Golden Ratio Bench: Complete Design in SketchUp

This morning, I finished designing the frame for my Golden Ratio clamping/assembly workbench, using Google SketchUp. Here’s the design of the frame:

Golden Ratio Bench Frame And Basic Dimensions

I’d published an initial design of the bench top itself just a few weeks ago. At that time, it was to measure 30″ x 84″. However, I’d subsequently decided to make the top just a bit wider, so I increased its width to equal the length of a full Kreg Klamp Trak section, and then adjusted the transverse position of the length-wise track to preserve the Golden Ratio proportion. Here’s the revised bench top design with its new dimensions:

Golden Ratio Bench Top And Dimensions

The bench top will consist of a single 333/4” x 84″ x 3/4″ MDF panel to which the Klamp Trak sections are through-bolted, with the actual work surface comprised of four 3/4″ melamine panels surrounding the tracks. 333/4” x 84″ x 5/8″ plywood panels will be fastened (glued and screwed) to the bottoms of both the bench top and shelf frames for additional stiffness.

The frame will be constructed from 2 x 4 pine stock, and the bench top surface will be exactly 32″ above the floor. There will be a storage shelf below, positioned 6″ above the floor. Both bench top and shelf are supported by box frames that key directly onto the legs and are drawn to them via heavy-duty knock-down connectors, so I can readily disassemble the bench for transportation or storage. The fixed portions of the frame will be joined with pocket screws.

The completed Golden Ratio workbench will look like this:

Golden Ratio Bench Full View

Here’s another view of the bench from below, showing the torsion panels fastened beneath the bench top and shelf frames:

Golden Ratio Bench From Below

And here’s the same view with the lower torsion panel removed, revealing the framing:

Golden Ratio Bench Exploded View From Below

And just in case you were wondering, the clamping system will indeed be fully hockey puck compatible… :-)

If you’d like to use this SketchUp design, you may download it from my Google 3D Warehouse page.

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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4 Responses to Golden Ratio Bench: Complete Design in SketchUp

  1. John, looks good. Really looking forward to seeing the finished bench. Should be really nice! I see you are opting for the torsion panel. Cool. The one suggest I have is instead of perpendicular wood supports in the torsion box, you’re better off using three 2x4s all lengthwise. Your torsion box will be much stronger that way.

    • John Poole says:

      Hi Fred,

      Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the feedback!

      I have to say, however, that I’m not totally convinced about the effectiveness of using three lengthwise 2x4s in lieu of cross members, and here’s why:

      The weakest dimension of any panel runs lengthwise and straight down its center. This is where the panel has the greatest potential to flex. If the objective of all this is to have a true, flat, and stable work surface, then the most effective way to ensure that is by having some number of width-wise cross members directly resisting the panel’s tendency to flex downward along its own center line.

      Running a length-wise beam under the center line of the panel without any intermediate support, however, is less effective, because if that beam has any tendency to sag at all, it will no longer to be fully supporting the panel along the panel’s weakest dimension. Furthermore, if that center beam is attached to the center line of the panel, any sag it might have will actually have the effect of pulling the panel downwards and forcing it to flex along its center line — certainly not the intended effect.

      On the other hand, having four cross members, one at each end, and one at 1/3 and one at 2/3 the length of the panel not only prevents the panel from flexing downward along its center line, but also transfers the total load outward to the two length-wise, outer 2x4s, while also distributing that load to points at 1/3 and 2/3 the length of each outer 2×4.

      As a good example of what I’m talking about, take a look at this commercially made box beam, which is a component of a folding aluminum ramp that’s rated for about 800 lbs. It’s about 12″ wide and has two parallel I-beams on either side, and gets it rigidity from several I-beam cross-members. There’s a small center spine, but no I-beam running length-wise under the center line of the aluminum panel in lieu of the cross-member I-beams.

      Anyway, this is a great discussion, and please feel free to disagree with me if you’re not convinced. In the mean time, when I finally get my bench constructed, I’ll do some deflection tests and attempt to quantify how well both designs perform, relative to one another.

      Thanks again!
      ~ John

  2. John Poole says:

    Wow, those search engines pick stuff up quickly, don’t they? And sleep is highly overrated; I mean, who ever accomplished anything while sleeping?! :)

  3. John Poole says:

    You might say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one… :)

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