Introduction: SVB1 - Flat Utility Bench

About: it's better to waste money on means of production than on fashion or smartphones. societal incompetence is accelerating at a stunning pace. this plays directly into the hands of those in charge. don't be …

i lift. I believe in the Starting Strength ethos. as such, I bench press.

of course, there’s no bench press without a bench.

decent benches are expensive.

i weld. mild steel is fairly cheap.

i engineer. i designed and built my own flat bench.

here’s how it went.

Step 1: Materials

i went to the steel supply and got a piece of 2”x3” rectangular tube. apart from a couple scraps of sheet metal, that’s all the steel it took. i think it was about eight feet. the piece left over became a weight tree. bonus fotos at the end.

also, four square feet of plywood, a few screws and t nuts.

Step 2: Design and Layout

i did a little measuring, and a little math. i wanted the legs to have a slope of about ten degrees from vertical. i cut notches in the tubing to allow bends to be made and meet my intended angle and height specs. my math told me to make the angle included in the v notch equal 80 degrees. when folded, the angle of the legs should then be 10 degrees from vertical. spoiler: i only got nine degrees. not bad for my first time.

Step 3: Cutting and Welding

i welded the seams. the spine, and legs are one piece of steel. the ends of the legs are beveled to be parallel to the spine. the feet are cut from the same tubing, and welded to the ends of the legs. one foot is shorter than the other to keep it out of the way of my feet whilst benching. the longer one provides sufficient stability to prevent tipping.

all the welding up to this point was SMAW. 6010 and 7018, depending on the circumstances. i needed 6010 to fill some gaps in the seams. 7018 is prettier.

Step 4: Caps and Surface

the ends of the feet were capped with sheet metal. scratch start GTAW for these. i love this stuff.

i cut a 48”x12” piece of ¾” plywood for the bench surface. a few holes in the spine, and the board lined up for some screws and t-nuts. covered with a moving blanket. maybe i’ll get a real pad one day. for now, this is just fine.

simple, versatile, bombproof. call it the svb1.

Step 5: Ends and Pieces

ended up taping some blocks of horse mat to the undersides of the feet for a little bit of lift. the initial design turned out to be too low. it’s still a lot lower than the standard 17”. i prefer this. i might add, many thanks to rogue fitness for pricing their weight bench so high, and therefore inspiring me to make my own. their goods and service are generally pretty incredible.

bonus: extra piece of tube cut and drilled and welded with some sheet and pipe to create a just fine weight tree. it took a fair amount of measuring to get the spacing right for the different size plates not to interfere with each other. camera failed halfway through the mission, so this is all i got.