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Mongo: my first real workbench

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Blog series by TheRiflesSpiral updated 05-10-2017 02:58 PM 8 parts 8046 reads 20 comments total

Part 1: Planning and Laminating

03-22-2017 07:35 PM by TheRiflesSpiral | 2 comments »

All my work surfaces are specific to a tool… outfeed table on a table saw, infeed and outfeed tables on a router table, long benches on either side of a radial arm saw and power miter saw station, etc. I’ve been without a general work surface ever since I started working wood in my own shop. A such, my projects tend to move from whatever tool I’m not using to whatever tool I just used and none are really suitable for any handwork which is where my focus has started to tur...

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Part 2: Materials and Method

03-27-2017 01:50 PM by TheRiflesSpiral | 5 comments »

With laminations complete, I’m starting to begin assembly in earnest. Lamination is a repetitive, boring task that I really do not enjoy but because I can’t afford 16/4×12” x 8’ slab material, I’m relegated to squaring/smothing/gluing clamping in a seemingly endless loop. The result of this monotony is below: two 13” x 4.25” x 8’ table tops, two 13” x 1.5” x 8’ aprons and four 8.5” x 4.5” x 4’ l...

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Part 3: A look at joinery

03-30-2017 04:41 PM by TheRiflesSpiral | 7 comments »

As I mentioned before I’m planning to assemble Mongo without fasteners. I’m not exactly schooled in the fine art of joinery but I do watch a fair number of YouTube videos and I’ve been following Chris Hall's excellent work for some time. I appreciate his unique blend of traditional joinery design and modern manufacturing methods. With the top completely laminated and glued to the tool tray, my first bit of joinery will be the ribs that support the top from underneath. The...

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Part 4: My Springfield Trip

04-05-2017 03:34 PM by TheRiflesSpiral | 0 comments »

First the project update: Sunday afternoon I laid out all the lines and milled the dovetail grooves for the ribs on the table. I started with a 1/2” straight bit, taking two passes to get to depth (1 1/8”) then following behind with two passes of the dovetail bit to make a 1.25”x1.125” 14° groove. (My phone died before I had a chance to take a picture of the dovetail completed… that will be in my next update) If you don’t have one of the clamping ...

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Part 5: Completion of the ribs and a start to the aprons

04-10-2017 02:18 PM by TheRiflesSpiral | 0 comments »

This weekend was consumed primarily with installing a dog door and a ceiling/lighting in the breakfast nook off the kitchen of the farmhouse. I did get a couple of hours to steal away to the shop though. “Last picture first” isn’t that what all the cool kids are doing these days? The first order of business was to re-cut the ribs I tried to make on the router table. I used the table saw but I’ve never been very good at (accurate) with a miter gauge nor am I c...

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Part 6: The right tools for the job... even if you have to make them.

04-12-2017 06:45 PM by TheRiflesSpiral | 2 comments »

I’m a big believer in having the right tools for the job; I’m a process engineer by trade and in my experience the analysis of any given task/process invariably reveals a substandard or nonexistent tool for completion… this bench is no exception. When my attention turned to laying lines for the legs and aprons where 90° was no longer my reference point, I realized I was going to be relying on angle/miter gauges for accurate layout. As I mentioned before, I’ve never ...

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Part 7: There's no turning back now...

04-14-2017 11:29 PM by TheRiflesSpiral | 2 comments »

I’ve been waffling back and forth about the design of the leg for the leg vice; I considered doing away with the canted legs altogether because of the complexity added at the vice but I put that out of my mind today and committed to the Moravian style legs by hogging out the biggest dovetail I think I’ll ever make. First step was to mark the innermost surface of the leg, which will receive the rib. When I made my square for this project (see my last blog entry) I actuall...

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Part 8: Joinery: working out the legs

05-10-2017 02:58 PM by TheRiflesSpiral | 2 comments »

Mongo’s legs are by far the most complex pieces, except perhaps the vices. They are responsible, obviously, for holding up the table surface but also for tying in the aprons and supporting the lower shelf. Clearances have to be made for the outermost ribs and bonus: there are no 90° cuts! Yay! But this is why I made the gauge in update 6 and it was used extensively. First step was to establish the top of the tenon at the correct angle. This is a through cut but I don’t have ...

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