|Project by Hammerthumb||posted 05-06-2015 05:24 PM||5557 views||18 times favorited||24 comments|
My nephew Mikey is the son of my recently deceased sister. I don’t have much family here in Las Vegas except for him and my mom. When he showed up at my shop one day and asked if I could help him pick out some lumber to make a workbench for his garage, I knew I just had to give him a hand. This bench is what evolved from our plans.
The bench is made from a single beam of Doug fir that was removed from a neighbors house. The bench dimensions are 75” long by 26” wide. Think it measures about 34” tall. The legs are 3.5” by 5.5”. I would have liked to make the legs a little thicker for added weight, but this is all we could yield from the beam, and I didn’t want to laminate any new material to it as the doug fir is over 35 years old. The stretchers are 1.75” by 6”. The construction of the base is M/T joints at stretchers to legs, with the short stretchers being glued and draw bored. The long stretchers are pulled together with bolts and barrel nuts. This is done so the bench can be taken apart – left and right leg assemblies, front and back stretchers, and the top.
The top is made of 2 pieces of the beam and has just the one glue joint. It measures 3.5” thick. The top is held on with gravity, as I have tenoned the top of the legs into the bottom of the top. The back mortises are elongated to allow for wood movement, while the front mortises are just large enough for the tenons to easily slip into. If a top is done this way, it is extreamly important that the shoulders of the legs are perfectly in plane, and the bottom of the top is perfectly flat. The front and sides of the top are banded in 8/4 Aldur with dovetail joints at the corners. The ends are breadboarded to the Doug fir with drawbbore pins. The front pins are tight, and middle and rear pins are elongated. This should allow movement only at the rear of the top and keep the dovetails from opening up.
The leg vise is home made with a few parts from LJ August, and a few other items that I had to find. August provided a brass nut and flange for a 1-1/2” acme rod. He also provided some delrin plastic with 1-1/2” holes for bushings. The nut and flange is mounted at the back of the leg, and a bushing was mortised into the front of the leg. I found a 24” length of acme rod and had a machine shop install a 10” cast wheel and flange bearing at one end. The flange bearing is mortised into the leg chop with shim washers to align the chop for parallelism. The chop is 2-1/2” thick. I then installed a turned knob to the cast wheel for ease of use. I used a standard parallel guide with pin on this vise. I did line the through mortise for the guide with slip tape, but feel that it is not necessary. I used 1-1/2” neoprene wheels at the top and bottom of the guide to aid in alignment as the chop and hardware are quite heavy.
Special thanks to LJ August McCormack Lehman, and the guys on the Smackdown thread, for guidance and encouragement.
Thanks for looking.
-- Paul, Las Vegas