This weekend I had time to work on the Wagon Vise. Overall it came out really nice. I also attached the top to the base, so it’s all one piece now.
I’m using a standard veneer press screw for the Wagon Vise, nothing special and it’s cheap. The first step was to bore a hole for the thread bracket, that the screw runs through. I have to tell you boring through end-grain is a bit of a pain. I should have bored the hole using my drill press, before I glued the piece in place. Next time I’ll know better. I ended up using a cordless drill and a 1.25” Forstner bit. It took a little time but I finally made it through, with no real tear-out.
Next I had to deal with screwing into end-grain. Generally screws don’t hold very well in end-grain and I wasn’t planning to put an end-cap on the bench. Dorje gave me a good suggestion. Drill a hole through the top and insert a dowel. The threads of the screws will bight into the long-grain of the dowel better than the end-grain of the wood.
I gave it a shot and it worked pretty well. Although it felt like the screws would eventually pull out, even with the dowels. If it wasn’t for the pressure the vise was going to put on the screws, I think this technique would have worked really well. I ended up putting a long bolt through the end and attaching a nut. This worked really well. Then I had another idea. I could have flipped the bracket around and put it on the inside of the wagon opening. That way when I put pressure on the vise it would push the bracket into the wood. Oh well, I can do that if this set up ever gives me any problems.
Next I installed the wagon and flipped the top over. The wagon was little thicker than the top, so I had to mark what needed to be removed.
I took an old plane blade and laid it flat on the bench and scribed around the wagon. I then used a scrub plane to remove the bulk of the wood and finished up with my #5.5. It only took a few minutes to this with hand planes.
The next step was cut a ¾” x ¾” rabbet on the underside of the wagon opening.
I used my router and fence to do this. Sorry for the blurry picture. I only took one picture and it turned out blurry. You might notice a little wave in the rabbet on the right side. I didn’t have the fence tight against the edge and it pulled away, before I realized. Good thing it is on the underside of the bench, where no one will see it. These rabbets will hold a couple of pieces of aluminum track that will hold the wagon and keep it from sagging.
Here are the aluminum pieces. They are 1.25” x 1/8” and about 10.5” long.
I drilled a few holes and counter sunk them, so the heads of the screws will be flush.
I then marked where the aluminum tracks will intersect the wagon. I then ripped a couple of groves with my table saw. The width of my saw blade was just the right size. It gave just enough room for the aluminum tracks, so that it wouldn’t too snug.
Here’s how the tracks fit into the wagon.
By using the rabbets and the aluminum tracks, I can remove the wagon and replace it if it ever gets damaged.
Here’s the wagon vise installed. It moves really smoothly, I couldn’t be happier with how it came out. The aluminum tracks give the wagon a lot support. I thought I was going to have to use wax or something to get it to move smoothly, but it’s fine as it.
I clamped up a board to see how it was going to work.
With very little clamping pressure, the board is held snugly in place. I’m using 2 Veritas Bench Dogs in my bench. I think I’m going to like these bench dogs.
I’m really happy with how the Wagon Vise turned out. I think I made the right choice. It might a couple move weeks before I have a chance to do more work on the bench. I think in one more weekend I could have it finished. I need to install the large face vise and flatten the top, then put a finish on it. Ok, maybe two weekend ☺.