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Thread: AWB workbench - a few options

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    I truly hate the 1" dog holes on my Sjobergs bench. I had a machinist friend of mine make some bushings for me to reduce them to 3/4", but there are almost no accessories / hold downs, etc... for that size except for ones made by Sjobergs.

    For the bench I'm just finishing, people were strongly recommending 20mm dog holes. More available accessories for them. 3/4" certainly a good option too. I'm probably going the 20mm route.

    Thanks Alan! I ended up going with the 3/4" and am starting out with just a few accessories. I bought two holdfasts from Grammercy, and two brass dogs with the side wires that keep them from falling through the dog holes.

    One thing that I'm hoping won't become a problem is....

    Because I needed more material than I had picked up at the sawmill, and because I had a bunch of black walnut hanging around from years ago when we had a tree taken down at our property, and because I thought a little bit of an accent color would be nice... Well, I used black walnut for the dog hole strip. It's a much softer wood than the ash I used for the rest of the top, and I'm finding that the spring on the side of the dogs digs into it a little bit.

    I figure the orientation of the dogs will always be the same direction, so there's a point at which each hole will have it's little "wire groove" established and that's that. I don't expect it will affect functionality or continually "get worse". We shall see (and if anyone reading decides to similarly accent the dog hole strip, perhaps consider using a harder wood than I did).
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Crawford View Post
    Looking nice

    Thanks Thomas! I'm really truly giving this an honest attempt - trying to build something functional that I can be proud of (and that my future great grandkids will inherit).


    Over the last couple days, I prepared all the lumber for the legs and rails. Mostly poplar, but some ash scraps sprinkled in too. My lumber prep skills have really improved during this project given the volume of that activity that is required.

    Next, I glued pieces together to reach desired thickness. My glue up skills have also made a big jump during this project.

    For glue squeeze out clean up, my new favorite method has become... When the glue is "dry enough" (about an hour after glue up) I remove some of the clamps, scrape off the mostly congealed squeeze out, replace the clamps... repeat until all squeeze out is gone. Let the piece dry overnight. This makes for nearly glue-free surfaces.

    Then, I true up the laminations on the jointer/table saw to bring them to final dimension.

    Yesterday, I figured out all my tenons and cut them at the table saw. Lately, I have been using a sled to first cut perfect shoulders, and then I swap to dado blade to finish the tenons. Note to self: My table saw sled sucks and it's time to build a new one immediately after this project.

    I did then mark out all my mortises. In this case, I laid out the joints on a flat surface and carefully traced the tenons with a sharp mechanical pencil. I labeled the tenon-to-mortise pairs so I can keep it all straight. Then I also measured for the mortises and transferred to each leg... happily, the measured lines and the traced lines were exact matches. I just needed to have confidence before cutting.

    Today... mortise cutting.
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    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  3. #33
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    You will really enjoy having those Gramercy holdfasts....my favorite bench accessory by far!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #34
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    Thanks Jim! I sure could have used my new workbench yesterday while building my new workbench... and especially some holdfasts. :-)


    Instead, I did what I usually do and quick clamped parts to my old workbench so that I could use my router and edge guide to cut all 12 mortises... That's a lot of clamping, unclamping, reclamping.

    These mortises all ended up nearly 3/4" wide, so two passes with a 1/2" bit did the job... Well, a lot more than two passes actually, because I had to step the depth little by little to reach final depth.

    After the router work, I would use a chisel to cleanup a little point that would form between the two passes, but left the corners of the mortises rounded. Using a rasp, I would round the corners of my tenons - my first time using that technique, which I found to be efficient.

    It was a long work session, but I got it all done, and everything fits nicely. One or two joints are slightly loose but I have some paper thin cut offs from this project that I will use to compensate.

    Today, I do all the other work to the legs and rails. Some hole drilling, shelf ledge construction, leg vise work. Not sure if I'll get it all done, but it should be pretty close.
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    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  5. #35
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    Just a day later, and "past-tense Bob" is already hilariously out of touch.

    I forgot that I didn't have enough material for the "chop" (the moving hunk of wood on a leg vise) so I had a busy day figuring that out.

    I ended up using some of the infamous hickory from another recent project... nice and strong, heavy, and hard. Sandwiched that around basically the last of my black walnut.

    I prepared all the lumber so that the various layers of the sandwich were same thickness within each layer.

    The "show side" is the best of the hickory, and is a glue up of 3 pieces edge to edge. I cannot find the joint now, so that worked out nicely.

    The middle layer is another glue up of three boards edge to edge. I staggered the joints in that layer with the joints in the previous layer.

    The "business side" (that does all the vise work) is the uglier pieces of hickory that I had laying around. The grain is swapped 90 degrees in this section, and I'm just going to have to hope that's ok with seasonal wood movement being in opposite direction as the previous layers. Think it will be an issue? I guess worse case is that I would have to make another chop in the future, but hopefully not.

    All of this was glued and clamped overnight.

    Today, I cut everything to perfectly square and centered to make vise installation measurements easier. I'll add some more "shape" to it after vise fit is locked in.
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    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  6. #36
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    All your layers in that "sandwich" really should be running in the same direction because of wood movement so they expand and contract at the same rate and in the same direction.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #37
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    Ideally I would have done that but materials on hand made it impossible. The top 9” x 16” space has the inner hickory layer running opposite as a result. Do you think it’s a big enough issue (based on size, materials, and after finishes hopefully help mitigate in a fully temp controlled shop) that I should scrap it?
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  8. #38
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    I'm honestly not familiar with how hickory moves...you may be ok given it's a "small" construction. Use it. If it cracks, there are plenty of marshmallows and hot dogs willing to give their life over a fire created with the broken pieces of despair.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    ...If it cracks, there are plenty of marshmallows and hot dogs willing to give their life over a fire created with the broken pieces of despair.
    You have a way with words, sir.

  10. #40
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    lol, thanks Jim!

    I think the movement will be very minor in this small application and in this environment (humidity swings are very minor) - I would be surprised if it was able to move to the point of total failure (as opposed to say a small crack appearing). I'll keep a close eye on it over time (the good news is that this is among the easier things to repair on this bench should the need ever arise... plus the marshmallows thing).
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  11. #41
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    It will be likely ok.

    Now just for grins, what I would have considered doing for that middle layer that's currently cross gain and at question would have been to just piece it together as needed to keep the grain direction running with the two outside layers. It's the same quantity of material in square inches, but since it's a sandwich, doing that wouldn't materially compromise the strength for the given application., IMHO.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. #42
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    Looking good Bob. Have you glued the undercarriage together yet, or just had it clamped?

    If you have glued it up, there you go.

    If you haven't, what is the cross section of your face vise leg, and did you get the criss cross hardware to go with your other Bench Crafted hardware?

    One thing I noticed in AWB and double checked recently, in the book the author's leg is 5x5 before mortising. I am not worried about post/column strength, that is plenty. But I noticed with the groove (stopped dado? stopped groove?) routed in for the author's criss cross hardware from bench crafted was deep enough to take away a bunch of the tenon for where the front stretcher tenon enters its mortise in the vise leg.

    I have never cut a MT joint in Southern Yellow Pine. I would advise west of the Mississippi builders in Doug Fir to think about making the vise leg face wider to add some tenon length to the front stretcher, or alternatively to add some width to the vise leg face to better accomodate drilling a big fat hole for a wooden wise screw. I did look up SLMA's (Southeast Lumber Manufaturing Association) phone number today, I will try to order their grading guide tomorrow, I think the governing design value for relish failure is Fv. I am willing to bet folding money SYP has a higher resistance to relish failure than Doug Fir, I have used a bit of SYP in regular stud and sheath framing.

    I expect if a builder followed the design in the book exactly, only substituting Doug Fir for SYP that joint at front stretcher to vise leg (with groove/dado / mortise) for criss cross face vise hardware to fail on assembly. One kludge would be to not drawbore that joint and put a bunch of glue on the peg at final assembly.

    I do think the face of the vise leg should be wider. Given the assymetrical top in the book, it makes sense to make both the front leg faces wider so it can work for either lefties or righties. My inclination would be to add two additional thickness of 1.25 x 5.0 stock, giving the front legs 7.5 visible width by 5.0 depth. The front stretcher would have to be modified, the other parts would not have to be changed if the outside corners of the legs are left as drawn in the book.

    I do think the base bench in the AWB is the best thing to come down the pike yet, with the possible exception that SYP is (probably) more resistant to relish failure than Doug Fir. At least for furniture makers, hand made cabinet makers and generalist homeowners, it should be a terrific bench. I mean no disrespect to silversmiths and clockmakers and company who have significant unique needs to practice their art. And we have multiple fans of other styles of benches here as well. I am a happy customer of that publishing company and want them to do well so I can buy other high quality titles in the future. I especially appreciate, as written, the user can build a timber framed bench without investing in a framing chisel, a 3# mallet, a mayonaisse jar sized bottle of motrin, and multiple kegs of Guiness.

    As far as the glued up chop goes Bob, you will find out sooner or later. It probably will last long enough for you to realize a high quality face vise is a thing of great utility. If it doesn't work out long term you can certainly roast some hotdogs on it as Jim pointed out. There is a relatively current thread in the Neanderthal subforum here about leg vises.

    I do have the NELMA (North East) grading guide on order. When I talked to the nice lady at NELMA she said the current version was printed but not yet bound and said she was writing my name and address on a special clipboard. It should have design values for Ash in it, but it will probably have also a lengthy disclaimer about the Emerald Borer. Ash with no bug holes in it is this strong, Ash with enough bug holes in it is firewood. And it might not. I found NHLA today, National Hardwood Lumber Association, it might be that both grading guides from SLMA and NELMA point me to the NHLA guide for hardwood species, grading lumber is clearly a rabbit hole just like vintage handplanes.

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winners View Post
    Looking good Bob. Have you glued the undercarriage together yet, or just had it clamped?

    If you have glued it up, there you go.

    If you haven't, what is the cross section of your face vise leg, and did you get the criss cross hardware to go with your other Bench Crafted hardware?

    One thing I noticed in AWB and double checked recently, in the book the author's leg is 5x5 before mortising. I am not worried about post/column strength, that is plenty. But I noticed with the groove (stopped dado? stopped groove?) routed in for the author's criss cross hardware from bench crafted was deep enough to take away a bunch of the tenon for where the front stretcher tenon enters its mortise in the vise leg.


    Thanks Scott! If the front leg and cross rails aren't same dimensions as Benchcrafted's plans, you are indeed correct that front rail tenon interferes with Criss Cross mortise. This happens on Marc (Wood Whisperer) build as well as on mine. I simply have trimmed that one tenon, and will draw bore rather than barrel nut that connection, and I think it will be plenty hefty.


    ---

    I did finish with my leg vise install tonight. Boy was that a workout, and I learned that my drill press is the worst ever... it's just not that accurate. I made due, but the ol' Walker Turner is now on my list to either figure out and tune, or swap to something else. That's for another day, but it's on the list.

    I would say that most of this process was about measuring twice and cutting once. Just lots of careful checking, double checking, laying out, rechecking, going for it.

    For cutting the long Criss Cross mortises, I used forstner bit and then plunge router with edge guide, and finished up with chisels as needed.

    Getting all the rest right... the written instructions (and fast email response) from Jameel at Benchcrafted are very useful, and Marc's video tutorials are too.

    The vise runs in and out smoothly. It's HEAVY and very nicely made. If the chop ever fails, I'll trace and copy it. But, fingers crossed, that won't be soon.

    Some punch list items, assembly, top flattening (router method), and applying finish remain.

    Speaking of which... what's your preferred finish for a workbench, and why?
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    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  14. #44
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    Ok. How long is the remaining tenon on the end of your front stretcher where it goes into the vise leg? Now that you have trimmed it I mean. I haven't seen Marc's video and didn't realize there were any barrel nuts in the mix. Is it too late to barrel nut this joint and drawbore somewhere else?

    What wood species did you use for the long piece of the front stretcher that becomes the tenon at each end? I think the author knows what he is doing, he has built a lot more benches and furniture than me, stuff I am proud of he would probably throw on a bonfire, and he has probably bonfired more stuff he has built than I have built total.

    I have been over the sections that make me nervous at least four times now, page numbers from the second printing, leg assembly 227-230, drawboring 238-240 and tenon surgery 256-258.

    I think this is a situation where an experienced builder is pushing the limits of a material he knows very well, and he is probably going to get away with it. With 3" tenons all around this bench could probaly have a pallet of brick dropped on it from 10-20 up in the air with no structural consequences. I would lay a sacrificial sheet of half inch plywood on the top to protect it from digs, but the bench could probably take it.

    Leg vise users with a parallel guide could put the guide either above or below the stretchers and leave that tenon full length.

    20210121_221451[1].jpg

    My drawing skills are probably worse than my handwriting. What that is supposed to be is a bare faced tenon (front stretcher) with the mortised part (vise leg) not in the drawing at all. That busted out piece is called the relish. Imagine someone yanked on the other end of the stretcher really hard, busted out the relish, and then rammed the stretcher back against the peg.

    Someone could have won some folding money off me a couple days ago, the Fv (horizontal shear) governing design value is 175psi for #1 SYP and 180psi for #1 Doug Fir. Besides not drawboring that joint, another thing someone could do is look for a flat sawn piece for the tenon so the peg passes through as many growth rings as possible. Among common construction woods, the highest Fv I could find easily was white oak at 220psi, about 25% stronger than SYP or DF in this dimension. Something with highly cross connected grain like Elm might be even higher, don't know.

    I also don't know how many foot pounds someone would have to exert on the bench top, in what direction, how fast, to get that relish to fail. Depends partly on how much stress is already on those fibers from drawboring for one thing. If four grown men had one leg each in double cupped hands and dropped it from say three feet in the air so it landed on the vise leg first on concrete or steel it probably would not break the first time. With three inch tenons all around it probably would not break the sixth time.

    I expect to lean very heavily on this design for my next bench, but I will find a way to not cut that tenon.



    --------------------------
    For top finish I started with equal parts varnish-thinner-linseed oil Chris Schwarz was using at the time. The first time I flattened my bench I didn't put any back on and have been working on bare naked Doug Fir ever since. You will find something you like. I did leave the 1-1-1 solution on the legs and stretchers, our cat only scratches unfinished wood.

  15. #45
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    If I made the front rail a bit thicker/deeper at that end (by laminating another piece to it) I could barrel nut still... the bolt would just catch the barrel nut inside the original thickness of the rail with about 1/4" of material, and the rest of the barrel nut would be supported by the new, added on rail thickness. If I kept this low enough, it will be under the shelf.

    On the other hand, if I draw bore this joint, I have a 3" tall x 3/4" thick x 1 1/4" long tenon made of poplar. The front side of that leg is also poplar, but the back lamination is ash... I was running out of materials, and also thought that this particular leg would benefit from stronger material. The front side (poplar) thickness before the mortise is (edited to correct this dimension) 1/2" of material, but the back side is 2"... so the draw bore would be pulling against a hefty tenon, a relatively delicate portion of poplar on one side of the mortise, and a hefty piece of ash on the other side.

    Which option do you like better?
    Last edited by Bob Riefer; 01-22-2021 at 12:35 PM.
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

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