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:

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