Hand tools & Torsion box question - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 10-30-2016, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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Hand tools & Torsion box question

I've reviewed many inquiries on torsion boxes and found no info relating to this particular type of bench build. I built a general use workbench (assembly and outfeed) some time ago using a solid core door with a hardboard top. The frame for this bench was built torsion box style and it is very heavy and solid. I used a very old solid core door on top and used hardboard for a sacrificial top.

I am hoping to start a true hand tool woodworking bench very soon and want a 2' x 6' solid top made of SYP 3" thick. This will be my first hand tool bench and I want heavy and strong. I have a few vises (and will choose two) for this build and have a couple of ?? for those with relevant experience.
Q1. Is it necessary to access the underside of the top from the ends of the bench? Reason = I'd like to build torsion boxes (heavy duty ones) for the frame ends of this bench. My idea is to have the front and rear lower stretchers enter the framing of the torsion box sides ( as a tenon would enter a mortise). Having torsion box sides makes them a solid surface and restricts reaching under the bench top from the sides. The frame will be only about 3.5' long to allow for a face vise front left and a tail vise on the right end. Please visualize each leg made up of 3 layers of 2 by 6 material before the outer plywood layer is applied for extra strength and weight.

Since the vises are mounted outboard of the ends, they somewhat restricts reaching beneath the bench from the end anyway. Lower stretchers (doubled 2x6) along with the 3" thick top should provide strength in the lengthwise direction (think hand planning), but the ends would be easy and economical to make massive using dressed construction lumber and 3/4" plywood. Rather than build simple legs for the bench ends these torsion boxes would lower any reservations I have about putting a floor jack under an end, inserting a furniture dolly, then using the jack on the other end when and if I need to move the bench. Everything else in my shop is on casters, but I want the bench on the floor when in use.
Thanks for your knowledgeable input!
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-30-2016, 08:28 AM
where's my table saw?
 
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generally speaking ....

A torsion box is used when the surface needs to be straight and flat and resist bending ... none of which are needed on the support ends of a workbench. JMO. I have a very heavy workbench I use for metal working, that has 2 x 6 legs joined at 90 degrees in each corner with stretchers running the length on under the top and near the bottom to support a shelf. When loaded with vises and tool boxes, the only way I can move this is with a 1 1/2 ton floor jack.

All you really need is a frame for supporting the top that is resistant to racking. The method you use to attach the "torsion box" ends to the top is the weakest link as I see it, not knowing the specifics. Rack resistance would come from a sturdy back, securely attached to the legs.

Without a sketch, it's a bit tough to imagine what you intend to do here...

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 10-30-2016 at 09:39 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-30-2016, 12:30 PM
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A workbench made without storage is a big waste of space IMO.
I like drawers in my workbench. I have 10 drawers in mine. Keeps my hand tools handy. I keep small electric tools like sanders and skil saws in the large drawers and pencils and nail punches in small drawers. You can't have too many drawers.
I also like rollers under my workbench. Sometimes I need to move it. Lock the rollers in place when positioned where I want it. ( I guess my workbench weighs 400-500 lbs loaded.)

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #4 of 10 Old 10-30-2016, 04:54 PM
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Actually a tool bench with nothing under it is better. I've found over the years drawers and shelves generally create clutter. Hanging hand tools should be #1 on the list. A shelf to hold larger hand tools belt sander, routers,etc should be as narrow as possible to eliminate cluttering.
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-30-2016, 06:08 PM
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Hand tools &amp; Torsion box question

I see no need for the torsion box. I built my version of Chris Schwarz's Roubo bench with laminated SYP. The top is 4" thick & only 22" wide. Legs are laminated 5" x 5" drawbored into the top - no glue. Stretchers & shelf below. It is SOLID. No racking. No moving around. It stayed put when it was on a concrete floor, too.
I don't have or want drawers under it. I think they would interfere with my holdfasts and probably the dogs, too. I know they would prevent the use of clamps across the underside of the top when clamping something to the side of the bench.

If you haven't already bought your lumber you might consider buying 2 x 12's and/or 2 x 10's and ripping down. It seems easier to find more usable wood in the wider boards. This is not my original idea, but advice I picked up somewhere and found to be true, even in the BORG's.

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Last edited by WesTex; 10-30-2016 at 06:19 PM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-30-2016, 06:39 PM
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He wants a torsion box for a work bench. It is his preference not yours.

Kinda like I said on another forum when one asked how he should set his shop up. You set it up your way or the way everyone else wants you too....
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-30-2016, 07:08 PM
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the top is NOT a torsion box

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roselander View Post
I've reviewed many inquiries on torsion boxes and found no info relating to this particular type of bench build. I built a general use workbench (assembly and outfeed) some time ago using a solid core door with a hardboard top. The frame for this bench was built torsion box style and it is very heavy and solid. I used a very old solid core door on top and used hardboard for a sacrificial top.

I am hoping to start a true hand tool woodworking bench very soon and want a 2' x 6' solid top made of SYP 3" thick.
This will be my first hand tool bench and I want heavy and strong. I have a few vises (and will choose two) for this build and have a couple of ?? for those with relevant experience.
Q1. Is it necessary to access the underside of the top from the ends of the bench? Reason = I'd like to build torsion boxes (heavy duty ones) for the frame ends of this bench. My idea is to have the front and rear lower stretchers enter the framing of the torsion box sides ( as a tenon would enter a mortise). Having torsion box sides makes them a solid surface and restricts reaching under the bench top from the sides. The frame will be only about 3.5' long to allow for a face vise front left and a tail vise on the right end. Please visualize each leg made up of 3 layers of 2 by 6 material before the outer plywood layer is applied for extra strength and weight.

.........
Thanks for your knowledgeable input!
He doesn't want a torsion box for the top, where it would make the most sense, being strong, straight and flat. He want's to make the ends torsion boxes which is why I stated the racking issue. It's not necessary on the ends. I wanted to know the joinery method and to know is there was a back panel which is necessary to reduce the racking factor, especially if there is no a shelf framing.


He asked for knowledgeable input or "opinions" .....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-30-2016, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
He doesn't want a torsion box for the top, where it would make the most sense, being strong, straight and flat. He want's to make the ends torsion boxes which is why I stated the racking issue. It's not necessary on the ends. I wanted to know the joinery method and to know is there was a back panel which is necessary to reduce the racking factor, especially if there is no a shelf framing.


He asked for knowledgeable input or "opinions" .....
I offered him our layout for top or legs as we do torsion tops and legs on a regular bases. I will upload him the specs on another forum...
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-30-2016, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks to you all. Yes, I want a solid top. The "torsion box" term makes people think of a lightweight but flat top, but let's put that term aside and say I want laminated pine legs like West Tex' pictures in his fine bench. It might not be necessary, but I'm simply asking will I inconvenience any under bench access if I build the ends, then screw on a layer of 3/4" plywood? I will have front and rear stretchers approximately 8" off the floor and a 3" top should lock it all together against racking.
- Just asking Do you ever reach under the bench from the ends? If not, this lets me know I can add a layer of plywood to one or both sides of the ends after building some beefy legs. The bench will have strength BEFORE I add the plywood. It's extra and is used to distribute the stress to the entire end frame when I put a jack under it to move the bench. Yes, it is overkill, but what can it hurt?
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-30-2016, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebelwork View Post
Actually a tool bench with nothing under it is better. I've found over the years drawers and shelves generally create clutter. Hanging hand tools should be #1 on the list. A shelf to hold larger hand tools belt sander, routers,etc should be as narrow as possible to eliminate cluttering.

I respect your opinion, but I wouldn't trade my bench with drawers. For me, it's organized where I can find hand tools quickly without walking away from the bench. It helps me eliminate clutter. This is the second workbench of this type I've built. I gave one o built 30 years ago to my son and built another of nearly the same dimension and design but with HD KV drawer slides. Keep in mind I have a garage shop. I need to be organized and utilize the space as best I can. :smile3:

If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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