Since last post, I was able to get some time to finish up almost the whole thing.
First, I got to finish and fit the face vise. For that, and for all the “fixtures” (the face vise chop &pin board, the sliding deadman, the end cap, and wagon chop) I used a nice piece of 8/4 ash. I’d never worked with ash before, and I really love how it works. Passing over it with a smoother plane gets it silky smooth.
For the face vise, I went with the Lee Valley screw hardware, as I like its simplicity. I’d already chopped out the mortise to fit the screw mount and pin board, so now I had to finish shaping the chop, fitting the hardware on the chop, and leveling out the top to sit flush with the top. I also drilled and sized the pin board.
I went together well, but the slot in the leg for the pin board was too tight, and I had to spend sometime widening to allow it to slide in and out smoothly. Finally it was all set, and with using a screwdriver as my pin (until I later make one with a store bought handle and piece of 3/8” steel rod), the vise was done.
Next up was the sliding deadman. Made from that same 8/4 ash, I resawed and planed it to get it down to 1 1/4” thick. I went into place easily, and looks great.
Then it was wagon vise time. If there was one new feature I was most looking forward to in this bench, it was this. The Benchcrafted $300 hardware was out of my budget, so I went with the $29 Lee Valley shoulder vise for the hardware. I wanted to be able to clamp pieces through the wagon hole, so having a screw in that space wasn’t going to work. I also wanted to make sure I could easily take the chop out if I needed to replace it. The Lee Valley kit seemed to fit that bill.
So I went with a simple upside-down “T” shape for the chop, with guide strips screwed beneath to hold it in. The end cap was 8/4 ash, and the chop was laminated from the same. Here’s the result…
Routing out the mortise for the screw mount in the end cap…
The end cap in place…
And the wagon vise coming together…
after drilling the dog holes…
So that’s it, almost. I still need to chop the 2”x2” mortise for the planing stop, and then I’ll be finishing the whole thing with Watco Danish Oil (natural). I also will be adding leather to the inside of the face vise chop, and inside the far wall of the wagon vise. I also have some grammercy holdfasts on order. The only holdfasts I had before were a pair of super crappy blue cast iron ones (I think from Rockler?). One of those cracked months ago, and the one remaining one is too short to do anything useful.
Overall, I am thrilled with the bench. The few times I used the face vise in finishing up these piece, the holding capacity was fantastic, a huge improvement over the Rockler quick release front vise I had before that always racked. And the wagon vise is a thrill, too. I clamped a 18” test piece in between the dogs, and it was rock solid. I love the fact that it is left handed; the days of fighting my old bench just to plane comfortably are over.
I’m happy to answer anyone’s questions about the build, but as you can see, I stuck the Schwarz Roubo plan pretty closely. The differences are that mine is only 7’2” long, not 8’, left handed, and I used the poor man’s vise hardware (but completely sufficient for the task!). I don’t regret sticking that closely to Schwarz’ plans, as I think it’s an awesome design.
Thanks for reading!
-- Douglas in Chicago - http://dcwwoodworks.com