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Hand tool workbench #6: Tool rail and Leveling

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Blog entry by brianl posted 1210 days ago 2315 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Building the top Part 6 of Hand tool workbench series Part 7: Front Vise & Shelving »

Since I got the top basically put together, it was time to worry about attaching a tool rail and leveling the bench.

I constructed the levelers from four hockey pucks. I drilled a recess in them and epoxied in a bolt by the head. I then drilled a matching recess in each leg and epoxied a nut in each leg. By spinning the hockey puck the bolt will move in and out, helping to level the bench.





To add stability to the system I also added a washer to the bolt head and epoxied that to the puck as well. Hopefully it will distribute the weight of the bench more.





I also decided to go ahead and attach the tool rail to the bench. I crosscut another piece of douglas fir to 48”. I then created the spacers by ripping a 1/2” wide strip with my hand saw, cutting it into 6 4” chunks, smoothing it with a number 4 plane, and then attaching it to the previously mentioned piece. Doing so established a 1/2” slot along one side for me to rest chisels, saws, squares, etc… in while I worked. Very handy.





Finally, I also took this time to bore the bench dog holes. I did so with a 3/4” auger bit and a hand brace. I learned that I had to clamp a scrap piece of wood to the bottom while doing this, otherwise the bit would make a mess when it punched through to the other side.





I did the boring while the bench top was still not quite smooth. If there was any tearout I wanted to clean it up when I smoothed out the top. For most of the top I put the dog holes 4” apart from each other. I only placed them where I thought they would be useful. I can always come back later and add more holes – it’s kind of hard to remove unnecessary ones though. I placed a series of them right where the shoulder vise and the front vise are. I figure those should get the majority of the use.

Up next, finishing up the leveling of the top and starting to attach the vises!

-- Brian - Belmont, Massachusetts



7 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8473 posts in 2151 days


#1 posted 1210 days ago

looking good. Don’t forget after the benchtop is flat and smooth to chamfer all those bench holes – the sharp edge can really do damage while planing to your hands (don’t ask me how I know)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View DrewM's profile

DrewM

176 posts in 1501 days


#2 posted 1210 days ago

I like the tool rail, might have to add something like that to mine

-- Drew, Delaware

View Marc5's profile

Marc5

304 posts in 1844 days


#3 posted 1210 days ago

I put a 24” tool rail on my bench and it is handy. The bench is looking great. I hope you post pics of it finished.

-- Marc

View spunwood's profile

spunwood

1193 posts in 1338 days


#4 posted 1210 days ago

Inspiring man. I am rethinking my workbench for the sake of improved clamping/planing, sawing…

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View brianl's profile

brianl

108 posts in 1584 days


#5 posted 1210 days ago

Thanks guys, I’m glad you all enjoyed it. I’ll make sure to post some photos once it is done.

PurpLev,

Thanks for the tip! I’ll make sure to do that.

-- Brian - Belmont, Massachusetts

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

234 posts in 1691 days


#6 posted 1210 days ago

Adding a tool rail was one of the best things I’ve done to my bench. I can’t understand why it isn’t “standard” in every bench design!

View Waldschrat's profile

Waldschrat

505 posts in 1938 days


#7 posted 1194 days ago

I love that chisel or “tool rail” Thats a great idea, now the scharp tools do not bang against one another! This is one of the most innovative ideas for tool holding on the bench that I have yet seen!

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

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