Workbench Wednesday – The Ultimate Portable Bench 4.0

Over the next several Wednesdays I will be chronicling the construction of a new, 4.0 version of a portable workbench I first designed and built more than twenty years ago.  This version  began its gestation more than seven years when I reflected on version 3.0 and imparted several additional modifications to improve its utility immensely as I am finishing the project only now.

The entire concept rests on the twin features of an ultra-high slab strength and ultra-low slab weight.  The only obvious resolution of this seeming paradox was to fashion the slab in the form of a torsion box, a concept I first learned from Ian Kirby.  My historical trek is as follows.

Version 1.0 was really just a proof-of-concept prototype, although it is still in use more than twenty years later, albeit as a table next to the barbecue grill.  The 24″ x 48″ top was indeed lightweight and very strong, but that was countermanded by using folding steel legs heavier than the top.

Version 2.0 was a marked improvement in many respects, and is still in use on the fourth floor as a work table.  The top dimensions remained at 24″ x 48″.

Version 3.0 was a demo project from a Groopshop eight(?) years ago for/with my friend BillR, who needed a bench to use in a museum gallery, which happened to be identical to the original purpose concept for the bench project.  Make a large, strong, lightweight collapsible bench that one man could easily carry into a work environment, set it up and take it down.  One of the major changes to this version was to make the top 24″ x 60″ which increased the overall weight around 4 pounds but added some important improvements to the undercarriage layout and construction.

Version 4.0 builds on the earlier improvement and takes the bench many steps farther.

Stay tuned.