Thursday, November 13, 2014

Workbench 2014 Base Day Three: The Details

Day three and go ….

I had the base together now it was time to put the details together to finish it up

While I had the base sitting on the underside of the bench top I flipped it over and straightened, squared, measured, and fussed to get the bench sitting exactly where I wanted it to end up. Then I took a Sharpie and traced around the locations for all the legs. This would help me locate the stub tenons that would eventually connect the top and base. 

Now to prep for a sliding deadman. There are several way to install a deadman. I decided to go with a simple groove along the underside of the benchtop and a 3/4" thick tongue along the bottom rail. 

To start I had manuvered the top upside down onto a couple high stools. After a couple swipes of the plow plane I figured out the stools offered little stability and wiggled quite a bit as I worked. Normally I can appreciate a little wiggle when I see it, but that wiggle made me nervous. I guess the top weighs in somewhere around 300 pounds. Not the kind of thing you want wiggling while you work on it.


To remedy I moved the base over and transferred the top onto it. A couple clamps were placed to keep it from sliding and it was amazing. Here was my first taste of working at the new bench height would be like and I was happy to find I'd gotten it right. Two passes of the 3/8" plow blade next to each other and I had a 3/4" wide and 3/4" deep groove.  


While I had the top stable on the base, I used a straight edge to draw a line connecting the opposite corners of the rectangular shaped outlines I'd traced around the legs. This gave me the center of each rectangle. I chucked up an 1 1/2" forstner bit into my plug in drill and hogged out a 1 1/2" deep hole at each center point. 

The top moved back over to sit on the stools and I moved the base onto my low saw horses to work on it.

I used a rabbet plane to run a front facing rabbet 3/4" deep on the front rail. This created a space for the deadman to run along and still be flush with the front of the bench. 


I cut a lambs tongue detail on the outside corner of the front legs.

I measured and face glued two pieces of 1 by and 2 by 6 to make the deadman. Once things were set up I decided to make it a little pretty with a bead detail reminiscent of the detail you can find on the Anarchist Square that Chris Schwarz builds (The one most of us have prominently hanging in our shops) I marked it out and cut it out on the bandsaw.

I liked it so much on the deadman I dug out the jigsaw and repeated the detail on the front rail of the base.

The I decided to split from the script a bit.


I said it here before but I'm lucky that Don Williams has asked me to help him with the Studley Tool Chest and Workbench Exhibition this coming May in Cedar Rapids Iowa. This means I've been paying particular attention to every picture that comes across his blog (Don's Barn) or the Lost Art Press blog. As well as corresponding with Don and others about the exhibition. I'm very excited and I had the tool chest and workbench on my mind these days in the shop. I decided to have my first go at inlaying anything. A dot and darts similar to those that are in mother of pearl and ivory on the bandings of the chest.


I laid out the shape on the rail with chisels and a marking knife. used those lines to make paper templates which I transferred to a piece of (I think) mahogany veneer. I excavated a the thin recesses in the rail by chisel and router plane and glued the inlays into place.

The only thing left to do was nail in some cleats to the bases rails to hold the bottom shelf boards in place.

I also marked the centers of the legs and drilled a corresponding 1 1/2" radius by 1 1/2" deep hole, and cut some 1 1/2" maple dowel I had sitting around into four 3" long sections. I shaved and sanded those down a bit and rubbed canning wax on them until they cried for mercy. 


Then, as if building a huge bench in a one man shop doesn't throw things into disarray enough. I had to clear out one whole wall, old bench and all, to slide the new bench into place.


Here's a slightly doctored shot of the place in disarray. With some help from physics and a wife who was willing to move saw horses in and out of place while I held up one end of the top I got the beast maneuvered into it's new home.

Did the dowels all fit? Well not perfectly, one out of four was off by just enough it wouldn't drop in smooth. A piece of sacrificial 1x6 and a good smack with the 8 lbs sledge and it stopped arguing.

If at first you don't succeed . . . get a bigger hammer.


My measurement was off on the deadman by a slim 1/4" But I can fix that with a shim. It won't help me much until I get my hands on some leg vise hardware. I'm leaning towards the ones made  over at Lake Erie Toolworks. I just have to save a few pennies first because I already ordered a custom plane stop from Blacksmith Tom Latane. I should get it by the end of the month and I can't wait to show it off.


It was a long day finishing up the bench but from a pile of reclaimed barn beams to the final dimension of 12 foot long, 22 1/2" wide. 33 1/2" tall and solid as a freaking mountain. Definitely an upgrade for me.


That was enough for one night. The next day I would shiplap some 1x12 pine and line the bottom shelf but for now I was just looking to lay down and rest.

Ratine et Passionis
Oldwolf

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