Well, it took 6 months from the time I first bought the yellow pine, but I am glad to say that the bench is finally done.
I could write a bunch about all the mistakes I made, stuff I learned, etc., but I won’t bore you with all that. Just a few quick comments.
True to form, I made some silly mistakes, like relying on the dimensions in the Chris Schwarz article and forgetting that his legs were narrower than mine so this nicely cut inset for the end-vise was in the wrong place. Not hard to fix.
In retrospect, I should have left drilling the dog holes to the very end when BOTH vises were installed so they were all laid out with both vises in mind. But it all came out well enough.
I made the chop for the end-vise out of some maple I had around. But for the face vise I bought a beautiful piece of 6/4 hard maple. And is it hard! What a bear to work with…
I worked out a careful series of steps to ensure that all the holes for mounting the end-blocks, drill the holes for the vise screws and all that would come out right. And, amazingly, it did. Unfortunately the casting of one of the the thrust-plates from Lee Valley was not machined right and I ended up having to shim it to get the mechanics right. Lee Valley is sending me a new one, but now it means I have to disassemble it to install the new one….
But I did get both vises installed and they work great. The end-vise was really great when I was making the planks for the shelf. I don’t have a router table yet, but I just popped them into the dogs with the quick-release vise and rabbeted them lickety-split.
And so it was finally done! A couple of coats of Danish Oil et voila!
Final touch of adding the deadman.
So retrospective thoughts? What would I have changed? Hmm,
- If I made another bench, I wouldn’t use Southern Yellow Pine. Too soft. But OTOH, if I had used maple or beech it would have cost a LOT more and been much harder for a newbie to work with. So it’s fine.
- I made the bench 6 feet long. Again, my next bench would be 8 feet but that too would have made it significantly harder too so I’ll live with it.
- I would have made sure the guys laying the floor in my garage made it perfectly level. The bench itself is, as far as I can tell, true and square, but the floor isn’t quite, so I have to have a shim under one foot. Darn it!
But I’ve learned a lot. Now to actually build a piece of furniture….
-- Ric, Northern Illinois, "Design thrice, measure twice, cut once... slap forehead, start over"