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Thread: AWB workbench - a few options

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Riefer View Post
    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.

    Which option do you like better?
    I am not certain as I don't fully understand what you are looking at. Before surgery using Chris' method your tenon would have been 3 inches long, 1.25 inches thick and 5 inches wide.

    How much tenon do you have left after surgery? I can try to watch Marc's video this weekend, it won't be today. Fv for yellow poplar is 145 psi.

  2. #47
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    I'm not strictly following Chris's plans, nor am I strictly following Benchcrafted/Marc's... so my leg dimensions and rail dimensions are different than the book and written plans.

    I'm going to go with the draw bored method - I think there's enough meat to make it a very strong joint (and my setup is turning out much like Marc's where he did the same)... Given the overall girth and strength of the entire assembly of the completed bench, that one specific mortise / tenon being slightly different than the others doesn't overly worry me.

    Heading out to the shop now.
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  3. #48
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    It went GREAT!!!

    I carefully laid out all holes for draw bore - this being my first time trying this technique, I was a bit nervous and triple checked everything.

    I cut poplar 3/8 dowel into 2 inch lengths and then slightly tapered at my sanding station. The work went quickly.

    Glue up and assembly was then a breeze, everything working as planned.

    All joints in all directions are dead on square. YES!! And this thing is rock solid and moves as one big single unit.

    Tomorrow, mortises in the top to accept connection to the base, a long groove for the sliding deadman, and I'll apply finish to underside before I flip it over.

    I think by end of weekend, this project will be completely done possibly (including flattening top if needed and bottom shelf).

    What a great project, I've learned a lot!!!!!!


    workbench base complete.jpg
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  4. #49
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    Thinking about scale a little bit today.

    As presented with no surgery tenon, that is 3" long tenons in draw bored joints at every location, Chris' bench could be gym equipment for an NFL team. You three guys, hold the bench upside down over your heads, squat down, do a shot putt as a team, throw this bench all the way down to the far end of this tennis court, however many throws it takes. You three guys, go wait at the far end of the court. When the first group hurls the bench over the line at the far end of the court, you do the same bringing it back to here. Whichever group of three can do this the fastest will start on Sunday, you other three will be warming the bench. 30 second time penalty if the airborne bench touches the tennis net in the middle of the tennis court.

    Next, lay the bench upside down on the tennis court, paint a circle around it on the ground, get four linebackers, one on each leg. Whoever pulls their corner of the bench over the paint first starts on Sunday...

    Now get the same bench, only with the tenon surgery done to it in the circle, and four more linebackers, this is where I get nervous.

    For ordinary wood working, with the tenon surgery, it probably will be fine. Even with the tenon surgery you could get 5 or 6 lineman up there at 300# each, jumping together so you got 1800# falling on the bench top simultaneously every few seconds, not going to break that relish.

    When you move the AWB bench with tenon surgery to a new house, don't ask four football players to load the bench on the truck. Get 8 golfers, or some video gamers. Also, don't drag it around by a 2x4 clamped in the vise. Push on the top or legs.

    I did go to youtube and saw a 1:17 commercial for a 10 hour video I could buy, no data on tenon size. I don't dislike Marc. I have seen some of his videos and it seems like he makes some nice stuff. We just like different tools is all. I hate my electric router. Well, maybe strongly dislike. There are some places, some operations, where the electric router really is the best tool for the job. My sense of the thing with the woodwhisperer videos I did see it was like he was figuring out how to do as much as possible with his router. Nothing wrong with it, just not what I want to do with my free time.

    Good luck with your build.

  5. #50
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    lol, I'm really not sure if I should take that post one way or another, so I'll say... thanks for the tips!


    --------

    I got the mortises and the long dado for the sliding deadman cut on the underside of the bench today. I used my plunge router, careful measuring, and setting of stop blocks with double sided tape. I find this an efficient and effective method to get clean results, and today was an example of that.

    I made the mortises about 1/128th big in all directions and was able to get it all to slip together on the first try. Snug enough / loose enough.

    I drilled for huge spax screws, and then used my son as some extra muscle to set the whole thing right-side-up for the first time.

    Later, I built two straight rails and a carriage for my router... I will be "flattening" with a router sled approach. Honestly... the whole thing is darn close already, but we've come this far and are "going for it". I have a whole plan of attack, and will detail it tomorrow once I'm successful (thinking positively!!)

    Also... making a 6 foot table from 8 foot plans... I totally didn't realize that my nice/wide chop on leg vise will stand about 1.5" past the end of my truncated top surface. I have a plan to make it look intentional (but you'll all know.. so don't spread the word of my mistake too far).

    As a data point... I'm a big guy at 6'2" and <too heavy of a weight due to love for IPA's>... and I can sit on the end by the tail vise without it "popping a wheelie" so it's already very heavy and solid.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Riefer View Post
    lol, I'm really not sure if I should take that post one way or another, so I'll say... thanks for the tips!
    No offense intended. Looking back I see in your third post you said you were building Chris' bench with tips from Marc, but I missed/ didn't track until very recently you were (your fifth post) basically building Marc's bench. I thought I was tracking with you until some barrel nuts showed up in the last couple days. Then I went looking on youtube, the woodwhisperer used to have like 16 million and seven free videos, but his workbench details are either not easy to find or behind a paywall.

    I finished my train of thought about Chris' bench. I don't have any useful information about Marc's bench dimensions to make any useful comment on.

    I think Marc is a fine woodworker. The tools he leans toward in his videos and the tools I want to use in my shop are a divergent set. The teacher who is using the tools you want to use and making the things you want to make is the one you should learn from. Neither method or tool set is wrong, we are all getting things done with the tools we have available.

    The bench you have built in this thread looks solid and will be useful. Be advised your first workbench will not be your last workbench. In 6-12 months, if not sooner, you will find something about that first bench, no matter what you built, that you will change on your next bench. "Barking mad" one of the regulars here often says in workbench threads, something about your first bench will drive you barking mad.

    In the meantime, enjoy. You have put a lot of time and effort and money into that thing. It looks solid from here. I am not sure I was any help to you at all, but thank you for the opportunity to think through Chris's design.

    Get whatever finish you have chosen on there and start making stuff, and Happy New Year.

  7. #52
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    Forgot one detail above that might be helpful to future bench builders...

    If you are installing the wagon vise (per Benchcrafted and/or TWW plans), when it comes time to make the mortises on the underside of the slabs, the vise hardware (specifically the "rails" that the wagon rides along) are in your way for using your router to make one mortise...

    Marc therefore chisels that one out, I'm unsure how Jameel handles..

    But, what I did is that I simply took some straight scraps of MDF and affixed in that area with double sided tape so that my router could ride above the rail. It took about 2 minutes to setup, and another 2 minutes to cut the mortise. I just trust my router skills more than my chisel skills at this stage, so it was worth the thought process.

    Last night I built the router sled and rails needed for flattening today. My plan is to first use my combo square as a "pretend router" so that I can test drive the jig I have built and get a feel for how much material I will be removing. The table overall is darn close already I think, so this will help me prove/disprove before I actually do any cutting.

    Wish me luck!!
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  8. #53
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    Whew! The top flattening was quite stressful initially, but ultimately uneventful and effective. Glad that's done!

    I have a bunch of MDF laying around (gifted from a neighbor) that I use for jigs and disposable tasks.

    I didn't have a long enough piece to make the rails for the router sled, so I laminated two lengths together, and then edge jointed the entire assembly to ensure a nice flat reference surface.

    I also used MDF for the sled.. just a simple, rigid, channel for the router to ride in. I affixed stops as needed to make it easier to "mow the lawn" (my analogy for how this process goes.. back and forth...)

    I followed Marc's process for establishing coplanar for the rails, and affixed them with multiple pipe clamps. I checked and rechecked as I went along. Wanted to be sure the rails were still straight edges (despite clamping pressure being applied) and that the cut I was about to make was sensible. I did set my combo square to the same depth as router and "test drove" the entire lawn mowing path to ensure no major surprises were lurking in the seemingly pretty-darn-flat-already top.

    workbench top flattening router rails coplanar check.jpg workbench top flattening ready to begin.jpg
    After drawing pencil lines to make it easy to see my progress, I masked up for the messy operation, and went for it....

    workbench top flattening bobby ready to make some dust.jpg workbench top flattening like mowing the lawn.jpg
    It was completely uneventful, everything went smoothly and quickly... I spent much more time setting up than making the cuts.

    In the end, the tops are very flat and nicely aligned. They look pretty too, which isn't the main goal, but a nice side benefit.

    workbench top flattening very flat yayyyy.jpg workbench top flattening finished.jpg


    On to the punch list and finish up items. Nothing else in this project gives me any pause or concern, so I'll look to wrap it up this week and get to my next actual project.

    (also, the home addition... which will result in more free space in my shop too... begins this week... so the new bench will have a better home very soon)
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  9. #54
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    I'd mentioned someplace earlier that since I shortened my bench to 6' (rather than 8') that the chop on the leg vise was overhanging the edge of my bench by a bit. I could simply make the chop narrower, but I want the holding power of a wider surface, and I have another solution in mind...

    The solution is that I will affix a walnut end cap to that end of the front slab using the barrel nuts and long bolts from the Benchcrafted hardware pack (which were intended for affixing rails to legs, but I used draw bore instead). This end cap will match the end cap on the other side of the front slab so it will visually fit in, and it will allow the leg vise to not overhang anymore. One bolt (the one closer to the vise) will be in a precisely drilled hole to hold the position of the cap in the right spot, and the other will be in an oblong hole to allow for wood movement.

    Then, to make the back slab look "even" it will get it's own sort of end cap... in this case a small walnut "tray" where I can store tape measures etc.

    To make all this happen, I needed to run to the sawmill. I found just what I needed, and while I was there I also found a nice thick and wide piece of ash (same as my slabs). So, I decided that I would redo the chop too - the cobbled together version (with mix matched grain) was going to bother me forever, so it's going away in favor of this new/better version.

    More pics soon
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  10. #55
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    Nothing wrong with using the chop you already have built for a while. Useful data point, ready to go into service.

  11. #56
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    Funny how practice makes work easier the 2nd time around. "Chop take 2" was built in short order with better precision and fit/finish than the first version. It runs in an out even more smoothly too (likely because the pin drilling was done more carefully this time).

    Edit... also... using the bench to build the new chop was glorious. The wagon vice held the piece firmly and easily while I used my router to cut the huge mortise. I hear some machine-based woodworkers tell me I'm crazy (since I'm mostly machine based) for wanting a bench like this... but my days of endlessly trying to make quick clamps be "enough" helper... those days are over.

    workbench chop take 2.jpg

    I have learned that I really don't have an excellent method of cutting perfect 90 degree square cuts when material is over 3 1/8" thick (max I can cut on my table saw). So this chop was planed until it was that thickness so I could get all the cuts just right.

    After I was done with the chop, I made the center divider insert. I used little ramp cuts where the divider sits on the rails so that sliding the unit to the right raises it up above the surface, and shifting to the left lowers it again. In "up" position it can be a stop to push against, and in the down position it is out of the way. I do find that storing tools through this divider is handy.

    Then, I built the left side end cap and installed using barrel nuts that were left over since I used draw bore with pegs for the base assembly. I have it nicely aligned, but left some wiggle room in the bolt holes to account for wood movement. A dead blow hammer allows me to micro adjust should the need arise in the future.

    workbench chop take 2 and end cap.jpg workbench left end cap close up.jpg

    Today, the tool tray, additional dog holes, and perhaps the sliding deadman (haven't decided).

    Tomorrow, sand and finish, and DONE.
    Last edited by Bob Riefer; 01-30-2021 at 9:47 AM.
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  12. #57
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    FINISHED!

    (well, someday I may add the sliding deadman, but have opted to wait until I see how I use the bench before I decide on that)


    I built the tool tray and was able to get the simple "box" to be the same size at its neighboring end cap (which was the goal). Simple construction, suitable for this purpose. One divider inside, and an asymmetrical scoop cut out on the front to make it easy to reach in but still providing a little visual "flair".

    I carefully drilled the final dog holes, sanded (I didn't go nuts on this... just used 120 grit to knock down sharp edges and obvious flaws... didn't want "glass smooth" for this tool/bench), and my boy helped me apply Watco danish oil.

    On to the next project! Thanks for all the advice and encouragement (and even a pardon from sins) along the way. :-) I hope it was fun to follow a far-less-than-super-pro guy figure it out, and maybe some of this will help another woodworker in the future.

    workbench finished 1.jpg workbench finished 2.jpg workbench finished 3.jpg workbench finished 4.jpg workbench finished 5.jpg workbench finished 6.jpg workbench finished 7.jpg
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  13. #58
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    Dang...that bench looks GREAT!!! Super project result and it will be around for generations I hope! 'Hopefully, I'll get to see that in person someday.
    --

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

  14. #59
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    I would LOVE to have you here Jim. I was even telling my wife I'd literally pay you to come so that maybe you could give me some pointers on shop flow, tuning equipment etc. I also serve coffee (during) and cold beverages (after) work is done.
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  15. #60
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    LOL. A simple visit when it's safe to do so is just fine. It will be nice to visit that area again...given my first home was a townhouse in Royersford and my first marriage was at what was the Collegeville Inn at the time. The office for my second job out of college was in Collegeville and I spent time on Ursinus campus as my then-spouse was a student and I got involved with some great musicians in a jazz group...they needed a piano player and it didn't have to be a student.
    --

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

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