Workbench #7: Putting on my pretty skirt

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Blog entry by Clay Ortiz posted 09-30-2010 02:53 AM 4612 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Gluing the Top Part 7 of Workbench series Part 8: Installing the end vise »

I thought I would be done by now but between work and waiting on my end vise I haven’t got there yet. I have everything as far as I can go, with out the vise. So here is where it’s at.

This is the jig I used to cut the tenon on the end of the top.


In this shot you can see how I was trying to get as much length out of the top as possible.

Here I have the dado in the skirt before I cut the dove tails.

I spent a lot of time thinking about the dove tail layout and what would look the best. I was limited in what I could do because the top tail had to hide the dado in the skirt. So, in the end I played it safe.

All I need now is the end vise and I’ll be ready to go.

I have run into a problem with the vise and the skirt. I originally ordered the twin screw vise from Lie-Nielsen. With that vise the chain that drives the screws is housed inside the jaw. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before but this won’t work if you want to have dogs between the screws because they will hit the chain. I called and talked to the guys at Lie-Neilsen and reluctantly canceled my order.

At first I didn’t think it would be a big deal because I could just use the Lee Valley vise. But after looking at their web site I see that in order for it to work the skirt has to be 7” because my top is 2-5/8” thick and mine is 5-1/2”.

I thought I would laminate a couple strips to the bottom of the skirt to make up the 7” but I really don’t like the look. It messes up the look of the dove tails. Here is a picture.

I was hoping one of you guys have installed one of the Lee Valley vises and can let me know how it went.

-- Clay Ortiz, North Georgia

4 comments so far

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2910 days

#1 posted 09-30-2010 03:47 AM

I installed two of them. Check my blog.

They are very easy to install. The thickness of your side will eat up some of the depth of the vise, so allow for that when determining the size of the throat.

Also, check the requirements for the depth of the back piece. You have a 7 1/2” side, so if the back end takes up 4 inches (I’m guessing here) you’ll have 3” extra. In my case, I only had about 2 1/2”! so mine hangs lower than the edge. It still functions as designed.

Probably the hardest part is figuring out where the holes go through the side. Measure 2x, cut once?

Very nice bench btw….

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3852 days

#2 posted 09-30-2010 01:40 PM

Beastly for sure Senior Oritz, its going to be a wonderful work surface for years to come…great blog enjoy reading…BC

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3420 days

#3 posted 09-30-2010 01:49 PM

I like it very much! Nice work.

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View Marc5's profile


304 posts in 3371 days

#4 posted 10-01-2010 02:39 AM

That is a nice looking bench! Dovetails are a nice touch.

-- Marc

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