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Thread: Diary of a Madman's Workbench

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    664
    Pat,

    Great bench. Also a very enjoyable thread with lots of good information. Thanks.

    -Jerry

  2. #62
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    2,318
    Here are some lessons I learned from this project:

    - When building the legs, cut, plane and joint the stock for one leg at a time, then glue it up immediately. Using douglas fir probably exacerbated the problem of warping and cupping after squaring, but other woods would likely have the same problem.

    - As Patrick pointed out, this workbench requires a lot of lumber! If you're in my situation and can't get southern yellow pine, I would recommend ash, if you can afford it. I have learned recently that Chris Schwarz built himself one of these benches from ash.

    If using all ash is beyond your budget, use douglas fir for the base, as I did, and ash for the top. My budget started to get lean and I compromised on the top. It's not as thick as the plans call for. I don't know if this will cause any problems. I can tell you now that flexing and sagging are not issues at all with the hickory top. It's also plenty heavy.

    - Be sure to get a brace and bit as Chris Schwarz uses in the book. A power drill just doesn't have the necessary power and the bits likely won't be nearly long enough to drill the holes for draw boring. Sure, you could use a super heavy-duty power drill with extra long bits. But why bother? And it's more fun using the brace.

    - It should have been obvious, but I didn't think about it at first. When you attach the top to the base, lay the top upside-down, on the ground, on a furniture pad. Then step inside the upside-down base, lift the stretchers and walk it right over the top. You can then lower the base tenons right into the mortises in the top. (Remeber, the top tenons and dowels get no glue.)

    - While Chris Schwarz recommends flatting the top with a plane, I don't have a joiner plane nor do I know how to properly use one. I didn't think flattening the top would be the best time to learn.

    I flattened the top using a router sled. I had never done this before and improvised. I clamped a long piece of douglas fir onto the front and back of the top; jointed side up. I attached a 2"x6" with a hole drilled in the center to my router base. With a large mortising bit installed, I tried to find the lowest part of the top. I then set the bit to be just below the lowest point of the top.

    At first, I was routing across the grain, This resulted in a lot of swirl marks. I lowered the bit just a hair and tried again going with the grain. This worked great! After a long time and enough sawdust for a barn dance, the top was flat. I did a little sanding to remove a few router marks here and there. No, it's not dead flat, but it's real close. If I want dead flat, I'll build a torsion box assembly table.

    Questions?
    Last edited by Pat Germain; 11-11-2008 at 10:39 PM.

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Stanwood, WA
    Posts
    3,059
    Looks good Pat...

    Now you are on the home stretch.

    Dog holes and a bottom shelf are all that is left right? Your productivity is going to increase two fold.
    Last edited by Dewey Torres; 11-11-2008 at 11:07 PM.
    Dewey

    "Everything is better with Inlay or Marquetry!"


  4. #64
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    2,318
    Thank you Dewey and Jerry.

    Yep, I gotta build a shelf on the bottom. And I need to put a finish on the vice jaws. I might also put a nice roundover on the outside of the moving jaw. Of course, if I really wanted to get fancy, I could put some inlay in the vice jaws. Somebody recently gave me a nice piece of ebony.

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Stanwood, WA
    Posts
    3,059
    Pat... almost forgot... you may want to order a set of these:

    http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...r=bench%20dogs

    They are not cheap plastic like they look. These things are rugged and useful. Price is great too!
    Dewey

    "Everything is better with Inlay or Marquetry!"


  6. #66
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    49,616
    Pat, the only concern I would have with the vice is racking when you're using the dogs since that's a very, very wide setup. Outstanding bench!
    --

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

  7. #67
    Well Pat, you're finally most of the way there. As another gauche and sinister individual my bench is also left handed. For my top I used ash and am quite happy with it. You've motivated me to get some more pictures taken of my progress too.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Mountainburg, AR
    Posts
    3,031
    Blog Entries
    2
    Pat,
    Have you given any thought to turning this thread into a blog? This seems like a really good subject for an SMC blog. I started one for my workbench project, but, alas, it turns out that I am a very lazy blogger. Who knew?
    Anyway, I have really enjoyed following this post, and was just thinking that it would be a good candidate for a blog.
    Larry J Browning
    There are 10 kinds of people in this world; Those who understand binary and those who don't.

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    St. Louis
    Posts
    3,336
    Great job, Pat and an entertaining read. I was just reading the workbench book the other day. Have to put the bench aside till I finish my son's loft bed tho.
    Where did I put that tape measure...

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