I was fortunate enough to be able to take off Christmas week and get a good start on my workbench. I’ve had the idea to build one in my head for a few months now, and have been slowly accumulating the parts and hardware necessary. My intention was to make it possible to take the bench apart and move it with relative ease since I will be moving it from my dad’s shop once I have a shop of my own (side note: apartments suck).
I used southern yellow pine, special ordered from Menards, to build most of the bench. It’s inexpensive, stiff, and I won’t care so much when it gets dinged and banged around during use. The hardware is the Lee Valley Tail Vise and just the plain Tail Vise Screw for the leg vise. The breadboards and leg vise chop are hickory. The parallel guide for the leg vise and the slide rail for the deadman are scrap oak from the shop.
I had originally intended to blog about the construction of my workbench, but considering the frenetic pace of building this thing, it would have gotten in my way. I did all that you see below in the space of a week, and total hours put in was between 40-60. There were some 12+ hour days, and some only 4 hours due to the holiday. I made four big black garbage bags worth of shavings and sawdust, and I’m pretty sure I’m still blowing the finer sawdust from my nose.
Below you can see the wedge ends for the long stretchers, which are dovetailed at the end. They’re nice and easy to whack in with a mallet when the wood inevitably shrinks and expands with the seasons. Also, the back guide wheel for the parallel guide. I’ll have to add one in the front.
The leg vise turned out nicely. Note to all – if you plan on removing the vise hardware from the chop at any point, don’t use the included screws that come with the Lee Valley kit. They stripped out on me pretty quick.
Back view. Easier to see the tool platform and the missing chunk where the tail vise will go.
It was very satisfying to be able to use the workbench even though it’s technically not finished. The thing is rock solid and weighs quite a bit. I’ll have to figure out an estimate once I put together the final SketchUp model.Things left to do:
- Finish the tail vise
- Make the center fill strip for the split
- Add another wheel to the front side of the leg vise
- Make another vise handle on the lathe/finish the leg vise handle
- Drill 3/4-in dog holes
- Re-smith my holdfasts to fit 3/4” dog holes (must’ve measured wrong when I took that blacksmithing class…)
- Make some more dogs for the rectangular dog holes
- Sand/scrape and finish with BLO
That last one I’m reeeeaaaaalllyyyy not looking forward to.
-- -=Pride is not a sin=-