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Building a new workbench

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Blog series by Loogie updated 04-24-2009 05:42 AM 11 parts 73092 reads 67 comments total

Part 1: The top is glued up and the components are rough cut

01-29-2009 10:28 PM by Loogie | 9 comments »

I’m in the process of building a new workbench based on Bob Lang's bench as detailed in the October 2008 issue of Popular Woodworking. I’ve read Christopher Schwarz book “Workbenches: From Design And Theory To Construction And Use” as well as several others. It always seemed like I wanted a combination of the features I found in most other benches. Bob Langs design was the first I’d seen that incorporated everything I wanted in a bench, so here goes! I bou...

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Part 2: Four Square

01-30-2009 05:15 AM by Loogie | 5 comments »

I spent about 4 hours in the shop this afternoon machining all the parts four-square. I only ended up with one trapezoid! I don’t know what happened with that one. I must not been paying attention at the jointer. I remade that piece and was on my way – luckily it was the smallest component too. So, here’s all the stock. Now it’s time to start doing some real machining.

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Part 3: Mortise & Tenon's are rought cut

02-06-2009 09:55 PM by Loogie | 5 comments »

I got to spend a few hours in the shop yesterday and I got the top planed although I discovered that one half of the top has developed a little twist. I’ll wait until it’s attached to the base and in position before I worry about hand planing it flat. I got the mortises chopped out and the tenons rough cut. Here’s where I sit now:

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Part 4: Assembling the wedged mortise & tenons

02-09-2009 04:44 AM by Loogie | 7 comments »

I spent a few hours…quite a few hours refining the fit of the mortise and tenons. They were pretty close, but when your working with 8/4 stock and seriously hard wood it seems to take forever to make small adjustments. I have a Veritas medium shoulder plane, but a true rabbet plane would really have come in handy. So would a much better set of rasp’s.After I got the tenons properly fit I took them over to the band saw and cut a kerf for the wedges. I left about 1/8” of wood ...

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Part 5: Half-lapping the side rails

02-12-2009 09:44 PM by Loogie | 3 comments »

Last night I got to put in a few hours on the bench project. I’ve been working on half-lapping the side rails. First marked out the dovetails then I cut them on the band saw. The upper stretcher is a full half-lapped dovetail and the bottom rails has a half-lapped dovetail only on the bottom side. The top side gets a wedge pin to complete the dovetail. After I had the dovetails cut I cut the shoulders with a hand saw then I headed over to the table saw where I used my dado head t...

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Part 6: Completeing the leg joinery

02-14-2009 05:47 AM by Loogie | 5 comments »

Having finished milling the half lapped dovetails for the rails yesterday, today I was working on milling the matching dovetails on the outer part of the legs to receive the rails. The legs are made up of two sections of 8/4 ash which are glued together after the milling is complete. Doing it this way makes it very easy to create the dovetailed through mortise for the bottom rail. I started by marking all the joints using the dovetails already cut on the rails. Each piece is made to match it&...

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Part 7: First time base assembly

02-16-2009 04:51 AM by Loogie | 9 comments »

Ok, All the parts have been trimmed and fit so it’s time to put the base together for the the first time. It will have to come apart multiple times after this for some finishing touches. I can attest that I am unable to rack this base AT ALL – even though the top rails aren’t secure with their lag bolts yet. That sure will be nice. My old bench would shake and jiggle when I was planing on it. Next I will be drilling the holes in the two rails on this side of the bench...

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Part 8: Slow week

02-24-2009 04:09 AM by Loogie | 9 comments »

This week life intervened and I didn’t get much work done on the bench. Just before I left on my trip I started to drill the holes in the side rails. I started by using a 3/4” auger bit in my drill press. Unfortunately I didn’t plan this step quite as thoroughly as I have done for the rest of this project. Mistake #1 not trying this technique on a pice of scrap first and instead drilling into the bottom rail of the workbench. Mistake #2: Not clamping the rail down to the ta...

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Part 9: Another "boring" post

03-17-2009 02:14 AM by Loogie | 0 comments »

After buying the 3/4” Colt Maxicut forstner bit, I still wasn’t happy with my hole boring operation. The Maxicut is great, but I just felt that for holes almost 4” deep there had to be another option. I ended up buying another Colt product – their Twinland Brad Point bit. THIS was the answer I was looking for! This bit hogs out a nice clean hole and the leaves smooth exit as well. Next I had to decide how to best drill the 1 1/2” holes for the screws o...

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Part 10: Time to install the tail vise

03-17-2009 02:43 AM by Loogie | 5 comments »

For the tail vise I chose the Jorgensen 41012 quick-release vise. The vise comes with lag screws to attach it to the bottom of the bench, but I decided to thru-bolt it to the bench for increased security. To mark the holes for the vise I flipped it upside down on the top of the bench and marked the centers for the holes, but this location deosn’t take into account the fact that the face of the vise will be mortised into the end of the bench in order for it to be flush, so I then moved t...

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Part 11: Project Completion: The tool trays are completed & installed

04-24-2009 05:42 AM by Loogie | 10 comments »

After several weeks of working on hanging doors, trim work and building a bathroom vanity I finally got a chance to finish up my workbench. One of the features that really attracted me to this workbench design in the first place was the reversible tool trays. I really don’t like the idea of having a big trough running down the middle of my bench, but being able to flip the trays over and have flat surface was very appealing. I decided to dovetail the trays rather than use the rabbet joi...

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