Modified Torsion Workbench

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Project by CreativeTangents posted 01-18-2016 11:33 PM 1726 views 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hybrid Torsion workbench. Base is made of 8/4 as well as 12/4 Soft maple, hand-cut mortise and tenon joinery. Base attached to worktop with 3 1/2” Lags through the skirt.

Top itself is a torsion assembly 5’x3’ : Overall work-top is 4” Thick, with a substantial piece of Walnut on the vise edge to receive the most abuse. Weight: a LOT, glad I didn’t go the solid route.

Top and bottom skin 3/4 Baltic Birch
Interior partitions made with 1×3 poplar finger jointed at intersections.
Edges Made of Solid Walnut left over from Home (Northern California has the good stuff)
Screw holes holding the top and bottom to assembly plugged with 3/8 Walnut dowels.

Vise set into worktop about 1” up from the bottom, milled out with router and chisel, inset to thickness of interior jaw to allow flush clamping of work pieces. Due to the complex double bevel of the vise (as well as casting imperfections) I Milled out the general area, and trimmed in the details with Mahogany. Top strip is beveled with the vise jaws and epoxied in place, once sanded this created almost a wedged veneer maybe 1/8 thick near the vise face tapering to about 1/4 towards the bench. A whole lot of trim/ check fit.

Whole project is finished with General Finishes Water based Enduro topcoat. First time using, as well as first time using a turbine HVLP (Fuji Hobby pro with 1.3 tip) Definitely a learning curve, but turned out nice. Its a workbench, so it doesn’t have to be glass smooth all around.

Intention is in the future to Add a Linear guide t-slot rail horizontally across the face and rear of the sides of the bench, to install a CNC type Carriage assembly creating roughly 40”x36” work space for a router sled/tinkering. More design followed by trial and error between now and then. More to follow.


First big project in over 10 years since college. First time hand cutting Mortise and Tenons. Definitely a learning process, one joint was just barely loose so that one got epoxy, the rest were snug and only used TiteBond. The Torsion box style was a good option in that the table is within 1/16-1/32 of being truly flat across the surface (I’m not building spaceships on this thing anyways) second most importantly, it was MUCH cheaper. I think including the $220 vise the total cost was around $550. Comparably a solid DIY top of that thickness would have been in the realm of $700-$800

Designed with a Paper and pencil, Plenty of times I had to get a little creative with components to deal with the adversity that comes with designing by hand and forgetting small things. Sketch-up would solve that, but also take 10x as long to lay out the plans.

Bench is solid as a rock, flat, has a vise, and looks alright. Good learning, good practice. Good point of departure into future garage projects.

First post on LJ, I really enjoy seeing what people create, and hopefully someone will find an aspect or component of this project that gives them some ideas.

4 comments so far

View SuperCubber's profile


1080 posts in 2790 days

#1 posted 01-19-2016 03:35 AM

That is a serious bench. Looks beautiful too!

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View ScrapHeap's profile


22 posts in 2141 days

#2 posted 01-19-2016 02:00 PM

Great bench. I really like the design. Congratulations on your project and thanks for sharing.

View Woodknack's profile


12903 posts in 2885 days

#3 posted 01-19-2016 07:02 PM

Great looking bench. I’m not clear on the hybrid part—a mix of torsion and ??

-- Rick M,

View CreativeTangents's profile


2 posts in 1365 days

#4 posted 01-20-2016 12:40 AM

Hybrid may be too generous. Its not 100% a torsion top, as I incorporated more solid edges, including the 4×4 Walnut on the vise side edge for increased durability. I also had to add some bulk to the torsion frame in vicinity of the vise mounting location to ensure the vise was attached to a solid block of wood all around and not floating around in space in the normal torsion frame. So I guess Modified torsion design would be more apt.

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