Torsion box construction provides strength but less weight.
SHOP OWNER: George Huron
LOCATION: San Antonio, TX
Here are pictures of my knockdown bench design for the school I am founding (open for business this year I hope). I am building five of these to start with. There are sixteen - 3/8 x 4 ½-inch bolts and four - ¼ x 4-inch bolts, which holds it all together. I might have gotten away with only using twelve 3/8-inch bolts but since the base frame is made of softwood, I didn't chance it.
The bench top is 3/4 and 1/2-inch plywood glued into a torsion box. Only the six inches nearest the front of the bench and the two inches nearest the back are solid from top to bottom. Every seven inches or so, there are strips of plywood between the top and bottom "skins" of the top. I did this to keep the bench top lightweight. The top is located on the frame via two 1/2-inch dowels and attached to the frame with four of the 3/8-inch bolts.
To keep costs down, the base frame is made of construction grade white wood 2x4s and 2x6s. The two stretchers are located relative to the two sub-frame members with four - 1/2-inch dowels each and attached with six of the 3/8-inch bolts. I glued the "dog ears" onto the 2x6s.
The vise is a $20 no frills vise. It attaches with the four - ¼ -inch bolts and is removable when transporting the bench. The next things I'll need to make are the Lego-like attachments to the sub-frame. These will adjust the height of the bench to fit taller people. There is nothing worse than using a bench that is too short. It costs about $90 in materials to make each bench.. . . George Huron
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