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Thread: Travel work bench

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Mid coast Maine
    Posts
    424

    Travel work bench

    This project has been a long time coming. It essentially started 80 years ago when Morgan Van Matre published an article in American Rifleman magazine titled ‘Another “Smallest”’ about a small traveling workbench for gunsmithing.


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    It first described a small bench that he found very useful and I thought so to, so I made one of those first. It wasn’t a construction article at all but he did give dimensions, so with that in mind in the fall of 1987 the first year of my business I built this.

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    I’ve used it ever since. Two years ago I was helping install a deck on a 100’ boat so I put it to work and it saved a lot of on and off the boat fitting of pieces. It drew many comments and a few pics and I wouldn’t be surprised if the are a couple around the boatyard now.


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    But the real bench of the article seemed to elude me, I just didn’t seem to be able to put the time aside to build it. Plus I wasn’t sure how to put it all together, as I said there were no details. In 2014 I had a bit of a lull at the shop and I had long since squirreled away the wood I would use. So I started with the base.


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    Then the “legs” and front and side panels. The top was mortised for the legs and finally the back compartment wall was worked out.


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    And that is were it sat till early this spring when I dug it out again, determined to finish it. Like the original two small drawers were dovetailed together. I finally figured out the drawer runners and they work great.


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    Still more to do, and still sorting out the tools that will travel in it, so those installments will follow.
    I just wanted to get something out there on the 80th anniversary month of the article.
    This current bench on bench, small bench craze is not new at all.
    Jim
    Ancora Yacht Service

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    SW Florida
    Posts
    112
    Not sure which is more interesting...the piece itself or the story behind it! Thanks for sharing both.
    A wannabe woodworker!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Mid coast Maine
    Posts
    424
    Thanks David. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that article. It took a pandemic to actually get it finished.
    for those interested here is page two.

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    Jim
    Ancora Yacht Service

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    North Alabama
    Posts
    493
    Very nice! Thank you for sharing the article and your versions.
    Chuck Taylor

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Posts
    1,234
    What a great great piece of kit. I love the idea. Nice job on your build.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Mid coast Maine
    Posts
    424
    Thanks Joe and Charles. Everything is all glued together finally. The interior was all given two coats of Watco oil before glue up. I’ll probably post a pick of it once the exterior gets its finish on then maybe move the thread over to the Neanderthal section because from then on it is just about the hand tools and what I can fit in.
    Jim
    Ancora Yacht Service

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Mid coast Maine
    Posts
    424
    Finally got the vise screw mostly sorted out. I still am undecided if I should just put a set screw in the end of the hub to secure the handle or to put ball ends in it. I kind of like this look. I guess I’ll live with it like this for a while. I’ll let the pics tell the story.

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    And installed. The chop still needs a wear plate to take the thrust of the screw. So plain rod or ball ends? Decisions, decisions.
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    Jim
    Ancora Yacht Service

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Mid coast Maine
    Posts
    424
    For what it is worth if anyone cares the leg vise is now finished and operational.
    These are all the pieces that went into it. I thought about using the chain, but no too small and it isn’t like I need to bend over. A thumb wheel works just fine.

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    And with a fresh coat of Watco oil.
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    This project for the most part is now finished and from here on in will deal with the hand tools that I can fit in .21 cubic feet. That discussion will be in Neanderthal Haven if anyone wants to follow along.
    Jim
    Ancora Yacht Service

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    SW Florida
    Posts
    112
    Turned out terrific Jim...congrats. Will be interesting to see what you can fit in to that beauty.
    A wannabe woodworker!

  10. #10
    That is a really nice piece! Thanks for sharing.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Mid coast Maine
    Posts
    424
    Thanks for all the comments. The continuation of this thread was just started up in the Neanderthal section as I am now fitting it with tools.
    Jim
    Ancora Yacht Service

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