|Project by woodenwarrior||posted 08-03-2012 02:13 PM||3139 views||11 times favorited||17 comments|
Well here it is, my first project posting on LJ. I built this bench a thousand times in my head while deployed to Afghanistan last year. It took the better part of two months working 1-2 hours a day in the shop (well garage actually, but “the shop” sounds more like I know what I’m doing) to build and it came out exactly as I had envisioned it. The trestle base is oak with a 2 1/2 in. laminated maple top. I mounted a Wood River front vise and bit the bullet and purchased a Veritas twin screw vise for its superior functionality.
The base is all pinned mortise and tenon joinery that should withstand a nuclear strike if need be (you don’t know…it could happen). The oak I used I’ve had on my wood rack for awhile. It wasn’t quite good enough for furniture but I wasn’t about to get rid of it. Using it for the base also gave me an excuse with my wife to buy more wood..bonus. The base went together easily and was a joy to build, unlike the maple top…more on that.
I’ll set the stage: My wife left for a week with my daughter to visit her family in Maine which gave me unfettered access to “the shop” after work and for one gloriously long weekend without any husband/fatherly responsibilities. This was the perfect opportunity to build the top. I had purchased the maple from my local lumber mill…well… the only lumber mill within a few hundred miles to be honest. It was a great price but I could only get 4/4 sawn lumber. “No problem”, I said, “That many laminations will be easy”, I said….yeah..not so much.
After machining all of the strips 3 in. wide and 6’6” long, I set about playing “beat the clock” trying to glue-up and keep mostly even, 11 strips at a time so that they would fit through the planer. Working like a one-armed wallpaper hanger (and with many fine cuss words thrown in) I finally got three sets glued up and ready to be planed. Let’s just say that trying to maneuver a bulky 6ft, 75 lb mass of wood through a planer will test the patience of a saint.
After much scraping and sanding,I had one 30 in wide flat laminated top. The apron is 6 3/4 in wide 2 in thick laminated maple. The blind dovetails connecting them were a challenge but a good learning experience nonetheless. The vise faces are 3 in thick laminated maple. The thumbnail profile will have to come later as I only have a 6 in depth of cut on my bandsaw and buying a riser block and new blade just for that wouldn’t pass the wife test. At this point is was just a matter of assembling it all, which went together without too many curses or yells of frustration. a little more hand planing, scraping and finish sanding, two coats of Danish oil, a finish coat of thinned shellac and I now have work bench that should last me until I meet the grave. I am very happy with it. Its stable and not so embellished that I would shed tears the first time I ding it. Next will be a hand tool cabinet to fill the space between the trestles…after I build the blanket chest my wife wants (she made me write this ;) )
-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda