|Project by PurpLev||posted 08-16-2009 04:26 AM||12333 views||14 times favorited||50 comments|
After a long day of cleaning and reorganizing the work space, I was able to fit my tool cabinet above my workbench, and setup a decent work area. although this workbench is not 100% complete (some details that needs to be finalized), it is in functional state, and I consider it a finished project.
It all started here when I came upon an ad on craigslist of a bowling alley doing remodeling and replacing the rock-maple floors. they were giving away the floor slabs to any taker, this helped recycle the wood, and also they were able to avoid having to pay for it to be hauled away. After reading and seeing Karsons bench, and GaryKs bench, I was always keeping an eye open for bowling alleys with the desire to build a bench out of it, and so, when the opportunity knocked, it was very frustrating that I wasn’t able to actually go and pick it up, since it was way too big, and waaaaay too heavy… I decided to drop the idea and forget about it, when ryno101 contacted me and offered to join forces, and team up to get some bowling alley slabs – pointless to say – I jumped on the opportunity, which was too good to be true – get some bowling alley slabs, and hanging out with a fellow LJ. it was indeed good, but also true.
This workbench has been quite a bit of a project. more than I had expected, but all in a good way.
Working on a project of this magnitude sure does make any future projects seem more feasible. each mortise and each dovetail were huge and required a lot of work and a lot of clean overlap of cuts. I can’t wait to work on a smaller project where no such overlapping would be required.
there were almost every woodworking skill and technique that I ever did, or wanted to practice involved in this workbench, from mortise and tenons, dovetails, lamination, bent lamination, breadboard, and more.
This was a great project to work on, the benefits of the outcome are many. on top of getting a fantastic platform to do work on, I had a chance to practice different techniques, and get better at them. I cannot recommend enough to anyone that is thinking about it -to build your own bench, and to overbuild it as much as possible – challenge yourself! do more than you are comfortable doing! force yourself to learn new skills, or do the things you know – better! it’s a great opportunity to get better and rip the benefits immediately and throughout the project.
There are a few things that needs to be finalized on this bench such as the wagon vise, and a drawers cabinet underneath the bench, but those can be worked out as side projects while I focus some time on other projects for now. I do not use a tail/end/wagon vise much (until now) and mainly use a planing stop, so missing the wagon vise for the time being has no big impact, although it would be nice to have it.
I really like the leg vise (after I finessed it a bit), it moves real smooth, has a great capacity, does not rack at all (I was pleasantly surprised), and has a tremendous grab.
This project is blogged here and I will continue to update the blog as things gets added.
32.5” benchtop height from floor
Rock Maple for the top (bowling alley), and vises
Mahogany for Endcap, and trims
Hemlock FIR for the legs
Lee Valley tail vises for the vises screws
Finish on everything is 3 coats of Boiled Linseed Oil – first time I used this, and I really like it. it has a natural warm look, and since it’s penetrating oil, there is no hard layer on the wood, so you get the ‘wood feel’.
Thanks for reading,
-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.