Monday, August 23, 2010

sorting out the legs

Here's how the legs will be spaced, overall height will be about 33" tall so that I can get over the bench planes when working the wood. The legs here will have 4" long tenons draw-bored directly into the top like so:

I'll offset the shoulders such that there's 1,1/2" clearance on the outside, and 1/2" on the inside like this:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

face vice install

time to get this twinscrew vice in place. Most designs i've seen have tabs cantilevered off of the bottom of the benchtop which accept the large threaded nuts for the screws. Your vice chop then is wide enough to attach at these lower points but still be flush with the top surface of the bench. In my case, with a 5,1/2" thick top, I was facing quite a wide chop. I didn't like the potential wracking that would happen to the vice if I was clamping small material... I wanted to use this last piece of wood from the original beam, which would only be the thickness of the bench itself. So I decided to plunge the vice screws deep into the underside of the bench such that they protruded from the middle.

layout looks as follows:

I then went crazy with a 1,1/4" auger bit to bore out as much material as possible

Making these deep trenches to relive the vice screw had me a little concerned about compromising the bench's strength. Originally I planned to cut the sides of a deep groove all the way across the width of the underside with my skill saw, which would have been much easier to beaver out the waste than boring with a 6" brace. But I figured it would be stronger if I could leave some of the full thickness of the bench intact, and only relieve that part that had to accommodate the screw. it actually didn't take that long to rough out:

I then made two wooden holders for the nuts that sink into the recess like so:

After fiddling a bit to get the nuts properly oriented in their recesses, here's how it looks all bolted up from underneath

I then flipped everything over and roughed out some handles

and here's the first test drive, it holds really well, don't have to apply much torque to the screws to hold this 2x4.

I kind of like working at this height, really low to the floor makes sawing with my japanese saws very easy. Might have to spend some more time rethinking my height of 34"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

flattening the bottom of the top

Yup, spent an evening after work beavering away at the bottom surface of the top now that the glue's reasonably dry. You want this sort of flat so that the attachment of the legs/stretchers is reasonably predictable. It also provides a bounty of shavings for the litterbox of our cat Spartapuss.

First with the plane designed to remove lots of material in one swoop with its heavily radiused blade (Lee Valley makes 'em). Diagonal strokes per Schwarz et. al.

...then proceed to my Jack plane, the longest one in my small harbor of bench planes

Sunday, August 8, 2010

top glueup & leg dressing

after repeated checks for gaps and refitting the two sides of the top together, it finally made a strong enough fit that the boards closed up pretty well.

So now to MacBeath Hardwoods for a few more large clamps, and then a complex ordeal sorting out the glue-up dance, which amounted to playing the game of jenga underneath each beam for a couple hours, but finally it's pressed tightly and drying here:

With that done, time to concentrate on cleaning up the two legs I cut earlier from the smaller length of beam. Takes some doing but still had some of the patina from the beam's original use left over. A few framing hammer dents here, some nail holes that have stained the wood from the rust there:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

edge jointing top

Now the delicate act of edge joining these two beefy beams. hoo boy. watch your toes, this is 98" x 24" x 5,1/2" of WATCH YOUR TOES AND FINGERS.

Monday, August 2, 2010

benchwork begins in earnest

I begin with milling the beam. Had 2 8' sections for the bench top and some left over to attempt to rip for a few sturdy legs. ripping by handsaw is futile at this width so I made a couple increasing depth passes using the skill saw pete "gave" me. worked okay but i hope he doesn't see this as I'm sure the motor of got fairly cooked from it all.

The Skillsaw blade does not fully reach 1/2 the depth of the material, so after flipping the beam over, I will make a matching cut and then finish off the remainder with my ryoba. not too much fuss

Next came the 8 footers. same dance with ripping the wood to width and getting rid of that crown on the edge

Now the precision step of the operation (?). Cleaning up the edges of the beams for lamination. Just don't be in too much a hurry and keep the plane blades sharp...