I thought this might be fun to document building a new bench that I’ve been wanting to do for about a year now. My current bench is made out of about 2 sheets of 3/4” plywood and has a sheet of MDF laminated to plywood for the top. It was a good starter bench but I moved to a new house about 2 years ago and now my workshop is in the basement and it’s just too big. I don’t know what style you’d call this new bench exactly but if I had to be pinned down I’d s...
So …. my workshop is distinctly not the most modern, not a plastic handle in sight, but the tools machines and methods give me exactly the results I am looking for. I stop just short of lineshafting, but if i had the choice would have some installed, nothing like it for exact vibration-free turning of small metal components with the most perfect clutch effect of fast and loose pulleys. I have more than one workplace, I assemble honing guides in my kitchen and package both here in my...
Well, it’s been a long haul, but I can (sort of) see the light at the end of the tunnel for my workbench. After the near-fiasco with the assembly of the frame, I turned to the humongous leg mortises. First step was to hoist the assembled legs and stretchers up onto the inverted top to mark the mortises. This was not too difficult even though the assembly must weigh 80-90 pounds. A little grunting and angling saved my back and got it up there. Positioned it carefully, clamped it d...
Like many other people putting together a shop and trying to work with wood, I wanted a good bench. I have a nice “machine” bench made of 3 laminated layers of 3/4” birch plywood 8’ long on two tiers of metal drawers with a nice 6” machinist vise, but I needed to build a woodworking bench, as it would be useful and building it would be an excellent experience (how little I knew!) So after reading innumerable articles, I decided I would build the Holtzapffel b...
I’ll classify today as the first day of building the base for my bench. Beginning this weekend I tried a practice mortise, since I’ve never tried this before. I have to say that I find mortise and tenons a bit intimidating. I’ve seen the demonstrations of the pros, and how they fly through then with just a chisel, and thy’re perfect within a few minutes. Even the article I’m using to guide me through this one says, drill and chsile mortises are a little slow goi...
Ok. It’s time to place the Workmate aside and build a real bench. Don’t get me wrong, the Workmate served me well these few years, and it still has its place (wrapping newspaper comes to mind). Time to build a real bench. I’ve done the research, read the Schwarz, and even helped a friend build his bench. It’s my time! So I went to the Woodworking in America show in Valley Forge PA last October and as luck would have it, there was a company offering kiln dried Ash 12...
All the pieces are rough cut to length for the top now. I’m seriously thinking that it is going to be too wide. My original plan was for 30” but now that I see it, it looks awfully big. I think I may just start gluing up, and stop when I think it looks good. I can adjust the base to the correct dimensions after the top is finished. And a first for me: I flattened a face, and squared an edge to it! I’m so excited! I squealed like a little girl when the try square ca...
So it’s been a long time since my last post, had a bit of down time where I went on vacation and did odds and ends but I’d been making slow and steady progress on the top. I can’t believe how much trouble I had gluing a bunch of sticks together :) All my issues stemmed from the fact that I didn’t have a good way of surfacing such long pieces. My 6” jointer just wasn’t up to the task so I faffed around trying to do it other ways. I eventually used a huge ...
I’ve done a lot of work on the top since the last entry. I started by roughly flattening the bottom side of the top. This was my first big opportunity to use my handplanes and I learned a lot from the experience. First, this took a lot of time. Part of it was my own inefficiency. I started by going diagonally across the surface but it was so uneven that it was just riding on the high boards. A more efficient way to start with the roughness caused by an uneven glue up is to plane leng...
I decided to start out with the legs, so I could get more practice milling the lumber and in gluing the pieces up before tackling the top. The idea with the legs is to sandwich a longer board in between two shorter boards to make a ready-made tenon. Here are all of the pieces for the four legs milled up. You can see some dark streaks in these pieces. Those are where I ran into sap pockets in the wood. I don’t know if that’s bad or not, but it is annoying. I th...
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