This is an exciting entry for me. It’s exciting because I’m done with my original list of things that had to immediately happen to bring the bench back to a functioning state, and now have moved into “Added Value” items. And for me that’s exciting.
This bench came to me with no bench dogs and no deadman. There were holes in the top for the dogs, and grooves for a deadman, but no trace of either.
But through seeking some advice from the workbench thread we created a plan.
First, Deadman. Here is what I was working with – a groove down the center of the front stretcher with a matching groove on the underside of the top.
One of the things noted in the workbench thread was that the bottom groove was a poor design. It would be a magnet for dust and swarf and eventually impede the movement of the deadman. A better design is to have the deadman slide on convex rail so that the dust would just fall off. Not wanting permanently change the bench we came up with a solid, yet removable, retro fit.
He’s how it worked:
I took an oak strip I salvaged from an alley found bookcase
Removed some nails and cut it to 1/64th longer than the distance between the legs, then I loosened one of the bolts that tightens the legs to the stretcher and fit the piece in, then re-tightened the bolt pinching the new rail in place. Really nice snug fit.
Through I could not budge this by hand I wanted to take an extra step of precaution to ensure no movement. I added some cleats to the bottom of the rail that fit snugly into the preexisting groove.
From here I cut my 45s on top of the rail.
Rail constructed and in place.
Once that was completed I moved my attention to the deadman. I found a another piece of oak in the pile, no idea where this one came from, but it’s definitely salvaged as well.
Cut the top and bottom off of it to give me the correct height and then reglued those pieces to the back of the deadman for the required thickness to slide along the rails.
Cut my 45s in the bottom and rabbets on top.
Then sexed it up, with some sultry curves.
At this point I needed to decide on a hole pattern. This was my first shot.
But I ultimately decided that was a little too much and land on this
Added some oil on the surface, and a little stain in the holes to make it look like it’s been around for awhile, and put her in place.
Being put to use with the 203 (the 203 is integral to the inevitable placement of a chest of draws underneath
I’m happy with the way this turned out, and how well the oiled up oak matches the look of the rest of the bench.
Here is an example of what a modern square bench dog looks like.
There is a lip on the dog that catches a corresponding lip on the inside of the hole so that your dog can be pushed down and sit flush with the table top without falling through – and there is an angled sliver of wood attached to the bottom of the dog which acts as a tensioning wedge holding the dog where you place it in the hole. Pretty straight forward.
But when working on old things there is little that is straight forward.
My dogs holes do not have lip built in, and more annoyingly the wholes are not the same size so I’ll need to make one for every hole and make then custom sizes to ensure a snug fit.
The other change in design I did, which makes sense to me, is that I did not put the wedge the front or back or the dog, I place mine on the side. My logic behind this is that in use the pressure of the vise is pushing on the front and back, and I want as much solid material taking that pressure. Not sure if that really matters, but I figured it would not hurt anything.
Here was my quick and dirty 2×4 mock up.
Worked well, so I moved on to using up some walnut scrapes.
My process for making these was to cut them out on the bandsaw slightly larger than the hole size and then sand them down on the big belt sander.
Public Service Announcement:
Never hold tiny pieces on wood by hand using a large unforgiving belt sander. If/when that piece grabs the wood and flings it across the room, your fingers will ram straight down into 100 grit moving very very quickly.
The thumb by far got the worst of it, but all the first tips are little tender as I type this warning. Use a clamp!
Better yet, use the freaking bench that you are putting so much time into. Honestly, I am still so currently power tool minded that this option didn’t occur to me until after I decallused my hands.
I just chucked the pieces up in the vise and put the newly sharpened number 3 to use.
Here’s a couple finished up
The short guys go along the main part of the bench, while the longer ones are made to go in the holes for the tail vice and behind the face vise.
I was a few scraps short, but I had enough to fill all but two holes.
They hold great!
So here is how she rests.
I’m pretty stoked about how this has come together. She is fully functioning now, so any additional work is just gravy on top.
What’s next? Well, I’m not sure. At some point I would like to add a chest of draws under the bench to add some heft, I will need to make something to address racking on the face vise, and I need to make some new vise handles. But as my paternity leave is over, my nap time/late night shop sessions are over as well. So I wouldn’t expect an update anytime in the near future on this guy.
Thanks for reading, and thanks so much to those of you who shared invaluable wisdom along the way.
Oh and one more before and after – just because.
-- I came - I sawed - I over-built