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Tom's Torsion Box Workbench

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Tom's Torsion Box Workbench

This rock-solid workhorse is simply four easy-to-build 2x4-and-plywood boxes.

By Tom Caspar

Quick, cheap, solid. You can’t ask much more from a workbench, and this one delivers it all. Made of out nothing more than ordinary construction lumber, this durable, 250-lb.  heavyweight has all the features of a master cabinetmaker’s bench: a gigantic face vise, a slick tail vise and a rock-solid base.

You’ll spend a measly $200 at a home center on lumber and hardware. Add $70 to $150 for a face vise (see Sources). We used a cool-looking, top-notch model, but any big vise will do.

 

Tools and Materials

If you have limited tools, don’t worry. It’s perfectly possible to build this bench using nothing but a pair of sawhorses, a circular saw, hammer, drill, combination drill bit, router and flush-trim bit, hacksaw and socket set. That’s it. A few more power tools (a miter saw, drill press, tablesaw and belt sander) make the job a lot easier, though.

The materials are nothing special, just 2x4s, 2x6s and two sheets of ordinary underlayment plywood (the kind with 1/8-in.-thick face veneer). Be picky when choosing your solid lumber. Look for boards that are straight, free of large knots and have full-width edges. Reserve your straightest boards for the top frame.

 

Preparing the Plywood

Start by cutting out the plywood panels. Factory edges are good enough, so you don’t have many cuts to make. The few corners that have to be absolutely square are already done!

1. Draw the outlines of all the plywood panels (A1, B1, C1 and C2) on two sheets of plywood (see Fig. C and the  Cutting List).

2. Build a temporary cutting guide to fit your circular saw (Photo 1). It’s easy to make by nailing together two overlapping 1x6s cut just over 6 ft. long (you’ll use these boards later as parts of the bench). The edge of the bottom board shows you exactly where the saw will cut, so you don’t have to do any complicated measuring. The top board guides the saw. Nail some extra pieces of 1x6 under the overhang of the top board for balance.

3. Place the cutting guide directly on the lines and cut all the panels.

4. Mark the screw holes (see Fig. D) on one side of an end panel (A1) and a center-section panel (B1).

5. Stack all four end panels on top of each other and drill 5/32-in.-diameter pilot holes all the way through them (Photo 2). Gang up the center-section panels and drill through them, too.

6. Countersink both sides of all the screw holes. (The countersink on the back side removes torn fibers, so you get a tight glue joint.)

7. Paint one side and all four edges of the panels black. This covers up the crazy figure and disguises the screws. A roller works great.

 

Building the End 2x4 Frame

The method for building each section is basically the same; you glue and screw plywood panels to a 2x4 frame. Once you get in gear, you’ll bang out your bench in no time at all.

1. Cut the top and bottom 2x4s (A2). Measure the length of the legs (A3) directly from the plywood panel (Photo 3). Gang the top and bottom 2x4s at one end of the panel. The remaining distance from the 2x4s to the end of the panel gives you the exact length of the legs. Measure the spacers (A4) by the same method.

2. Cut the legs and spacers. Select the best looking wood for the face of the front legs. Mark “Front” clearly on the good face so you won’t be confused in the heat of assembly!

3. Select one leg for the middle. With a combination square set to 3/4 in., draw a centerline down the length of its narrow edge, on both sides. Draw a centerline all the way around the middle of each top and bottom piece (see Fig. D). Line up the centerlines when assembling the frame.

4. Nail the frame together on a flat surface (Photo 4). The floor will do. Make sure all the top edges are as flush as possible, so you have an even surface all around to glue the panels on. One nail at each joint is enough. (The nails only serve to keep the frame together long enough to glue on the panels.) Predrilling the nail holes through the outer members makes alignment much easier.

 

Assembling the Ends

It’s time to get out the glue and go to town. You’ve got a lot of screws to drive, but there’s no need to feel rushed. Once the panel is positioned the glue will stay wet long enough to run in all the screws.

1. Place one end panel on top of the frame. Nudge the frame square so it lines up with all four edges of the panel.

2. Tack down the panel to the frame with 4d nails at each corner. Turn the assembly over.

3. Run a large bead of glue along all the exposed edges of the 2x4s.

4. Place the other panel on top of the frame, align its edges with the frame and screw it down (Photo 5).

5. Turn the assembly over again, pry off the tacked-down piece of plywood with a hammer and pull out the nails. Then glue and screw the plywood back in place. Scrape off the glue squeeze-out before it hardens.

6. Make the braces (A5) and drill 5/8-in.-diameter holes for the threaded rod (Fig. A). The thick braces spread out the enormous pressure of the nuts over a large surface.

7. Drill holes for the threaded rod through the plywood panels (see Fig.  A). Rather than drill all the way through from one side, drill from both sides using the brace as a guide. This ensures that both holes are aligned so the rod will slip right through. Offset the brace 5/8 in. from the panel’s edge (Detail 2).

8. Cut all the feet (A6 and B4). Bevel the bottom edges to protect them from splintering. Drill deeply countersunk pilot holes for the screws so the screw heads can’t scratch your floor. Screw two feet onto the bottom of each end section.

 

Building and Assembling the Center Frame

This frame has two important differences from the end frames you just made. First, it’s got holes for the threaded rod running through the 2x4s that you can’t afford to forget! Second, the frame is slightly shorter than the panels. When you assemble the whole base, any warp or twist in the center frame’s end 2x4s won’t affect the tightness of the joints (see Detail 2).

1. Cut the rails (B2) 1/4 in. shorter than the width of the plywood panels. Then cut the stiles (B3).

2. Drill 1-in.-diameter holes in all the stiles. The holes are oversized to allow a threaded rod coupler to pass through (Fig. D).

3. Nail the frame together, then tack a panel to it. Check your alignment. The frame’s top and bottom edges are flush to the panel, but the ends of the frame are inset by 1/8 in. on both sides. Glue both panels, one at a time, as you did with the end sections. Attach the feet.

 

Assembling the Base

Two lengths of threaded rod (B5) bind the three base sections together with tremendous pressure. This large-diameter rod is surprisingly inexpensive, easy to disassemble and can’t possibly come loose.

1. Cut the threaded rod with a hacksaw (see Cutting List). File a small bevel on the cut ends to enable the nuts to thread easier. Join two pieces of threaded rod together with a coupler and slide the long rod through the holes in the center section.

2. Stand the center section on a level surface. Slip the end sections over the threaded rod and slide on two washers (Photo 6). Tighten the nuts.

 

Assembling the Top

Select your straightest 2x4s for this frame so you’ll get a relatively flat top. Put the best of the best in the front.

1. Predrill the pilot holes in the top and bottom panels (C1 and C2). Note that the holes in the upper surface of the top aren’t simply countersunk, but counterbored deep enough to accept wood plugs (the plugs cover all the unsightly screw heads). The easiest way to do this is to use a combination bit made for a #10 screw (see Sources). It will counterbore a 3/8-in.-diameter hole for the plugs and drill a pilot hole at the same time.

2. Nail the frame together, but leave off the back stretcher (C3) and all of the  spacers (C6 and C7). Tack the top (C1) to the frame with 4d nails at each corner. Note that the front of the top overhangs the front of the frame by about 1/8 in.

3. Glue and screw the bottom panel to the frame. Make sure it overhangs the front of the frame just like the top panel. Then turn the frame over and glue and screw the top.

4. Attach the back rail and spacer with deck screws. The spacers bring the back rail up to the same height as the top, making a large, level surface.

5. Trim the front overhang with a router and a flush-cutting bit (Photo 7). Glue wood plugs in the screw holes and sand them flush.

 

Building the Front

The front of the bench is a sandwich of 1x6s and 2x6s that can be ripped individually on a tablesaw to match the thickness of the benchtop. This sawing removes the rounded edges on the top of the construction lumber, so your sandwich will have square edges on top and look like one gigantic solid piece when glued together. If you can’t get at a tablesaw, this isn’t absolutely necessary, but a flush front makes mounting the vise hardware much easier.

1. Cut one 1x6 and two 2x6s 6-ft. long (the length of the bench). Rip all three boards about 1/8-in. wider than the thickness of your benchtop.

2. Choose the best 2x6 as the outer board. Cut the spacers that form the dog holes (D2, D3 and D4) from the other 2x6. Drill two pilot holes for the deck screws in each spacer (Detail 1).

3. Starting at the right end of the bench, glue and screw the first spacer (D2), then clamp the handscrew around it to position the second spacer (Photo 8). Glue a small block (D8) on the left side of the handscrew to fill the void below the second spacer. Continue on down the line and cut the last spacer (D5) to fit.

4. Glue and screw the 1x6 (D1) along the top of all the spacers, completing the three-part sandwich. Drill pilot holes for the lag screws with an extra-long bit (see Sources) and install the front rail on the bench (Photo 9). Clamp it in place so the top edge is proud of the benchtop. Level the front rail with a belt sander.

5. The jaws of the handscrew are too fat to fit in between the boards of the front rail. Use your router to make the jaws thinner, working from both sides (Photo 10). The final thickness of the jaws should be about 1/32 in. narrower than the opening in the front rail. The area you must remove is larger than the base of the router, so don’t take it all off at once. Leave some areas uncut to support the router, then knock these bridges off with a chisel after you’re done. Finish leveling the jaws with a block plane. Bevel the end of the right  jaw with a small saw and chisel (same as the bench dog, Fig. E). This bevel improves the holding power of the handscrew, especially when the jaw is tilted backward at its maximum capacity.

6. Shim the right jaw of the handscrew with several layers of foil tape (the kind used for ventilation ducts) until it slides smoothly in the front rail opening (Photo 11). Then install the handscrew and secure it with a screw. Chances are, as the construction lumber dries out and shrinks you’ll have to remove the handscrew and peel off some shims to keep it sliding well.

7. Glue the vise face together (D7) with cauls and plenty of clamps. Cut the pieces oversize and trim the glued block on a tablesaw, if you can. Turn the benchtop over and install the front vise hardware with the largest and longest screws you can manage (Photo 12).


Source

(Note: This information may have changed since this story's original publication date.)

Woodcraft Supply, woodcraft.com, 800-225-1153, Quick-release front vise hardware, #17A11, $215 (shown here); Handle for all three, #17E52, $6.99; Handscrews, 12-in.-long jaws, #819462, $25.99.

Amazon.com, Combination bit set, #B0041FIR1E, $22.99.

Sears, sears.com, 800-549-4505, Extra-long, 1/4-in. drill bit, #00966060000, $7.59.


Shopping List


Cutting List


The story originally appeared in American Woodworker October 2001, Issue #89


Thrifty Construction
Rugged boxes made of nothing but 2x4s and plywood add up to a high-performance bench that costs peanuts to build.


Ingenious Tail Vice
Hold any project with no awkward clamps to get in the way.


You Don't Have to Be an Expert
Got a hammer, drill and circular saw? That's virtually all it takes to build this awesome workbench.


1. Cut panels from construction-grade plywood with a quickie shop-made cutting guide. Even if you're off by a bit, these cuts are going to be accurate enough to build the bench.


2. Drill pilot holes through a stack of four panels at once. This is much faster than laying out and drilling one panel at a time.


3. Measure the length of 2x4s directly from the plywood panels. The 2x4s should be fairly straight, but you don't have to machine them any further. All you do is crosscut.


4. Nail the 2x4s together with a single nail at each joint. The joints don't have to be super tight or perfectly fitted. The strength of the box doesn't depend on complicated joinery.


5. Screw and glue the plywood panels to the 2x4 frame. You won't need dozens of clamps because the screws do all the work. Painting the plywood black disguises all the ugly screw heads.


Oops!

Here's a goof that's really no big deal. In a rush to glue up the plywood panels on the 2x4 frames, one of the joints opened up. After all, it's only held together by a single nail. But the strength of the box isn't compromised at all, because its incredible rigidity comes from gluing plywood to the 2x4s, not the tightness of these joints. No sweat.


6. Join the knockdown base with humongous threaded rod. Nuts pull the sections so tight that the base is solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. After all, a workbench base can't be too strong, can it?


7. Rout the plywood top flush with the frame to make a large, even surface for the 1x6 rail. Select your best 2x4 for this front piece. It's one of the few in the bench that must be perfectly straight. It pays to dig through a large stack of 2x4s to find this gem.


8. Assemble the front rail one block at a time. Two outer blocks trap one angled jaw of a wooden handscrew: the bench's tail vise. Each succeeding block is spaced 1-in. apart, exactly the width of a combination square blade. These spaces become mortises for the bench dog.


9. Clamp the front rail to the benchtop and drill pilot holes for the lag bolts. The bolt heads are recessed so you have a completely smooth bench front.


10. Rout the handscrew jaws so they're just a bit thinner than the opening of the front rail. Clamp a guide board to the handscrew and support the router with a T-shaped ledge and bridges of uncut wood.


11. Install the handscrew. Shim its moveable right jaw for a perfect sliding fit. You can easliy raise or lower the height of the jaw to hold even the thinnest board on your bench.


12. Tilt the front vise by adding washers as shims to compensate for racking. To securely hold any board, a vise should first close at the top. As you tighten the screw, the face of the vise straightens out, applying even pressure over the entire surface of the board.


Fig. A: A rock-solid foundation

A workbench that shimmies and shakes is a giant headache, especially when you use hand tools. It's supposed to stay still! The solution is having a heavy base that won't budge or twist out of shape when you push against it. Our hefty base weighs 125 lbs. and doesn't give an inch in any direction.


Fig. B: Exploded View


Fig. B: Detail 1

Spacing of blocks


Fig. B: Detail 2

Tight connection between base sections
The 2x4 frame of the center section is slightly undersized to guarantee a tight fit between the bearing surfaces and the end section.


Fig. C: Plywood Cutting Diagram

Using factory edges for many of the plywood parts means fewer cuts and guaranteed square corners. All you need to cut out the parts is a portable circular saw and a shop-made cutting guide.


Fig. D: Construction Details

The plywood panels are glued and fastened to 2x4 frames with drywall screws. Predrill the screw holes as shown below, nail the frame together with a single nail at each joint, and you're set.


Fig. E: Bench Dog

The dog leans slightly backward when you grip a board in the tail vise. Bevel the head to keep its gripping surface upright. The wooden spring keeps the dot at any height, free your hands to adjust the tail vise.


Fig. F: Top View

Position the top on the base as shown.


Comments

Sportster2005 wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 03-06-2009 8:31 AM

I have been trying to decide whether to build a workbench or buy one for my first.  After reviewing this article, I believe I will build one.  It will be much cheaper and appears to be plenty adequate.  In addition, if I move and am unable to haul it with me, I won't have a lot invested and can build another one at the next location.  Thanks for providing the article.

Tom Caspar wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 03-06-2009 10:50 AM

I designed the bench so it's easy to move. It breaks down into four flat boxes: the top, two ends and the center support.

-Tom

andymedic wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 03-15-2009 1:09 PM

I built this bench about 12 years ago and it is very solid and has stood up to all the projects since. one word of caution the tool tray at the back can become a sawdust catch. just drill two 3 inch holes in the bottom and put a soffit vent in the hole pull it out ans sweep out the dust and good as new.

mrfixitri wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 04-29-2009 5:22 AM

Aside from the obvious longer length pieces of wood, does anyone see any issues with increasing the length of this bench to eight feet? Also, I'm partial to solid wood tops (maple, fir). Any suggestions how to incorporate this feature? Thx, Larry

humanbeingboy wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 05-01-2009 7:09 PM

@ mrfixitri: Go to Ikea and buy an 8' section of their wooden kitchen counter top: www.ikea.com/.../10472

My kitchen has the pronomen style (slightly thinner) and I don't see why it wouldn't work for a workbench. It'll add to the price - but not by too much ($189 for 8').

And I really look forward to trying this project out!

woodchuck1969@yahoo.com wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 05-05-2009 7:03 PM

could we get detailed drawing of this bench?

cdsalpine wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 05-28-2009 8:55 PM

this bench is going to work great in the shop i,m setting for my 19 year old son .  i think i,ll use mdf for the top though.

bill0199 wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 06-11-2009 5:34 PM

When drilling the 5/8 holes through the braces, it does not indicate where to drill them (I see 7 1/2" up from the bottom of the brace and 6" from the top of the outer stile?  Is that right?  So where is the 5/8" hole drilled on each brace (exact center?) and same for the center frame stiles?  Sorry, but it's not clear.  With the 5/8th offset of the brace would you not be boring a hole through part of the end frame leg?

Clarence wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 06-16-2009 2:23 PM

I have never made a shop workbench before and looking forward at making this workbench for my shop.....when its done will post it to show how my wok looks like ...thanks for this workbench...

Imants wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 06-26-2009 11:37 PM

Good and easy!

Ifindoubt1 wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 08-03-2009 12:48 PM

 It was suggested above that we consider Ikea's (or,  I assume, similar) wooden kitchen countertop instead of plywood for the top in order to  get a solid wood top.

Any thoughts on if this is really helpful or not?

bill0199 wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 08-06-2009 9:15 AM

Just finished mine.  It is fantastic!  Sturdy and HEAVY.  I used 3/4" MDF for the top and added a 1/4" hardboard sacrificial top.  If it gets chewed up i can simply replace it.  I also ended up just fitting the handscrew to the end as a tail vise but did not glue and screw blocks on the front.  Instead, (as i wanted to use the Veritas Wonder dogs I got as a gift) just drilled 3/4" holes along the front.  It is a great bench.

mountainaxe wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 08-23-2009 2:35 PM

I made this bench as my first woodworking project last year.  It is absolutely the most rock solid and easy to build bench I've ever seen.  So practical and user friendly that it has become a mainstay in my shop.  In fact, I modified the plan to make a smaller/taller version, too.  Can't thank Mr. Caspar enough for sharing the truly wonderful design!

tmtetreault wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 09-09-2009 7:08 AM

Hi!  I'm about two days away from building this bench, and I noticed that the PDF of the original article shows a lot more cross bracing in the torsion boxes than the pictures in this article.  Anyone know if they're important?  I'm sure they'll add some heft to the bench, but are they important to keeping the top flat?

drtomii@aol.com wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 09-25-2009 7:08 AM

The bench looks great. I wondered if anyone has put some type of wheels on the legs to make moving it easier. I have a small workshop and try to make everything movable. Suggestions? let me know.

Thanks

brom_stevens wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 10-11-2009 10:09 PM

I am just about to wrap up my build of the bench.  I did put wheels on it which work like a charm.  I just picked up 125 lb capacity wheels from home depot.  4 with locks for the legs and 2 without locks for the center.  They work great, althought even when locked it tends to move some.  I am trying to come up with a means of disabling the wheels when I don't want to use them.  It may be as simple as putting the bench up on a couple 6-foot 2x4's.

mrfixitri wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 11-26-2009 7:37 PM

I used the IKEA counter-top material for the worktop. Alone, it's 1.5" thick. I wanted something heavier so I beefed mine up with a couple sheets of plywood underneath and faced the perimeter off with a contrasting wood. I'm very satisfied with the final product. Why go to the trouble of building a solid wood top when you can get a fine one pre-made - and very reasonably priced. Thanks for the suggestion.

rlucas130 wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 11-29-2009 7:01 PM

Has anyone tried making this 40" high?  I'm a little taller and don't want to bend down that far.  I was thinking of just adjusting the sides and back to be another 6".  Should I add another set of threaded rods on the back piece?  Thanks.

Michael Tennes wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 01-08-2010 10:37 AM

There's a much easier (IMHO) way to make the jaws of the hand clamp thinner with a router. Tighten a 2x4 in the hand clamp that is longer than the length of the clamp. Make sure that the 2x4 is running long ways and is protruding out of either side of the clamp and is resting on the clamps screws. Use another 2x4 the same length as the first one, rip it so it will fit between the handle and the clamp body also resting on the screws. Clamp a guide board perpendicular to the two 2x4's. Now you can router out the whole clamp with no bridges and chiseling one jaw at a time with very precise depth control (relative to the screws). This also is easier since the required depth of cut for each jaw may be different. Worked perfectly for me.

I increased depth of my worktop service by making C1, C2 & C5  3" longer, less leftover plywood. Also, I installed outlets (4) in the base of my bench, so I could plug in many tools at once.

Thank you Tom

jakodir wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 04-12-2010 7:21 PM

Good and easy, THanks!

Mr.Legs wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 04-17-2010 10:20 AM

Went out and bought all the material to build, but now the links are broken to some of the photo instructions above.  Do you think you could fix the links or repost the pics?

Thanks!

Georgia83 wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 05-14-2010 11:16 AM

Mr. Legs, Did you get a response on your comment about the broken links (as they still appear to be broken)?

thx

JoelCov wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 05-24-2010 3:48 PM

I'm almost finished with this project, and so far it's great.  Rock-solid design.  Only one thing: when building the torsion boxes, you say to tack down the first panel with nails prior to attaching the second panel with glue and screws.  Halfway through building this, I realized that it's much easier to tack the first panel down with screws rather than with nails.  This way, when the time comes to permanently attach the first panel, you just unscrew the "temporary" screws (rather than wrestling with nails and potentially damaging the surface plywood).

Extremetooth wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 07-02-2010 4:22 AM

Thanx tom, this looks like a great bench for me and going to give it a shot. is there a metric version? Everything is in metric at my store and I get a bit confused because a 2x4 is not actually 2x4

weathermaker wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 08-26-2010 11:12 AM

Just wondering about the threaded rod.  Is there a specific reason for four 3-ft pieces which end up being joined in the end?  Could I just buy two 6-ft pieces cut down to 62" instead?

WilburGamer wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 09-07-2010 10:51 AM

I wondered if anyone has put some type of wheels on the legs to make moving it easier. It is absolutely the most rock solid and easy to build bench I've ever seen.

josepie wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 09-11-2010 11:22 AM

Not very clear on a few things for this bench!

What exactly is 120 lineal ft of 2x4's? I mean, what should I request the store to cut this into for bringing home? Also, the plywood, how big is a sheet? I only have a SUV with fold down backseats. Will this be big enough? Also. you state "got a hammer, drill circular saw? Thats all it takes." But in the next paragraph you say a router, hacksaw is needed! Does not make sense. Is there more detailed drawing of this project? I am a newbie and would love to build this project as it looks like a good starter but I am unsure of a lot of details.

mgrant wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 09-18-2010 11:12 PM

Just finished this, and I'm very happy with it.  

weathermaker: 2 6ft pieces of threaded rod worked fine for me.

josepie: you don't need a router, but you should probably have a block plane to make the top edge flush before mounting the front.  Worst case, coarse sandpaper and a lot of patience, but this has a tendancy to round the edges.  You will want a hacksaw to cut the threaded rod, but they're fairly inexpensive.

Carl Turner wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 10-08-2010 8:00 AM

I'm about to get started on this.  I didn't see mentioned if 10 foot or 12 foot 2*4s were the best way to go.  Before I go doing the math, which length gave the least amount of waste wood?

Carl Turner wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 10-09-2010 7:28 PM

Everything on the "shopping list" cost $303 at my lowecal home center.  That included a $25 off $250 coupon so be warned that either Tom has a better home center than I or inflation has taken its toll on this bench.  

I will say that I sprung for 3/4" oak plywood at $50 a sheet.

AussieNewbie wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 11-04-2010 12:15 AM

Great looking bench!  Just what a newcomer to

the craft like myself is looking for.

Has anyone tried to build this with a more classic

tail vise?  Would that be even possible?

Any ideas/pointers would be appreciated.

fraser wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 11-15-2010 4:00 AM

I decided to tweak these plans mostly by removing the Vice faces from the plywood cutting diagram. This has allowed me to increase the size: 3" Taller, 8" Wider, and 4" deeper for total dimensions about 35 1/2" from the floor 80" wide and 28" deep. Also I plan to mount an X2 Mini Mill to this bench and want to bolt it through the top so I made half of the top "Solid" by gluing together scrap 2x4's to fill the top box, I only did this for the right side. This should allow me to bolt the mill very solidly. The there is still space on the plywood for 2 of the vice faces, even with these changes on the C1/C2 sheet. It's still under construction, please contact me jkwall at hotmail dot com, if you have questions or would like my cut diagrams & Lists.

nedmoore5659 wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 01-09-2011 2:57 PM

WilburGamer:

I used (4ea. push-pull toggle clamps paired with 3" hard rubber swivel casters from Tractor Supply Store (URLs below) w/ 1-1/2 " x 3/8th bolt-end, cut to 1" mounted to the outer end surface of the 4x4 bench leg with 3.5" block of 2x4 to achieve stand-off clearance.

Raise the bench legs to the desired height, mount the P/P Toggle in extended position (I used 4 ea. 1/4"x3" hex-headed lag screws per mounting).

Solid.

I grab both levers, push down to extend and lift a little with my back under the bench - nearly effortless on each end of my 200+ lb. bench.

Hope this is helpful.

www.tractorsupply.com/.../titan-casters-trade-3-in-heavy-duty-rubber-stem-caster-3520342

www.toggleclamps.biz/tg36010-pushpull-toggle-36010.html

Roland Wartenberg wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 01-16-2011 10:31 PM

Hello,

last summer I build this workbench as my first project in my little shop in our garage. I followed exactly the description, with some enhancements, I think the result is pretty good. And it's really rock-solid.

I made some pictures during the project, you can find them at www.flickr.com/.../show.

Regards,

Roland

carmon34 wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 06-21-2011 12:28 AM

hello

i do renew for my kitchen and i think to buy countertops from http://www.caesarstone.ca

but maybe wood is better ?

Thanks Carmon

carmon34 wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 06-21-2011 12:34 AM

I wondered if anyone has put some type of wheels on the legs to make moving it easier. i dont think its hopes to me.

fjnunn wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 06-28-2011 9:34 AM

Ok, this seems like a silly question, but i've poured over the document and cannot find the part that describes how to attach the bench top to the base. For such a detailed document (building a cicular saw guide and wiping glue off), there is no mention of how to attach the top. I assume I use the two leftover lag screws? I spent a lot of time on this project (it's definitely not a two weekend project for noob like me) and I would really hate to mess it up by not attaching the bench top properly. Thanks for your help and the great project.

fjnunn wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 06-28-2011 9:37 AM

ok, let's try this again. my last post didn't take. Can anyone help me with how to attach the top to the base? I assume I use the two leftover lag screws, but how and where? This document is very detailed for most other things, so I am worried that there is a very specific way of doing this that I missed. I have spent a lot of time on this project (my first) and would hate to mess it up on the last step.

thanks for your help, and for the awesome project.

BradB wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 06-28-2011 3:13 PM

fjnunn

Look at figure B.  There are 2 screws that go through the tool holder and 2 lag bolts that go up from the front to the top. Easy to miss it.

BradB wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 06-28-2011 3:14 PM

fjnunn

If you look at figure B you can see there are 2 screws that go down through the tool holder and 2 lag bolts that go up from the bottom to the top at the front. Easy to miss.

Roland Wartenberg wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 07-09-2011 2:03 PM

Hello carmon34 (and others),

yes, I actually put wheels on it. I added a new picture to my slideshow (URL -> see my other comment above). It works very well to move the bench around in my garage although I don't need to do that so often.

Best,

Roland

Roland Wartenberg wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 07-09-2011 2:28 PM

Hello carmon34 (and others),

yes, I actually put wheels on it. I added a new picture to my slideshow (URL -> see my other comment above). It works very well to move the bench around in my garage although I don't need to do that so often.

Best,

Roland

emile.swain wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 07-17-2011 4:49 PM

Just spent the weekend building this and its looking great. Made a few mistakes but nothing detrimental to the structural stability. What i like about this is its given me the basis upon which to build other parts of the work shop, drill press bench etc.

Not sure i'll use the tail vice as designed. Going to experiment with some alternatives.

Thanks for the article.

emile.swain wrote re: Tom's Torsion Box Workbench
on 07-17-2011 4:50 PM

Just spent the weekend building this and its looking great. Made a few mistakes but nothing detrimental to the structural stability. What i like about this is its given me the basis upon which to build other parts of the work shop, drill press bench etc.

Not sure i'll use the tail vice as designed. Going to experiment with some alternatives.

Thanks for the article.