|Project by eTodd||posted 07-05-2015 04:14 PM||4510 views||18 times favorited||7 comments|
Like many readers of Popular Woodworking and Christopher Schwarz’s hand tool articles, I was enamored of the Milkman’s Workbench (June 2013, #204). I had been looking for a portable woodworking bench that I could take with me on vacation (the only down-side of going someplace for vacation is that I am not in my shop). I was given a pile of ill-dried walnut (plenty of wave and twist) that was kind of difficult to make any furniture out of, so I thought I would try a modified version to see how I liked it. In honor of the the source of my inspiration and the walnut used for construction, I call my version the “MilkChocolate Workbench”.
There were a few details in the original (like the cross grain gluing of the outer frame to the rear bench) and the non-serviceable wagon vise that I did not like, and I thought I might size it to fit the work-pieces I had in mind. The overall size ended up being 36” long by 9-1/4” wide by 2-1/4” thick. I can fit a 30” work-piece between the bench dogs, a 24” wide panel in the front vice, and the wagon vise can clamp work pieces up to 4”x5.5”.
Basic construction is rails stretching the entire length to form the front and back. Three cross pieces, pegged into the front and back rails, are used to define the front vise/bench rectangle and the wagon vise rectangle. The bench slab is glued to the back rail and is allowed to expand or contract on dados cut in two of the cross pieces, alleviating one of my concerns. The wagon vise is made serviceable by removable cleats on the bottom that are held in by screws. Other than walnut, pegs are oak, and the dowels used for the threaded rod are of maple (stained dark), and leather pads are glued to all clamping mechanisms.
I gave this one to my youngest son for Christmas while I build my version of a Moxon vise, and explore the possibilities of a modified version of Chad Stanton’s portable work/saw bench combo.