Golden Ratio Benchtop Design in SketchUp

Yesterday, I drew a 3D design of the benchtop of my golden ratio clamping/assembly bench, which I’d introduced in a previous post as a jig I’m going to use for historic window repair. Using Google SketchUp, I translated my earlier rough sketch into a 3D design showing all the various components and how they’d fit together.

The benchtop consists of a 3/4″ plywood base, cut to 30″ x 84″. Four 333/4Kreg Tool Klamp Trak ® sections are required for the surface clamping system. They’re cut appropriately, oriented to the golden ratio proportions defined in my rough sketch, and through-bolted to the plywood. This is illustrated in the SketchUp model shown below (note that the fractions in 64ths in the length-wise dimensions are small approximation errors in SketchUp, and not an intended part of the design, which specifies two lengths of 52″ and 32″, respectively):

Golden Ratio Workbench Top (Base)

The work surface itself will be formed by cutting four 3/4″ thick MDF-melamine panels to fit each of the four quadrants defined by the tracks.  The illustration below shows three panels positioned onto the base and against the tracks, with the fourth panel about to be put in place:

Golden Ratio Workbench Surface With Panels Mostly In Place

The completed workbench surface will look like this:

Golden Ratio Workbench Surface with Klamp Traks(R)

Finally, here’s a close-up view of the transverse track at the foot of the bench. Since the extruded section is ~0.7″ in height, it will sit just slightly below the surface of the 3/4″ MDF, ensuring a smooth working surface. It’s kind of cool how this small difference is still visually obvious in SketchUp when you zoom closely in on it:

Golden Ratio Workbench Close-Up Of Klamp Trak(R)

As I’m designing this bench, it’s becoming more apparent that a wide range of applications could readily be served by it. For example, with the addition of a few hockey puck -style standoffs, I could readily use the bench for steadying windows while scraping them of paint and glazing compound, immediately after steaming them (that is, steaming them in a different location, of course; not on this bench). The non-skid standoffs, combined with sufficient clamping pressure from above, should cushion the window and hold it firmly in place, while providing enough vertical space for debris to fall clear. And the melamine top would make for easy clean-up.

At this point, however, I’m not sure if I’m going to incorporate inset vises and dog holes into this benchtop, as I’d considered initially. Of course, the dogs and vises would function completely independently of the clamp-down system. But it seems like jamming too much functionality into a single structure, so I’m now leaning toward building a sister bench for spreading and straightening operations, instead.

Oh, and if anyone’s interested in downloading any of these SketchUp designs, they’re all readily available here on Google 3D Warehouse.

About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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