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Steve Latta's Inlay Bench

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Project by Tony Strupulis posted 07-11-2013 04:27 AM 5511 views 18 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Steve Latta's Inlay Bench
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In one of Steve Latta’s many inlay DVDs, he discusses the design and construction of his inlay bench. I built mine to do federal inlay work, but I have found it to be a very useful bench for other tasks.

I picked up an 8/4 maple slab at my local hardwood dealer. The end of the board had a split in it. I elected to go for the extra bench length and leave it in and fill the crack with epoxy. I figured the end of the bench won’t see a lot of hard action and the crack is mostly cosmetic. I drilled a single row of dog holes down the centerline of the bench. I can use the dog holes with the metal dog on the Pony vise, with holdfasts, or with a Veritas Bench Pup.

Each pair of legs is constructed like an I-beam or an engineered joist. I had some 2×10 lumber kicking around and I ripped some 2×6s out of the clear sections of the board. I cut a dado down the center of each 2×6 to accept a 1” thick OSB stair tread for the web of the beam. I glued the leg assemblies together. Once dry, I attached them to the slab with 3/8” diameter dowels. I used six dowels per leg assembly, three in each 2×6. I notched the bottom of each leg to allow the inlay bench to be clamped to my main bench.

Like I said, I find this bench to be very useful for things besides inlay work. I can clamp my Moxon vise to the bench for sawing dovetails. It is higher than it should be, but I like that height for sawing dovetails. Then I take the vise off and clamp boards flat for chopping and paring dovetails.

I am active in the local woodworking club and I have taken the inlay bench to club meetings to demonstrate techniques. It is heavy, but it fits nicely in the back seat of the car. I can then clamp the bench to one of those white plastic tables. It isn’t ideal, but it is much easier than hauling a full sized bench around.

This is a fantastic little bench! Even if you don’t do inlay work, it is a very handy bench to have around.

-- Tony - http://ravensedgetoolworks.com





15 comments so far

View aussiedave's profile

aussiedave

3090 posts in 824 days


#1 posted 07-11-2013 10:56 AM

Great idea…might just have to make one of those myself….thanks for sharing and well done…

-- Dave.......Keep calm and make more sawdust....

View Jeff_in_LSMO's profile

Jeff_in_LSMO

297 posts in 1341 days


#2 posted 07-11-2013 02:06 PM

I noticed your holdfast. I have the same ones. They are great.

View Sanding2day's profile

Sanding2day

998 posts in 847 days


#3 posted 07-11-2013 03:03 PM

Pretty slick… Thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View WhoMe's profile

WhoMe

1204 posts in 2244 days


#4 posted 07-11-2013 05:46 PM

Several really good ideas there. Bookmarking this for future reference. Thanks for sharing.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View steliart's profile

steliart

1816 posts in 1688 days


#5 posted 07-11-2013 05:56 PM

nice one!

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions - http://www.steliart.com --

View CL810's profile

CL810

2912 posts in 1988 days


#6 posted 07-11-2013 08:29 PM

This is a great build. I marked this as a favorite.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

15762 posts in 2189 days


#7 posted 07-12-2013 08:03 AM

great work, solid build….

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View dmmflys's profile

dmmflys

43 posts in 1398 days


#8 posted 07-17-2013 02:59 AM

Is that the same pony vice that you can get from Menards? If so how do you like it I’ve been thinking about picking one up for my new (yet to be built) workbench.

View mafe's profile (online now)

mafe

10508 posts in 2089 days


#9 posted 07-17-2013 03:31 PM

Really cool.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

974 posts in 1110 days


#10 posted 07-17-2013 03:59 PM

Mini benches are an often overlooked tool…

Nice job on yours, I’m sure you’ll reap the benefits of it for many years to come!

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

249 posts in 2124 days


#11 posted 07-18-2013 06:21 PM

We don’t have a Menards here. It is a Jorgensen 7” Pony vise. I need to do some work to it. The guides don’t run parallel with the bench top. When the vise is opened, the front jaw rises above the bench top by an inch or so. I think this might be intentional to counteract vise droop. I would like it to run flat so when I clamp a table leg to the bench with the pop up dog it will sit flat on the bench. It is just a matter of me taking the time to shim the vise. Otherwise, I’m satisfied with the vise.

I also plan on making wooden jaw liners and Steve’s tapered jaw liner for holding a tapered leg. Just a matter of time…

-- Tony - http://ravensedgetoolworks.com

View DYNO360's profile

DYNO360

149 posts in 1866 days


#12 posted 02-24-2015 03:18 AM

Great looking bench. I need one cause bending over to do close up work is breaking my back!
I too am wondering about the Jorgensen vise. I haven’t use bench dogs ever, but I do use a holdfast. If you have shimmed up the vise, have you used it with any good results? I would like to build a similar small bench, but I not sure about the vise. Looking forward to your comments.

View Tony Strupulis's profile

Tony Strupulis

249 posts in 2124 days


#13 posted 02-26-2015 04:44 PM

I shimmed the vise to get it at the correct height. However, the vise screw and guide rods are not perpendicular to the vise jaws. As the vise is opened, the jaw rises relative to the bench top. So when you try to use the dog on the vise to hold a leg or board, it won’t sit flat on the bench. I’m not sure if I got a bad casting or if that is a design feature of the vise.

-- Tony - http://ravensedgetoolworks.com

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

18418 posts in 1867 days


#14 posted 02-26-2015 04:52 PM

This is a very interesting post. Thanks for posting this.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View DYNO360's profile

DYNO360

149 posts in 1866 days


#15 posted 02-27-2015 02:31 AM



I shimmed the vise to get it at the correct height. However, the vise screw and guide rods are not perpendicular to the vise jaws. As the vise is opened, the jaw rises relative to the bench top. So when you try to use the dog on the vise to hold a leg or board, it won t sit flat on the bench. I m not sure if I got a bad casting or if that is a design feature of the vise.

- Tony Strupulis


Looks like you may have gotten a vise that was made in China. See: http://www.bt3central.com/showthread.php?t=55135
I don’t want to get into a rant on American companies that have “sold out” and gone for the quick buck by getting their products made overseas.
I still like your mini bench, that was made in the U.S.A.!

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