Monday, April 4, 2016

Joinery Bench Repair / Rebuild

If you've been here a while, you may remember we have a small four season porch tacked on the side of our home and the last few winters I've made use of it by moving my tool chest and a workbench into there. This past winter I chose to move in my portable joinery bench instead of a larger bench.

Winter passed and it was time to move things back into the full shop. The tool chest, Moxon vise, and all the other errata moved without incident. I removed the metal bracket keeping the bench still and stable and went to pull it from the wall. Carelessness on my part or just an unfortunate inevitability and one of the legs torqued and pulled one of the cleats free of the bench top. 


This joinery bench was made to break down and travel, and it has been hundreds of miles, way up in the UP down to the bottom of Illinois as I set up carving demonstrations at Medieval faires and festivals. For six years it's traveled and never complained. Hell I've lifted the weight of the whole bench top by the very cleat that failed. That's a 3" thick SYP top wrapped in 6/4 Hickory, plenty of weight. 

But, what's the difference? The construct finally failed. 


The thing I never liked much was the tendency to wiggle a bit side to side when planing, but that's a rare operation on this bench. I use it mostly as a place to cut joinery, especially dovetails on bigger carcass sides. Adding my Moxon vise to the already increased height is a much improved ergonomic situation. Where it shines for me is when I'm carving. I pondered my repair options and decided it was time to ditch the cleats and create a more permanent base. A solid box that would negate the wiggle. 


Tying the frame style legs together really just called for one thing. The dovetail treatment. It just so happened I had a piece of 5/4 decking sitting around for a few years. Oh my god, a bit of pressure treat pine to lock the rock outta this bench. You bet your ass!


Ripping out the old cleats, and tying the legs back together with some screwed together dovetailed runners took an afternoon of interrupted dinking around.


Then I resecured the new base to the bottom of the bench and flipped it down to stand proud on the floor. Guess what? Rock Stable.


Sure made this little corner of my world feel more complete again. 

Ratione et Passionis
Oldwolf

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