|Project by brentmore||posted 11-07-2013 11:18 PM||6548 views||26 times favorited||22 comments|
So a few months ago, I ventured up to a small sawmill just outside of Columbia, South Carolina to pick up some lumber. The wood, Angelim Pedra or Angel’s Heart, is a very heavy species that originates from the rain forest areas of Brazil, Guyana, and Suriname. It was in great shape and the price was hard to beat. The original plan was to use it for my Nakashima Table, but it was way too hard and heavy. Just a few passes through my planer had dulled the knives, which prompted the change to something softer. The Angelim was thus relegated to the corner of the shop until this project.
The bench is a hybrid of benches I’ve seen on Lumberjocks and throughout the web. I also liked the idea of the Moxon vise for joinery, but I didn’t want to buy a pre-built kit. I figured I could make a custom solution that was also a bit more affordable.
The top of the bench is about 2′ by 2′ and 2.5″ thick. I glued up some pieces of the Angelim and planed it all flat. Despite being a nightmare on the power planer, the wood produced some nice curls with the hand plane.
The base is constructed using mortise and tenon joints. I struggled with the drill press and the Angelim. Creating these joints was by far the most labor intensive part of this project.
Finally onto the most enjoyable part of the build – the vise. I got a 1″-4×36″ acme screw from an online supplier complete with matching nuts for under $75. A guy at a local machine shop cut the 36″ down to 4 equal 9″ sections. I only needed to use two of the sections for this project, so I have supplies left over for another vise. Unlike some other Moxon vises, I wanted the screw to advance into the table when tightened so I had to figure out how bore into the table top. I tried using an auger bit, but I could barely control the drill because it pulled too hard. I ended up using a 1 1/4″ forstner bit that was kaput by the end of the process (thanks Angelim). Once was was all done, I chiseled out a space in which the nut would be recessed so that it could be flush with the face of the bench. The handles were shaped out of some extra walnut and go quite well with the table, in my humble opinion. A little 5-minute epoxy and all of the pieces were locked into place.
The final step in the vise build was adding some leather to the faces to avoid marring or damaging the workpieces. I got the leather on Amazon and bonded it to the maple with Titebond III.
My original plan was to drill 24 holes in the top for bench dogs but after wrestling with the wood while making the first, there was no way that I would be able to make more than 4. I fully earned those four too – I’m sure it was quite the sight to see me struggling with the plunge router like it was some sort of possessed jack-hammer. Once the holes were completed, I added a little paste wax and the bench was done!
Well, what can I say. I love the look of the bench and I think it’ll be great for exploring some hand tool techniques. It’s very stable and I don’t think it’ll be going anywhere since it weighs about 150 pounds. However, it was very difficult to work with Angel’s Heart. It was a tool destroyer. In total the Angelim claimed 2 forstner bits, a set of planer knives and one chisel. Hope you like it! Check out the full photo gallery on my site.
-- Brent, http://www.brentmorelabs.com