Since last entry, I’ve had time to both apply finishing touches, and get some shop time using the bench, and even put the first few battle scars on it.
First up was applying some finish. I went with some Watco Danish oil (natural), and did about three coats, letting it dry for a day in between. I then put a thin application of paste wax to the top to help prevent glue & liquid spills from penetrating, but not too much as I didn’t want to make the top slick.
Next up was adding leather to the leg vise chop and the inside of the wagon vise. I just used Gorilla wood glue, and did a little sanding & trimming after letting it dry for a day…
And then I chopped out the 2”x2” mortise for the planing stop. That wasn’t as much work as I’d feared, and by leaving my ash block a little thick, I was able to plane that down to a good fit. It’s a little tight now, but I’m sure that will loosen with time. If it gets too loose, I can always just fit another stop block to the mortise.
While I was doing this, my Gramercy holdfasts arrived. I was thrilled to finally get them, but after trying them out, I was discouraged that they weren’t holding very well. I recalled that they suggest roughing up the shaft with some 80 grit sandpaper (around the shaft, not along it), and that helped somewhat, but they still weren’t holding as tight as I thought they should. Then I read that for benches 4” or thicker (mines exactly 4”), it is recommended to widen the bottom of the dog holes to 1” for about 3/4 or so. I used a spade bit to try this, and bingo – that was it. One simple tap literally locks the holdfast and work in place now, and a tap on the back frees it. Awesome. I still haven’t decided on epoxying leather to the faces of holdfasts or not.
I will add a shelf to the bottom in a few months, but I need to get back to making things. Thanks for reading.
-- Douglas in Chicago - http://dcwwoodworking.com