got tired of back pain…
When I was sawing finger or dovetail joints on my traditional Scandinavian workbench, I always ended up standing in a bed over position sawing. Since I am retired du to a neck operation this is especially for me no good.
So when I realized I had to cut a handful for my daughters confirmation gift, I decided it was time to quit whining and do something about it.
Two ways ahead a moxon or a benchtop bench, the bench on bench would give me a general chance of a higher work surface, so that became my choice for now.
It can also be brought on location work and clamped to any table top.
This is how I usually stand.
Bad position, low control and need the work to go up high to not catch the bench and so it becomes less stabile.
I wanted it to be a use and trash version, no sensitivity after, a work top, not a art piece, so I went for thick plywood in a good quality.
First one for the work surface.
Then for the front piece and vise.
This is the plywood.
Then a couple of roof battens 38×57mm / 1,5×2,25inch are cut to length.
That’s the basic parts.
Since I did not have the right length to screw from underneath, I drilled top down at the back end.
Like this I can put wood plugs in later.
Glue and screw.
For the front end the front board are put straight up, glued and then nailed in place for now.
Counter sinking nails quite deep (app half a inch).
Then the bench is turned up side down, the batten glued on two surfaces and screws added from the back side, since the top is where sharp tools will work later.
Now time to play with a tool I bought time back and never got to use.
A wood threader.
The stocks I turned on my lathe some time back and kept on the shelf.
I wax and then go for it – it’s wonderfully easy in the beech wood.
Beautiful – yes?
I love it.
Then I test cut a thread in a piece of pine, just to see if it will work.
Again easy and a joy, cutting through the grain.
Need a little grease and then runs as a dream.
Seems really strong.
Back to building.
Here the benchtop bench is put on the table and I cut a round hole in each end of the battens and cut down from the end to make it more elegant and so that a clamp don’ need to be as high to grab a table top.
Look at later pictures, forgot to take the after photo, sorry.
So wood in the holes I made later, now the glue is dry.
Now I can drill holes for the vice.
Starting with a pilot hole all the way through.
Then for the vice front (jaw) a little larger than the threaded spindle.
And finally the right size for tap to cut thread (depending on your threader and tap size).
Now cutting the thread with the tap, please notice I am a wee bit off center (shit)...
Not a big problem, just with a long spindle it became visible after.
So yes please laugh at me now, all beginning is hard, every new tool takes some practice, a woodworker is a person that did a lot of practice, best every day 8-10 hours, us boy scout wood workers have to accept our mistakes and call it charm. ;-)
Now I can cut holes for handles.
Using center jig.
Grease up that baby!
First a good soak of Japanese camellia oil and then bees wax.
We got a bench top workbench MaFe style.
I did it my way!
Notice how I hold it to the table with the end vice.
(Alternative is to use a clamp from under the table).
Get the picture?
Raised surface clamping right in front of you.
I can even sit on my bar stool and work comfortable in front now.
Where we want it.
Here you see the build up.
The front goes under the tabletop to secure a firm grip.
Here you also see why I drilled that hole in the side batten, so it would be lowered for clearance and beauty.
The long spindles makes it possible to clamp a drawer or other full size items.
So time for a tool for the tool… and testing the benchtop bench.
First mark up two pieces of wood.
Then score with a chisel for cutting, before sawing.
Thinking of my friend Bas as I so often do when using the beautiful marking knife he send me.
And we got a finger joint…
Glue them up in a straight angle.
(You are there on the side my friend Jim – the beautiful awl on the table).
Once dry a little shaping and this is what we got.
Time to do some spinning.
Since I am no athlete I will do it on the lathe, while I sit comfortable on a chair…
A old chair leg found in the street becomes useful.
Tatatatatatatataaaaaaaaaaaaa we got a handle for the new benchtop bench.
(Guess you thought I had become a lazy bustard, using that screwdriver).
It’s all in the wood…
Drilling holes in the ends matching the thickness of the rod.
Glued in place with epoxy and a bamboo nail going through.
Now you see why I made the angle.
So I can set the wood straight…
What do you think of my new Italian pipe by the way, I simply love it.
Now back to work.
Ok I fast realize it needs more attention, as soon as I had sawn the fingers and needed to cut the waste I realized I needed hold for that also…
So marking up for a row of holes.
Now I can use my Festool clamps and gear on it too.
Works super well.
But is it sexy…....
Not with all those nice tools all over.
It’s like a green Storm Trooper had landed in a Amish movie.
So we need to invent.
A wall plug and a wing nut.
A piece of pine.
Drawing a slight curve.
(Notice the metal dogs also).
Drilling a hole in the center.
Sawing the curve.
(This was not a mistake, the text are supposed to be the same).
Contact glue and leather patches.
That’s a more sexy hold fast in my universe.
(My shop is my universe, kind of the reversed Death star – the Life star).
A fine grip when chopping out the waste now, eve it’s a bit annoying to turn the wing nut each time…
Ok – use a Wedge!
Fantastic, this is fast and gives a firm grip, adjustment only needed when changing quite a bit up or down in size.
Sexy and simple.
Gave et some extra holes, same system as the Festool, like this I can use those clamps too.
But I need some more woody bench dogs.
I know I’m a wee bit too much, but it just makes me happy.
So cut some rod and some squares.
Drilling for the rods.
- and bamboo nails.
Now back to working on that secret project, I used already too much time playing – but at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. ;-)
Here the dogs.
Also added a little planning stop at the end, based on the Fibonacci numbers.
Back to work, Mathildes confirmation is in a week and a half now.
Thank you for following my little de tour.
Perhaps this can inspire others to fool around and at the same time give your body a good place to work.
-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.