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Bench base

Posted by joeabbott on March 23, 2009

bench_baseI finished a pretty easy part of the bench modeling project. It was much easier than I thought so maybe I’m getting better at SketchUp or, more likely, the bench base is super simple. Either way, I was able to take measurements and model in an hour or so.

The whole thing was easy to build except for two things: it was the first real thing that I’d built and I was using all hand tools so, combined with my lack of skill, it wasn’t perfect. I’ll describe the makeup from the picture to the left.

The top and bottom horizontal beams that make up the legs are built from of two 2×4 pine beams. Pretty much you go to your big-box hardware store and look for the cheapest 2×4 they have … it’s usually labelled as “fir” and the cheap ones are about 58″. As I needed 32″ lengths, I bought a longer piece, cut it two, and had the components for a beam. Unfortunately, I didn’t surface the face and so the glue-up was a bit messy.

Anyhow, I hogged out a 4″ x.75″ deep slot at three inched from each end, then I glued two of them together … with the slots facing each other. Looking at the top of the piece and I think you’ll get the picture. The slots would create a mortise after the glue dried and I was able to insert a tenon cut into the end of a 30″ vertical member. The top and bottom legs are identical and were the “easy” part. Again, it was my first construction project so it was far from perfect.

I then had to join the two legs so I got a wide 2-by board for the stretcher. The long horizontal beam holding the legs up and together is called a stretcher.

The only expensive part to the whole thing was eight barrel nuts that I got to mount the legs to the stetcher. They were the better part of $100, as I recall. Ouch.

The stretcher is 49″ long and has four barrel nuts holding the legs on (two to a side). In the picture it’s represented as the cylinder\hole in the face. After the barrel nut had a home, I had drilled a long hole in the end of the stretcher to meet up with it … this hole was then transferred to the leg and finally a bolt was put through it. As I recall, I need the help of a friend who had a lot of woodworking skills help me. He also helped with the design of the bench.

Anyhow, I don’t have the barrel number or lag bolts modeled.

The stretcher is 7″ deep … but that seems wrong and, using standard lumber should be about 7.5″. I may have bought an undersized board but don’t recall trimming it down. The intent was to have a very deep member here so I could space the barrel number as far apart as possible (while still giving me room under the bench for a shelf) so I could use the moment arm in my favor.

The barrel nuts were about 5″ apart to help counter act the tipping forces. With 0.5″ lag bolts, it’s rock solid and I haven’t felt it shimmy yet!

Anyhow, that’s the bench legs. Now that I have that modeled, I can put it together with the top for a full representation of my bench. Then I can “mount” the vise and see how it all fits together!


One Response to “Bench base”

  1. […] model I’ve made and written about here. I wrote previously about modeling the bench top, the legs, and finally the vise. Now I put it all […]

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