Well, I am happy to say I have been making a lot of planes lately, but in doing so, I have found my current bench to be lacking. The obvious answer is to build a bench, and who doesn’t want to build something in the shop. I have been using a large granite plate for sharpening and fettling and I have a bunch of ash, so I’ve decided to combine the two. The design is like most “shop” fixtures I make, design on the fly. By keeping an old camera in the shop, I am able to chart the progress.
This stack of ash is left over from switching to 9/4 stock. The perfect candidate for this project. I started by ripping the wood down to 2 5/8”, since my final plan is to have a 2 1/2” top. From there it is basic stock prep, jointing and facing.
The Byrd head on this planer leaves an excellent surface, but it doesn’t take care of snipe. After getting the two faces parallel, its off to another old standby, my Star drum sander. It helps to get things really flat.
The surfaced faces are glued together to make blanks for the bench, then rerun thru the sander. All this stock is only 21” long, not quite long enough to make the length of the bench. Since no one has invented a board stretcher, I had to make due.
And presto, a 40” long stick.
I now have two flat blanks and two long sides, this is a mock up of my final idea for the top, less dog holes and vises.
I will leave the back edge of the granite flush with the back of the bench, allowing for flattening of plane iron backs. The granite will sit on set screws, adjustable so everything can be made flush. Here you see the material to be wasted away.
This is where I stopped today. Now I need to decide on the base. There is some 16/4 cherry in the woodshed that I think would look awesome with this carmel speck granite….
-- Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.