Around The Coffeepot Ramblings #46: Shop Improvements

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Blog entry by William posted 05-21-2012 02:41 AM 5356 reads 5 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 45: Offended At The Home Depot Part 46 of Around The Coffeepot Ramblings series Part 47: Some Things Just Aint Right »

I had my first full day in the shop yesterday in over a week. Most of you know that my health sometimes slows me down. However, when I’m back at it, I get back at it at full speed ahead.
I don’t have a project necessarily, so I thought I’d type up this blog and tell what I have done the last few days.

First of all, after swearing them off for what seemed like forever, I finally broke down and bought a hand plane at an estate sale a while back. I swore it was just going to be the one, just to say I owned one really.
Well, the reason I swore them off in the past was because they hurt my back to bad to use. Since then though, I have learned a little more about sharpening techniques. So, after I sharpened that one plane I bought to the point I could have shaved with it, it was a pleasure to use.
I’ll bet some of you hand plane junkies here already have an idea where this is heading.

Right to left: #1. A Buck Bros. #5 I found at a flea market for five bucks. I have heard these planes are junk, but hey, I’m just starting in them. After cleaning up and sharpening though, it does a nice job based on my limited experience. #2. I have no idea. I have found no markings on it besides a spot under the frog that says it’s made in Indonesia. Other than that, I do know it i finicky as hell. It cuts good, but you just about have to tighten the blade down with a screwdriver. Setting the screw to where you can use the thumb lever allows the blade to move every time. I only paid two bucks for it though. #3. From the information I have found so far this is a Sargent. The only other markings I foundis the numbers “409” under the frog. This is an excellent cutting plane. #4. A Dunlap. This was the plane I started with a while back that I picked up at an estate sale for a buck. #5.
And #6. Two Windsor #33s. These two planes my wife bought me. I had been talking about them ever since I seen Stumpy Nub’s video on them about turning them into scrub planes. She caught them on sale for eight bucks and bought me two of them. After sharpening them and testing them out, I’m not sure I’m going to go the Stumpy route on these. I love them just the way they are. #7. I don’ even know what you call these little planes. It does a good job. It is stamped “Made In The USA”. I don’t like them though. I have large hands and arthritis in them. It is very uncomfortable to me to hold these. #8, #9, and #10. These are what I call my mini planes. I’m not sure what the proper name for them are. I bought these at Harbour Freight a long time ago. After getting to enjoying these lately I hunted them down in all my junk and cleaned them up though. They do a good job I guess for what they are.

It is not an addiction though. I just like them.
And, for my buddy SuperD, the photo is taken with them all nestled all pretty like on top of some of the shavings I made playing with them as I was sharpening irons.

Next up is my new clamp rack. I done this one just for the sake of doing it. Most of my clamps I’ve always kept standing in a corner. I decided to build this onto my table to hold them all in one place so I could easily get to them without all the falling clamps like I’ve been getting from the stand in the corner method.
I had built something like this once before, way back when. The weight of the clamps tore the corners loose though.

I didn’t have the Stumpy Nubs box joint machine then though.

With these quarter inch box joints, this rack is much more sturdier than the one I had before. I think it’ll last pretty good. We will see.

And moving on…...

I admire all the fancy smancy workbenches I see people building. They are absolutely beautiful. I don’t want one though. I’ve always liked my table with the particle board screwed done to it. I like it for the plain reason that I don’t care what happens to it. I can destroy it working on it and the worst case scenerio is that I have to find another table on the side of the road to make another work bench out of. I paint on it, write measurements on it, pound on it. I even bolt things to it if needed. If the top layer of particle board gets in too bad of shape, I just throw on a new layer, put some screws in it, and keep on going.
I did want some improvements though.
So recently I threw together some shelves under it.

Then I wanted me an end vice on it. I couldn’t find a commercially available one that would cover the end of my four foot wide table though. If I had, I couldn’t afford it. Let me make this clear. I am broke. I am so broke right not that if the steam boat was nickel a ride, I’d have to run up and down the bank singing aint that nice. So I had to get around this little problem with things I had available.

My shop made, four foot, twin screw, pipe clamp, end vice.

I made a wedge system under the table to accomodate sliding the pipes out to near the depth I want without having to have help holding the releases on each side.
This consists of a block of wood that is slotted to be moveable, while still being held under the table. A half inch behind that, there is another block that is immobile. There is a wedge that is also slotted and held under the table that wedges between those two blocks, pushing the release.

To pull it out, you just hit the wedge on each side of the table with your hand and pull it out far enough to put your work piece in.

It comes out far enough to accomodate a five foot wide work piece. So it will definately hold anything I’ll ever need it too.

The pipes go through holes under the table to prevent sag when pulled way out. I had runners under the particle board that I ran holes through to allow this. The table is plenty heavy enough to hold up the vice’s weight plus anything you wish to put in the vice.

Pull your wedges out, push the vice plate against your workpiece, and tighten up. Then you’re good to go.

Oh, if anyone notices the extra holes cut in the outer vice plate, they are there for a reason. I put them there as conversation points. I did not measure wrong and cut holes in the wrong place.


17 comments so far

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2806 days

#1 posted 05-21-2012 03:02 AM

I love the vise. Man you could put my big head in it. William good to see you bouncing around. Such things you have accomplished. The planes look fancy in that glamor shot. The clamp rack should never rack. the bench is beter with a bit of storage and you most of all are happier. Nice job friend!

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3307 days

#2 posted 05-21-2012 03:03 AM

good to see you are getting something done william

and some of your builds are just genius

pace yourself
it’s what’s for dinner
for guys like us

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2580 days

#3 posted 05-21-2012 03:07 AM

William love the blog on your work bench,looks like a little hand plane addiction to me. those guys on ’’ Hand Plane of Your Dreams’’ thread said it happens to folks :) nice shaving.

love that vice set up .

oh yea i got lots of those conversation points :) glad you feeling better my friend knew you would be back at it as soon as you could .great job and work bench

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2808 days

#4 posted 05-21-2012 03:08 AM

Thanks guys.

It seems that these days I have bad times no matter what I do, so I try to make the most of my time when I’m able.

I figured you’d like that shot of the planes.
I set that shot up with you pecifically in mind.


View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2806 days

#5 posted 05-21-2012 03:14 AM

Plane center fold! I love it.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3401 days

#6 posted 05-21-2012 03:19 AM

Super blog William.
I feel the same about a bench – layout table. Those fancy ones look very nice but like you, I prefer something you can go to war with and expect to get damaged and repaired. If I had one of those “perfect” benches, I’d be too scared to use it.
I am so glad that you have been able to work in the shop and add some necessary useful projects, well done.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View DIYaholic's profile


19597 posts in 2641 days

#7 posted 05-21-2012 03:24 AM

Nice job.
Full steam ahead!!!
I really like the end vise, great use of what-cha-got.
Glad you are feeling better and being productive.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2808 days

#8 posted 05-21-2012 03:38 AM

No, Eddie.
It is not an addiction.
I am not addicted.
I can quit anytime I want to.
I really want to find me one of those HUGE smoothers.
I can quit anytime I want to though.

Thanks Rex.
I like my old work bench. I am in full agreement with you. I asked someone once what they’d do if they accidentally drilled holes in their workbench (one of those fancy ones). I was told that they’d never drill holes on their workbench without their work piece being supported with another board to prevent that. I can’t do it. I just want to throw what I want down on the table and have at it.
You probably already see where I’ve spilled paints and finishes on it too. The only requirement there is to spread the spill out so there are no high spots. Also, I may have to hit it with a sander one in a while to clear spots for me to write measurements on. I can’t keep up with a pencil. When I lose my table (where I write measurements often) then it’s time for me to quit wood working.

DIY, I got the idea for the vice from an old copy of ShopNotes. When I started doing it though I couldn’t remember which copy it was in. I have a lot of them. I tried finding it briefly. Then I said to hell with it. It isn’t rocket science. So I ran with the idea and done it my way.


View flintbone's profile


201 posts in 3122 days

#9 posted 05-21-2012 10:49 AM

William, I’m glad to see you are back in the shop.
I always enjoy seeing your work.
Hang in there and have fun.

-- If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. - Albert Einstein

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3401 days

#10 posted 05-21-2012 10:51 AM

Good luck today at the docs William.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View Roger's profile


20923 posts in 2770 days

#11 posted 05-21-2012 10:54 AM

Very inventive idea for that vise William. Gr8 collection of one handplane you have goin there too.. hahaha

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2808 days

#12 posted 05-21-2012 11:38 AM

Morning fellas.
Thank you for your compliments.

I’m not collecting them.
You got some you want to part with?


View StumpyNubs's profile


7578 posts in 2766 days

#13 posted 05-21-2012 12:54 PM

WOW someone’s been busy! Looking good!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3300 days

#14 posted 05-21-2012 09:18 PM

You are sure getting a lot done in spite of your health issued and I admire that kind of initiative William. Also you have shown great resourcefulness in making your own machine tools. I expect you will also use those great hand planes when you are able. Keep up the good work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2808 days

#15 posted 05-22-2012 01:17 AM

Thank ya’ll for the compliments.


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