I am dedicating this installment to GaryK’s comment from a previous entry. Gary this picture is for you:
In addition to these three bags of shavings, there were a several more that either were added to the compost or made spectacular fireplace starter on some recent colder rainy nights.
The three planes pictured below were my workhorses, the scrub in the top most position, no. 5 in the middle, and smooth at the bottom. In the course of all this planing, I am finding the ergonomics of the ECE wood planes preferable to the Stanley.
My progress is becoming observable as I have whittled my stock pile down and have many pieces cut to size. There has been a lot of twist introduced along the way from drying that I have had to take out with the planes. The scrub has been very valuable in this process, though I have at times also introduced some coarse tearout using the scrub.
In addition to using the square, I also started employing a piece of mdf board to check the pieces for flatness and the two in combination helped me get them fairly trued up. Once they were in pretty good shape, I cut them closer to final length and then rigged up a shooting board and squared up the ends with an ECE jointer or try plane.
Then I laid out the legs, bench supports and skis along with what will become the planing beam bars to get a look at their appearance. I spent some time going back and forth between watching the video of the bench on FW and the pictures and drawings in a copy of the article and decided to cut the primary legs back a bit in width. This will give me a little symmetry under the tail vise pipes and yet I think still provide adequate strength.
I don’t always use hand tools and for this operation plus cutting out the keyhole slots and ripping the excess stock off of the primary legs I employed the use of my vintage 1968 Delta Bandsaw great production year, some real originals born that year, that is why I was sold on this model. I notice the bench doesn’t employ keyhole slots in the secondary legs and am going with that as well, they are 5 and 1/2 inches in width and I welcome any comments as to why it wouldn’t be necessary or if I should revise and include them. It was interesting to note that when I cut one of the keyhole slots on the bandsaw, the cut closed behind the blade so there was some tension going on there.
In Jeff’s blog he mentioned using sketchup and I have it downloaded on another computer and when I can make some time to get familiar with it I think it will be a great asset, but for this project I have been referencing a copy of the article and making a lot of my own paper and pencil drawings to scale to figure out how to come to some dimensions for the placement of the tail vise barclamps and front vise barclamps. I am using the 3/4 inch size as I like the handles better and did some figuring on how the front ones would align with the edge of the front of the bench. I put a close up picture of my drawings and notes below, but not sure how well they will come across on the site
Below are the pieces that are beginning to emerge for the project:
Bench supports and skis
Primary and secondary legs
Here I am laying out the mortises in the supports and skis. They are a little difficult to see as I was using a mechanical pencil and trying to make as fine a line as possible. The articles I read stress using a mortise gauge or marking knife and I had purchased some clovis point shaped x-acto blades, got one out of the package to scribe my fine line, only to discover that my x-acto handle was too small for this size blade… so the mechanical pencil. I referenced articles in FW by Tage Frid and Ian Kirby on mortise and tenon joinery that had several helpful drawings and concepts to keep in mind and then hybridized their respective approaches for this application. As I write this it occurs to me I should have pointed out that I decided to use this as an alternative to the lag joinery in the original article. My thought is that I would like to be able to disassemble the bench should we move at some point, but it would be fine to keep the legs as assembled units for packing should that happen. So this was a chance to take a shot at this traditional style of joinery and hopefully have a rock solid bench. I am also considering doing tusked mortise and tenon joints for the stretchers, but have to take a closer look at the characteristics of this wood to see if it will work.
Also here the layout of the tenons on the secondary legs. Again, I welcome comment as to why or why not the keyhole slots should or shouldn’t be included in the secondary legs. I am planning on adding an additional stretcher between them as well and then creating a shelf for the planes between the two stretchers.
Finally, here is a shot of one of the secondary legs with the tenons cut. I have cut the majority of the waste away on the bandsaw, but left the final approach for the chisels. Along the way, I found I could mimic some of the functions of the finished bench on my saw horses. The big hulk of stock that will become the table is resting on the lower portion of the sawhorses and made a solid platform to rest the legs on while cutting out the tenons. I then put the two boards that are the stock for the stretchers on top of the saw horses and used to large quick clamps about 5 feet apart on the two top boards to clamp the leg being cut into place. It worked fairly well to provide me with a stable base to work on, though I am amazed that the plastic sawhorses have not completely collapsed.
Well that is about as far as I am, it will take some more time to clean up the rest of the tenons and cut out the mortises. I have been patiently waiting for the steel city drill presses to show up, but they still haven’t arrived at the local woodworking shop. Not sure if I will try and hack out the mortise by hand or not prior to the arrival of the drill press. Will see how it goes cleaning up the rest of the tenons. Thanks for stopping by and checking it out. Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.
-- Michael, Seattle, WA