A journey into the workshop. #2: Benchop legs, and free mulch... Sort of.

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 09-10-2009 05:00 AM 3186 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: A journey into the workshop #1. Starting over, getting organized. Part 2 of A journey into the workshop. series Part 3: More free mulch, broken planers, and burnt fingertips... »

After my screwup with the pine legs, and the fact that pine 4×4s are a royal pain in the butt to find in Houston, I opted for a trip to Lowes to grab a couple of Aromatic red cedar 4×4s. Their so called “select” which I guess is supposedly select grade, but knottier than I would expect.

So I get home with the 4×4s and notice that they are, well actually 4×4, and my plans call for nominal size lumber (3.5×3.5), so it was off to the jointer, and planer to mill this stuff square, and parallel, and 3.5” thick in both dimensions (minus the 1.5” of snipe at each end, but that is what I get for having a cheap planer…)

Now mind you, I have the Thien baffle out of the HF DC, and the trash can cyclone for the DC is not yet done, I have yet to fire up my HF DC without some sort of separator, and I am not about to start now, so it was back to the Ridgid vac and Thien trash can cyclone… Through 15’ of hose, while it kept up with the chips, it did NOT keep up with the dust. Respirator time! I should have put it on to begin with, but I like sneezing Cedar dust, reminds me of my pet hampster when I was a kid… (just joking.)

For those of you that do not know what a Thien cyclone, or the Thien baffle is, here is a link to P.hil Thien's cyclone site
Now this was only 2 4×4x8 pieces of lumber I was milling down mind you… Not exactly like I was jointing and planing hundreds of BF of lumber right? Well… Mind you the dust bin wasn’t empty, but rather about 1/4 full from previous sanding, sawing, dadoing, etc… operations

About 3/4 of the way through planing I heard it through the muffs, Tttttthhhhwunk! The motor on the vac got MUCH louder and suction stopped… Turn the vac off and look…

The vac was full. Go figure. So I empty the vac, and look in the dust bin (trash can). Full, I mean over the baffle, overflowing, what was I thinking full…

Now I have had a Thien Cyclone for almost a year now, and this is the first time I have done this. Note to self, check dust bin OFTEN…

My Ridgid wet dry vac and Thien Cyclone.

As quickly as this filled up, I WAS working on a Thien cyclone for a 30 gallon trash can, Now I think I am going to have to change those plans and try to find a 55 gallon barrel to convert to a Thien Cyclone… 30 gallons fills up too fast, I bet 55 gallons will fill up quick. And with shavings / dust it is awfully light, might as well get as much in it as I can at once…

So with the milling done, and the dust bin empty it was time to do some drilling. I still need to rig up some some sort of dust collection for this… Open the garage door, set up the filterless box fan and blow chips and dusty air out of the shop… I measured, marked, remeasured, verified and then verified again before the bit started cutting. EXACTLY where I want it to be… No worries… Counter bores right where I want them, holes drilled perfectly straight where I want them, and then verified with the all thread through all 4, and then they get set square to each other. The through holes are 1/16” oversize, so no worries about minor miscalculations in hole location. Enough slack that when the all thread pulls it together, I can convince it to go straight and square…

Tomorrow, weather permitting will bring another trip to Lowes. I am REALLY liking the look of the Cedar, and want to replace the rails / stretchers with cedar, so I need some cedar 2×4s… If these are rough cut like the 4×4s, I guess I am getting more free mulch for LOMLs flowerbeds to boot!

I still need to find the S-clips for mounting the bench top. I believe Kilgore’s Lumber Company in League City Texas should have them…

The poor bench top is sitting there being all lonely right now. The mounting pad for the vise is mounted up, the holes drilled for the lag bolts, The vise faces mounted up and dog holes drilled. I just need to mount it to the base, drill the bench dog holes, and either buy, or better yet, make some bench dogs, and a planing stop. I have some 3/8” ply scrap just aching for use…

I did deviate from the plan that I got from Fine Woodworking as their bench top is 24” x 62”. I am using a larger vise than they are so my dog holes will be wider spaced, and my bench top is 24” x 72”. This was as big as I wanted to go in my shop. I had initially considered edge banding the bench top, but an LOML induced slip with the router when flush trimming changed that plan… I have done some testing on the oil / beeswax finish on exposed edge birch ply, and to be honest, I like the look… I am going with it and just using the edge as a feature instead of a drawback…

Well the lights are out, the timer for the air cleaner has tripped off, and the shower has been taken. Looks like the shop is closed for now. If I am granted the honor by my creator to still be here, there will be more to come…

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2 comments so far

View oldwoodman's profile


137 posts in 3426 days

#1 posted 09-11-2009 01:48 AM

Thanks for taking the time to write your post. It was very interesting. Looking forward to seeing your finished bench.

View dbhost's profile


5726 posts in 3260 days

#2 posted 09-11-2009 03:19 AM

I got the 2×4 cedar on my way home tonight. It’s a bit late to be running the planer tonight too, by the time I get set up it will be 8:30, which would put me done planing at around 9:30, after the neighbors kids should be asleep for school tomorrow…

Stupid postage stamp sized lots…

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