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Sliding dovetail bench top?

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Forum topic by OFWC posted 03-04-2017 05:02 AM 571 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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OFWC

4 posts in 284 days


03-04-2017 05:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

The challenge, I am drawing up a smaller workbench that will be traveling with me the goal is no screws or bolts other then to hold the vice on the face. I do boat work and sometimes have to go to the boat. The legs and braces will be mortise and tenon joined with heavy wedges that can be tapped out for disassembly and transport. Now the tricky part I was thinking about using a sliding dovetail to attach the top. I would leave the upper side braces proud of the legs to do this.
Where I am driving my self crazy is I want to build this with 2×4s so it stays cheap. The outer edges will be maple to take the brunt of everything but I’m not sure if a sliding dovetail in pine would hold up to all the abuse.should I try it or change my joinery plan? Any help is welcome nothing has been started other then drawing a little.


7 replies so far

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Lazyman

1499 posts in 1222 days


#1 posted 03-05-2017 02:49 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks.

I am having a hard time visualizing what you are describing exactly. If you have a drawing started perhaps attaching a picture of the sketch will help us visualize what you are trying to do and get some responses. Even a rough sketch may help. Is the purpose of the sliding dovetail to make it so you can remove it or is the dovetail just a way to permanently attach it so that you don’t have to use any hardware?

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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OFWC

4 posts in 284 days


#2 posted 03-05-2017 04:17 PM

I need to be able to take the bench part and move it from job to job. A tapered sliding dovetail is what I’m thinking of using not just a sliding dovetail.

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Lazyman

1499 posts in 1222 days


#3 posted 03-05-2017 04:58 PM

Seems to me that a sliding tapered dovetail could be a little challenging to cut accurately, though sometimes the challenge is half the fun. My biggest concern is that since it sounds like this may be used both indoors and outdoors, changes in humidity might cause the dovetail or the groove to shrink and swell, making the fit alternate between too tight and too loose. Personally, I would consider using some sort of a mechanical lock. Perhaps some sort of cam, a thumb screw or knob, T-track, tool box latches or barrel bolts for example might provide a more positive way to lock it in place.

Other observations…perhaps the legs and stretchers are not to scale but the legs in particular seem a little thin for the overall dimensions and the potential weight that might be placed on it? Also make sure that the front legs splay out enough so that when you have something clamped in the vise you are adding that it doesn’t tip over, especially while you work on the pieces clamped there. With stationary work benches, you rely on mass, some of which is in heavy legs, to make it stable. With portability I assume that you will lose some of that stability so you might need a base that is wider than the top.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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OFWC

4 posts in 284 days


#4 posted 03-06-2017 03:10 AM

Most of my work is inside buildings so it should stay pretty stable not perfectly stable (it never is) but that’s part of the challenge. This bench is going to be pretty small but I might ballast the back legs to balance the vice load on the front. I think the over all top dimensions will be about 2-1/2”x18”x5’ that’s with a 4” wide tool tray on the backside to keep things from running away.
Im trying to stay away from mechanical fasteners so if any other type of joint sounds better I’m open to ideas. If all else fails I’m willing to go with bolts but wanted to try a different take on things before settling on the old standbys. Thank you for the input so far.

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TheTurtleCarpenter

989 posts in 900 days


#5 posted 03-06-2017 03:50 AM

The Morovian workbench might interest you, just google or check it out on YouTube

-- "Tying shoelaces was way harder than learning to Whistle",,,,,member MWTCA area K. Kentucky

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OFWC

4 posts in 284 days


#6 posted 03-06-2017 12:32 PM

Good call that’s an awesome bench that would do everything I need and then some. Thank you very much. I’ll be looking into that design a whole lot more before moving forward. I have some 2” thick quieter sawn ash maybe I’ll make the top out of that.

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Lazyman

1499 posts in 1222 days


#7 posted 03-06-2017 03:14 PM

Here are a few others that might give you some design inspiration. I particularly like the Greg Miller design for both portability and brawn. I used Pintrest to find most of these.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/86673
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/133418
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/102857 (Greg Miller Design)
http://www.closegrain.com/2010/09/portable-workbench-part-3.html
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/88051

You might also want to search for Moxon vises for ideas for making a top that is beefier that incorporates a vise such as this:
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/91855

There are a bunch of Moxon vise projects posted on Lumberjocks.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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