Sunday, December 27, 2009

Resawing with a circular saw

The original boards were ~10' cut to ~8' leaving 2' sections. Being both coincidence and planning, this gave me sections the width of the bench for the bottom shelf, the parallel bars, and the wheel supports.

Currently I have no access to a band saw, so I used my circular saw to re-saw the pieces. Was a little rough, but actually better and safer than I thought it would be.

I've left the pieces un-dressed; to allow the wood to continue to dry, and because the planner blades need a sharpen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Top

The glue progress went rather smoothly. I started in sections of 3 or 4, then re-machined those, and joined larger sections. So far I've used over 2L of tite-bond 3 and every vice in the shop.

Because of the weight of the top I've left it in two sections. Two men, could move these sections, without a trip to hospital. (How to join them will be subject of later post.)

The next task is to flatten the top and bottom. Now all I need to compliment my stanely no 7 is an apprentice to work it... but until then I'll keep plotting away.


The sliding tail vices I've seen blogged (see previous posts) all have re-enforced the front section of thier bench with steel angle. The reason for this is that the force of the vise screw has the un-desired effect of bowing out the front of the bench.

To simplify construction I pre-installed the angle prior to glue up - which is of course easier then trenching out the required space. The top angle is 40x40mm steel angle. 5 x ~40mm x~4mm lag screws to join it.

One of the innovations of my design is placing the parallel bar under the shelf. I re-enforced the bottom front stretcher with two 30x30mm angle. I'm still uncertain of how the forces will play out, but even with me sitting on it, it has minimal flex.

Although, quite comfortable with wood, metal is a bit of mystery to me. I found a local supplier which was happy to deal in small quantities. As I want this to last, and didn't want rust around my workbench, I cose the more expensive gal. I purchased 1.6m x 3 pieces of onesteel duragal angle and cost me around $60. I was quite happy with the service.

Benchcrafted Vices Arrived

If you haven't seen Benchcrafted Vices you need to check them out. Chris Schwarz, Chris Vesper and Shannon Rogers have all blogged to thier praise.

Took 3 weeks to arrived. Cost a small fortune in customs and postage. (Probably doubling the price.) For anyone tempted to import them to Australia I suggest you buy them one at a time to fly under customs GST radar.

I'll detail the installation as we go. I'm intentionally delaying installing the wagon vise to allow for wood movement prior to the installation of the precision parts.


Simple build: machine three pieces, glue (tite-bond 3), shellac.
The legs are 5 1/8" x 5 5/8" x 31" (arghhh i'm becoming amercian... )

Solid. Originally I thought the legs were overkill, but in view of the 4" top, perfect.

Initial Cuts

There are several ways to make your initial cuts into the wood. These are rough cuts to get the pieces ready for milling. My workhorse for this is my Makita circ. In my opinion the circ is the most dangerous tool in the shop so needs to be treated with some respect. Mark S from the woodwhisperer used a jigsaw for this role as it is safter. The danger lays in difficulty securing rough timber which can move once it's cut resulting in binding, kick back, and bad cuts.

To keep it straight I used a chaulk line for the long cuts and a straight jig for short cuts... and some pieces eyeball only.

A more efficient and safe way is to use a track saw... but you do the best you can with what you have...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Sliding Leg Vise

I've come to realization that in the online woodworking community there are only 3 documented workbenches with sliding leg vises. If there are any more I'd be keen to know.

An old picture. Blogged at Lost Art Press.

Bill Liebold's. Blogged at Popular Woodworking.
Angle iron is used to re-enforce the top.

Jameel (Khalaf) Abraham's Blogged at Khalaf's Oud.
Angle iron on both sides. Big Wooden Vises.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Design so far...

I've decided an Schwarz inspired French Roubo bench.
Size: 24"x100"x4" top. 5"x5" legs. 31" high.
Vise: BenchCrafted wagon, leg, and probable sliding leg vise.
Timber: Coastal Blackbutt (Australian Hardwood Network)
(Work in progress sneak peak. I'll have more progress pics soon.)
Why I chose this design?
I wanted it solid. I've had two benches; the one shown on the left, which to use you need to brace with a foot and a knee and the other a old chipboard desk. I wanted a bench that I don't have to hold or brace to plane and that doesn't shake when chiselling. (Blackbutt at dry weight 900kg/m3 makes this about 200kg. ) I was tempted to make it 10' but my kind wife informed me that was excessive in a single garage... and I agree.
I've changed the vise configuration in my head at least a dozen times. Originally, planning on twin screw vise (for dovetailling and its lack of wracking.) It's capacity is limited. A sliding leg vise gives you the capacity to hold work up to 6' wide. Although, the big wood vise, is traditional I didn't like the slack and wood movement in it. I tried a cheap Carbatec one and it was a struggle. The bench crafted ones are smooth and I expect to last 100 years.
Blackbutt is locally grown, not too expensice, rock hard, a nice light colour, and I've used it before.
The two biggest design struggles at this stage are: storage and the sliding leg vise mechanism.

The Big Bench

No one wants to spend more time on the computer than in the shop. However, I learnt an important fact during my time as an Army Cadet - the 6 P's - Prior Preperation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. A bench of this size and weight and design requires good planning. I want this to last 3 generations.

To start with I did some research. I searched the net; read articles and watched pods. Being one that collects books; I picked up two.

The Old Luthier the blog I've been most impressed with.

The Schwarz not the official name for the blog, but one I follow.
The Workbench: A Complete Guide to Creating Your Perfect Bench by Lon Schleining. This is a comprohensive book covering a varity of benches, vises and techniques for a varity of purposes by a variety of people. It covered traditional benches and modern ones (man-made materials, twin screw vises etc.)

Workbenches: From Design And Theory To Construction And Use (Popular Woodworking) by Christopher Schwarz. This book focuses on two types of benches. Eventually I decided on the roubo bench in the book. (With a few modifications.) This book than the other focuses on the 'use' of the workbench.

Workbench Dicussion thread:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Birthday Wish List - Machinery

WoodFast - WPT - 12" Thickness Planer/Jointer


Carba-Tec® 1HP 12 Speed Heavy Pedestal Drill Press

Forstner Bits
Pro Drill Press Table

Carbatec 2HP Dust Extractor - Standard, Trade, or Cyclone

Router Iron Top



Like at Facebook