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Okami 02-08-2012 01:02 AM

Re: Building a Bench in Perth
This is great Derek!
Seeing all these fine benches being made here is urging me on to make another:D
It seems pretty hard to find a decent hand brace these days. I haven't actually used one since my college days... I'd love to pick a nice one up, like you said, sometimes they just can do the job much better than a power tool.
I'm looking forward to more updates:thumbsup2:

derekcohen 02-11-2012 08:27 AM

Re: Building a Bench in Perth
Re-visiting the end cap bolts

Wood moves, expands and contracts as moisture levels change, whether it is a process of drying out or the humidity levels in the air. The need to ensure that future adjustment - when required - would be easy, has motivated me to redo the end cap bolts for a third time. There will be no fourth time.

I have incorporated features from a discussion on the Ubeaut forum, plus added a design feature of my own (although no doubt this is not new - is there anything "new"? ... probably just re-inventing the wheel).

The probability is that, over time, the bolt and nut will weld themselves together through rust. Tightening the connection will be difficult unless the nut can be immobilised. One way is to remove enough waste to slide in a wrench or spanner. Another is to immobilise the nut from the outset ...

The forum suggested using a square nut. However, while it has its advantages over the old nut, a square nut still requires a spanner to immobilise it. So I have made a elongated rectangular nut, where the shaft runs the length of the bolt hole (and so is restrained by the hole, per se).

Here are the three methods I had used. From the left ... First I tried coach bolts. These were removed as I did not trust their holding ability in end grain. In the middle is the recently removed nut-and-bolt connection. Finally, on the right, is the new system, a bolt and elongated rectangular nut.

The nut plate was made from 1/4" thick x 1" wide O1 steel. Mike Wenzloff gave me an 18" length a few years ago. Nice to add a connection to a friend.

The second feature was the tapered ends to the bolt. Having used them this way now I can confirm that this makes connecting nut and bolt a much easier job.

Here is the set up ...

And here are the end cap bolts installed ...

Tightening now can be done completely from the end cap alone.

Regards from Perth


JimKirkpatrick 02-11-2012 09:30 PM

Re: Building a Bench in Perth
Derek, nice work! :goodpost: You are building furniture fit for a museum more than a workbench. I really love your solution to the end cap nuts. I can't tell you what a p.i.a. it is using a regular nut. I ended up grinding an el cheapo wrench to fit in the hole. Jameel should take note of this and incorporate in his build kits! :goodjob:

derekcohen 02-12-2012 01:09 PM

Re: Building a Bench in Perth
Update on the build this weekend.

I did not get as much time in the workshop as I would have liked. Still, there were some important parts completed.

As reported earlier, I replaced the end cap bolts.

Then I stripped the legs (they had a sealer), filled all the nail holes and places where resin had dried and fallen out (this happens a lot with some Jarrah), and then sanded smooth.

The bench was morticed to receive the legs, and the mortice and tenons for the front and rear stretchers were completed. Below is a dry fit. Now it is starting to look like a bench (Australian style - upside down :) ) ...

The leg mortices were really hard work. Each is 3" x 3/4" and 2" deep. I drilled out most of the waste, then pared to fit. Exhausting!

I am pleased the way the figure is presented. For ex-roof trusses, these are striking. These pieces were selected to show.

The stopped chamfer on the legs meant that I needed to match this where the stretcher joined. The legs and stretchers are all flush/coplanar.

Regards from Perth


derekcohen 02-20-2012 03:44 PM

What's on my bench ... progress report
What's on my bench ..? Well, a bench is on my bench.

If you have been following the reports, you will recall that I was last busy with the stretchers. The mortice and tenons are now complete. You'd be forgiven thinking that, since the legs are done, the stretchers are done, the tail vise is done ... then why do I not simply glue the base together and fit the bench top?

The answer is ... the leg vise and sliding deadman must first be built. The leg vise especially requires work to the associated bench leg, and this cannot be completed after assembly (without great discomfort).

Here is a picture of Jameel's bench to reference the parts under construction in this post:

Most of this post involves constructing the leg vise, so I will first get the sliding deadman out of the way.

Incidentaly, no excuses for the blended woodworking here. There is a time and place for both power and hand work.

The sliding deadman moves on a triangular section on the stretcher, and needs to mate to this with a V groove at the bottom of the board. Creating this V may be done with a chisel, but the task is easiest as two rip cuts on a tablesaw. In all the pictures I have seen of this being done, the deadman board is held vertically over the tablesaw. A much safer method is to do this with the board flat on the table ...

Raise the blade to the midpoint of the board ..

Mark the start point ...

Rip the one side, turn the board over, and rip the other side.

The right-front leg was drilled for holdfasts ...

The upper holdfast is positioned to focus pressure at the middle of the bench top, while the lower holdfast will focus pressure at the middle of the stretcher.

Now onto the legvise.

Wilbur made me a wonderful gift of a legvise screw, the twin of the one he has on his bench ...

Above you see the screw, handle, and parallel guide. Below is the set he sent me. Note that it did not come with a garter groove, which I have added, since it was not designed to work with a garter.

I had decided to add my stamp to the legvise, and one of the changes was to use a garter. The garter connects the screw to the chop, thus allowing it to move back with the screw. Without a garter, the chop is required to be pulled back by hand.

I will show the garter connection in my next post (as it is not installed yet), but here is the garter prior to being sawn out (it is, in fact, already completed). This is a stunning piece of Myrtle. It just ripples ..

The other change was to turn a new handle and post in Jarrah...

Building the legvise began with installing the screw block in the leg. The block is 2" thick. The leg is 3 5/8" thick. My preference was to mortice the block into the leg to a depth of 1 1/4" rather than simply screwing it behind the led. This effectively provides 1 1/4" additional depth to the legvise in use.

The mortice was drilled out and pared to size ...

The fit was very tight. No glue is used, but screws will be added. This will enable its removal, if needed.

The next step was to attach the parallel guide to the chop. This is positioned a little above the height of the stretcher. The chop will terminate at the parallel guide as I will be adding a roller for the guide to run upon.

Rather than use a blind tenon, I decided to use a through mortice and tenon. It occurred to me that it would be easier to judge the exact position for the matching mortice in the bench leg if I used a through mortice in the chop. This would fixed with a wedge (and possibly pinned - do you think it needs both?).

Of course a through mortice is a more difficult joint than a blind mortice - epecially in a show side ... and I did not have another board that I could use as a chop. I certainly did not was to stuff it up, but I knew I would not forgive myself if I chickened out!

The chop and the sliding deadman come from the same Jarrah board (I bought this at the Perth Woodshow 7 years ago, where it had been freshly slabbed). I like the idea of matching colour and figure on these two pieces. As an aside, they are 1 3/8" thick. Jameel mentions that his chop is about 2 1/2" thick, and does not recommend a chop below 1 3/4" thickness as he is concerned about flex. Well I can assure you that this chop will not flex! At 1 3/8" thickness it is all one can do to lift it! :)

Here is the mortice for the parallel guide. It was drilled an then pared to shape.

I am happy with this fit ..

Now you can see how easy it is to transfer the mortice from the chop to the bench leg ..

OK, this one I used a router to remove the centre of the waste (You really don't think that I was going to chop out 3 3/8" of hard Jarrah !!!!) ..

... and pared away the remainder ..

.. to fit the parallel guide ...

On the bench ..

(Aside: the light coloured Jarrah on the side of the legs will be stained to match the dark Jarrah on the front and back).

That's where I am up to at this point. Next weekend I need to groove the underside of the bench for the sliding deadman, then drawbore the mortice-and-tenons for the legs, and glue them up. Then fit the tail vise, shape and fit the leg vise, shape and fit the sliding deadman, make dogs .......

Will I make my 6 weekend build deadline?

Regards from Perth


p.s. anyone actually watching this thread?

joraft 02-20-2012 04:43 PM

Re: What's on my bench ... progress report

Originally Posted by derekcohen (Post 78651)

p.s. anyone actually watching this thread?

Are you kidding? Watching your bench build has been fascinating!

Derek, thank you so much for taking the time to post it.

(The photography ain't bad either. ;) )


waho6o9 02-20-2012 05:48 PM

Re: Building a Bench in Perth
p.s. anyone actually watching this thread?

More than you realize. Thank you for your consideration Derek. :D

RogerSavatteri 02-20-2012 06:06 PM

Re: What's on my bench ... progress report

Originally Posted by derekcohen (Post 78651)

p.s. anyone actually watching this thread?


I'm at the edge of my seat.
thank you for sharing!
Wonderful work!


derekcohen 02-27-2012 01:40 PM

Re: Building a Bench in Perth
The Phoenix has arisen

Well I guess it not quite a Phoenix, but the bench build was in threat when I left off at the last report.

I had reached this point ... the top was looking good, and I was ready to assemble the base.

And then Perry, my ex-friend, discovered that I had inserted the dog strip back-to-front! Bugger. Looking through old photos I realised that the dry run had them the correct way, and I had marked them for the glue-up ... and then misread my markings. Bugger again.

A repair was complicated by the fact that the dogs angled 2 degrees ... now in the opposite direction!

Many on the forums recommended that the best way to deal with this was either to fill in the dogs and drill them for dowels, or to try and insert a shim and re-chisel the dog angle. It struck me that few were willing to start again - to cut out the dog hole strip and re-make it. Modifications as repairs are rarely satisfying. It is far better to have the Real Thing, even if this means pushing the envelope to do so.

Reshaping the dogholes is not practical. It is not just that they slope at 2 degees on both sides of the shaft, but that the head of the dog faces the wrong direction. Even if you turn this around, the support for the dog hole head is now absent. I don't want patches.

The plan was to remove only the dog hole strip as far as the last dog hole. There is no need to touch the side board or the area for the tail vise, and the latter includes leaving the dovetail well alone.

I must say a big Thank You to Perry who came over this weekend to help. I really could not have done this without him. The bench was rotated several times. Most importantly, Perry made sure I did not get anything back-to-front! :)

The main working tool here was a powered router. A series of guides were built to use with a bearing bit. The sides were deepened in a progressive manner, working to a few mm of the final dimension for the dog hole strip.

Top ..

Bottom ..

... keeping well away from the tail vise area ..

I had managed to beg another 4"x2" board in European Oak, and this was turned into a new dog strip with dogs 3" apart. This was an upgrade on the previous dog hole strip, where I joined pieces together having run out of this wood. It had look OK, but there were joins if one looked carefully. Now the strip was one continuous piece.

Checking that the strip ran in the correct direction!!!

A temporary planing stop while I fine tuned the insert ...

Here we are, glued up, the strip a little proud of the bench ... Perry looking on. Thanks again Perry.

That was Sunday night. I finished work today and had a few hours free. The first thing I did was plane the raised strip flush with the bench ...

Even with a close inspection it was not possible to see that there had been a repair.

I am delighted with the way it turned out. On a high I decided to nail together the base.

While preparing to draw-bore the stretchers into the legs ...

... a novel way of inserting the draw-bore pins occurred to me. I ran the pins through my pencil sharpener ...

to taper the ends ...

After a coat of oil the base ended up like this (I must point out that the flash does accentuate the figure) ...

One detail for now - the sliding deadman lower guide. This is screwed on to the stretcher. The idea is that I will not have to lift the deadman over it (when fitting the deadman), and this should translate into a fit with closer tolerances) ...

Next weekend I should finish the bench. Just the leg vise and deadman to complete (80% done) and the tail vise to screw on. Then the dogs to machine. The shelf has to be made. And a few other odds-and-ends.

Regards from Perth


derekcohen 03-05-2012 02:33 PM

Re: Building a Bench in Perth
The bench is basically done. Just a few lesser pieces to build - the dogs (well, you cannot use the tail vise without them), the parallel guide pin (made one in steel ... hated it, and will turn one from Wandoo, a very hard timber), and the tool shelf.

I left off last weekend with the new dog strip installed. First chance I had on Saturday I chopped the last mortice (that the new strip had removed), and drilled the holes for the pegs to attach the top to the legs. I am not draw boring the top as this would make it very difficult to undo should I ever need to break the bench down.

And then I grabbed Jamie, my 19 year old son, and we lifted the top off the old bench, turned it over, and placed it on the base. A little wiggle ... a jiggle ... and the mortices dropped over the legs tenons. I had a bench.

Man, this is one solid construction! Even without the pegs being driven home, it was impossible to move. The pegs, by the way, were made from Oak. I thought that Jarrah would look too busy.

I slapped on a couple of coats of oil ...

The top is flat .. flat .. flat ..

The Benchcrafted tail vise (wagon vise) ...

Hey Wilbur, this bit is for you. First of all, another Thank You for the vise screw.

For the information of others, Wilbur purchased a pair of screws from "someone", who made them for him. This was not one of the current vendors, such as Big Wood Vise. The main differences were that the diameter of the screw is 2" and that it is a two-piece construction (the screw and the hub are separate). I decided to personalise the screw by turning my own hub from Jarrah to match the chop. In one of his emails to me, Wilbur pointed out that glueing the hub and screw together did not work well, and that he had added a dowel through the hub. Great idea! I needed to make my dowel removable (to dissemble the legvise), and so I drilled through the hub and screw shaft, then threaded the screw shaft for a bolt ...

The bolt head was removed and a slot sawn for a screwdriver ...

Here is the legvise complete ...

The garter is made from a stunning piece of curly Myrtle, which links to the Oak top.

This was also used for the leg glide rollers (I cannot praise highly enough this idea from Jameel. Until they were added, the leg vise was struggling. The rollers transformed the construction. It now slides back-and-forth with ease, and holds thin boards tightly with little force) ..

The leg glide begins as a through tenon. This is rounded at the front of the chop ..

The leg glide (from inside the base) ...

The sliding deadman runs on a triangular strip that I screwed to the top of the stretcher (rather than sawing the stretcher to a triangle) ..

This allowed for the removal of the strip when installing the sliding deadman, and in turn this meant that I could create a tighter fit with less play. In practice this worked extremely well. The sliding deadman moves very freely and still remains flush with the stretcher and legs. Tip: round the ends of the tenon for less resistance.

The deadman and the leg vise were buit from the same board. They are 1 3/4" thick.

So ... finally, the big picture ...

We'll finish it all off next weekend. So far it has been 7 weekends, including one in which the dog strip was replaced.

Regards from Perth


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