Plywood Torsion Modified Mobile Newfangled Workbench

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Project by dpritts posted 04-24-2014 03:33 PM 6865 views 19 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is another version of John Whites Newfangled workbench from fine woodworking. I basically kept the idea of using pipe clamps as the method of wood holding, and the planing beam. The rest of it is mostly a departure. He built his using inexpensive solid wood, but without a planer or jointer, I thought I would try something different.
My version has 3 separate 3/4” plywood boxes to serve as the top. The front and back boxes are torsion construction, and the middle box is open. The bottom of all three boxes is one piece of 3/4” ply. The boxes are also attached to each other with machine screws an t-nuts. The front and rear boxes have a screwed on 3/4” plywood top (replaceable), and the middle top a series of unattached sections of ply in various sizes to facilitate use of the pipe clamps.
The base is made of screwed together 2×4s on 3” double locking casters. The base is attached to the top again with machine screws and t-nuts. The base also incorporates 3/4” black pipe to serve as the vertical supports for the planing beam.
I used 3/4” pipe clamps to serve as the from “vice” (because I had them) and the rest for the planing beam. I used 1/2” pipes and clamps for the tail “vice.” The top is 7” thick and has holes drilled on 6”centers to facilitate moving the front clamps around to accommodate various sizes of wood for clamping.
I added a 3” drawer plywood cabinet with full extension ball bearing slides to hold chisels, handplanes, routers, sharpening equipment, marking, measuring…..
I can clamp wood several different ways, and here are the pics. It’s easier to visualize than to explain.

The front pipe clamps adjust in and out for various thickness by moving a pin inserted in holes I drilled in the clamps spaced about 1 1/2” apart.
The removable top pieces in the center section can also be used as sacrificial pieces for drilling and are easily replaced. They sit on the ledge of the center box. and allow the clamps to slide the length of the bench.

The bench is really heavy, and stays solid even though it is on casters. I built it with maple ply, oak, pine, some other scraps, and a ton of screws, machine screws and t-nuts so that I could take it apart to replace anything that didn’t work. (I really wasn’t sure.) Three coats of poly should help keep coffee stains off, but we’ll see.
Any questions you should watch the video of John White explaining his, but I would be glad to answer any other questions about mine specifically.

6 comments so far

View CoachSchroeder's profile


97 posts in 2842 days

#1 posted 04-24-2014 06:42 PM

Good stuff.
I hadn’t heard of John White’s bench before but your post helps inform/inspire me. Thanks!

-- -Sam, in Wisconsin

View muesli's profile


510 posts in 2747 days

#2 posted 04-24-2014 08:27 PM

A great bench, that you made!
Whenever some time is left in the last months, I was planing around to build my version of the newfangled workbench. I bought the plan and made several different versions with sketchup. But I never thought about a combination with a torsionbox until now. Thanks a lot for your input! I will think about it.

-- Uwe from Germany.

View Woodwrestler's profile


56 posts in 3385 days

#3 posted 04-24-2014 08:31 PM

My first bench was new fangled bench and thought it lacked some rigidity. Your modifications of the designed should do much better. Looks like a great bench and you will get a ton of good use over the next few years and than you will get the bug to build a better mouse trap just like the rest of us!

-- What man is a man who does not make the world a better place?

View roofner's profile


146 posts in 3521 days

#4 posted 04-24-2014 10:57 PM

Nice modification you simplified the drilling of the holes for the ends. I built the original.

-- Gary New York

View hotncold's profile


788 posts in 2782 days

#5 posted 04-25-2014 03:28 AM

I’ve considered this type bench before and you’ve NAILED it.
Very nice!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9983 posts in 3566 days

#6 posted 04-25-2014 11:23 AM

That’s a clever set up…. Hope it serves you well

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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