. :D

Truth be told, I’m not really in love with the legs and their attachment on the bench above. I like the 3-legged-ness and think it has some merit. It just needs some design work. I put it out there to inspire. I do think that some dangling dingleberries all around the perimeter of the umbrella could serve to dress it up a bit. We’ll have to get David’s input on that though.

Thanks Jim. Yes, I should use better textures. :( That has been a struggle for me with SU. I detest ‘plug-ins’, and I’ve tried installing someone else’s ‘wood selection’ a while ago. Every time I used it, it required me to Browse to a folder to find it. It was not worth it. I believe it was the one at http://www.defcon-x.de/wordpress/textures/ but that link has gone stale.

I just installed yours. Flawless, complete, and easy to use. I’ll add a couple of comments over there to be more pertinent. Thanks for nudging me Jim, and with putting the library together.

btw, you can Edit your previous comments up to 60 min. after you post. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4820 posts in 2540 days


#8 posted 06-30-2011 09:56 PM

btw, did you know that if you Edit your previous comments, the persons subscribed to this post don’t see those edits in their emails?

pretty sneeky, but weird none the less.

Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View rance's profile

rance

4132 posts in 1819 days


#9 posted 07-01-2011 05:28 AM

Didn’t know that Steve. I only get emails on the orig. post though. I could play some games with that.

And oh btw, you think I’m weird, what about these saw guys , and then there are the plane guys. Now those folks are REALLY weird. :)

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3664 posts in 1823 days


#10 posted 07-01-2011 05:39 AM

Now we got us weird guys calling other guys weirder….......(-:

Oh well, we enjoy what we do. Never mattered to me if I was weird…...but I don’t know if I want someone weider than me, because then it becomes a contest…..............(-:

Have a good one…....the minibench blog is up and running…...........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View rance's profile

rance

4132 posts in 1819 days


#11 posted 05-05-2012 03:12 PM

Tom, I’ve added dimensions for you. Let me know if you need more.

Rance (just ONE of the wierd ones :D )

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View ChipTom's profile

ChipTom

2 posts in 872 days


#12 posted 05-05-2012 11:29 PM

Rance, Thanks a bunch. I won’t know until I try to put it together if all the measurement that I will need are there but it looks like you covered it well. I’ve decided to not rush it. I’m going to buy some work tables from Sam’s Club and, although they are for inside use, I’ll alter the feet and throw grill covers over them. It’s a quick solution (sturdy, flat top, can clamp to) for a little over $200 for both. After satisfying current demands I’ll make two of your nice bench when the woodworking joy-potential is not encumbered by any pressure. Of course, I’ll use outdoor-friendly materials and still throw covers over them when not in use. Want any pics from the endeavor? Thanks again. – Tom

http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/product.jsp?productId=145625

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