|Project by rockindavan||posted 09-05-2012 01:15 AM||6248 views||36 times favorited||44 comments|
This is the bench I built over the last three semesters of college. I can’t even count how many hours I spent designing and planning, much less building it, but it was a labor of love. The first semester I built the base and top. Second semester the vises and the third the tool cabinet. Needless to say I had plenty of time to make it exactly how I wanted it, although I had plenty of other projects going on. I must admit, it is not done. I still have the drawer and door hardware to put on (CAB hardware from Whitechapel) and two cast iron handwheels for the front vice and tail vice. Money is tight so it will have to wait.
The base breaks down for travel if necessary. The wedged tenons can be knocked apart. The top stretcher has dry fitted dovetail sockets. The top is registered by mortises from the base. I haven’t felt the need to bolt the top to the base yet. Top is 3 1/2 ” thick all the way through, one thing I didn’t want is an apron. The square bench dogs are at the same intervals on the tail vise. On the top they start out close then the distance gets larger as you get further from the vise. With this setup I rarely have to move the vice more than an inch or two to get to a workable spot.Tail vise is Lie Nielsen with a big dovetail. The front vise is Lie Nielsen. I ordered it with a two handled configuration. My plan is to have one of the handles as a cast iron hand wheel and the other a traditional handle. I turned them out of curly maple and added the turned cheery ends and attached them with machine screws tapped into the maple.
Cabinet is all solid wood with frame and panel back and sides. One thing I set out to do with this bench is have it as traditional as possible. Except for the hardware, I didn’t use and screws or nails, just good ole fashion joinery. Drawers are hand cut dovetails which ride on blum tandems. Doors needed to swing past the legs, so I found some offset hinges from Whitechapel. On either side of the drawers, the cabinets have adjustable shelves with wooden square pegs. The top of the cabinet has a tapered sliding dovetail to attach it to the cabinet base. Lastly after realizing I had nowhere to put my beer, I added some removable maple shelves to each side of the base. The rest of the cabinet is assembled with mortise and tenons.
Overall I enjoyed building it as much as I do using it. It already has a few scratches but that is part of it. The maple on the drawers is much lighter then the doors, but in time it should all harmonize. I guess thats my fault for taking so long to finish it. I look forward to the day once the colors have blended and all the small scratches that come from normal use only add to its beauty.