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Thread: Project for the long Winter evenings.

  1. #141
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Hi Jim, and everyone,

    I thought I would dig up this thread because i am still thinking seriously about building a bench. I'd like to hear thoughts on bench heights, vises, built in storage (drawers/shelves underneath?), I am thinking of not doing a tool tray, because I know it would just get piled up with tools and be a huge mess in my shop. I would like to keep the overall size small (shop size, possible moving it, and most pieces I work on are small), maybe a30" by 6' top? I will make it very heavy and stout.

    Any thoughts on vises? I found these photos online. The first two look like more work than they may be worth...?




    This seems simple, versatile and fun to build:



    I like this simple tail vise style:

    There is nice hardware available for it from Lie-Nielsen:


    anyone use a vise that slides in a slot in the bench-top like this? They do allow boards to be stuck through for cutting dovetails and such, but the thickness would be limited.

    www.schleiffboatworks.com "classic boats for modern times"

  2. #142
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    [QUOTE=TimmS;2533223]Hi Jim, and everyone,

    I thought I would dig up this thread because i am still thinking seriously about building a bench. I'd like to hear thoughts on bench heights, vises, built in storage (drawers/shelves underneath?), I am thinking of not doing a tool tray, because I know it would just get piled up with tools and be a huge mess in my shop. I would like to keep the overall size small (shop size, possible moving it, and most pieces I work on are small), maybe a30" by 6' top? I will make it very heavy and stout.


    QUOTE]










    Bench heights are a personal decision, and always a compromise.. Mocking up a few top heights using sawhorses might be a good idea before committing to all the labor and expense involved in a real bench. This bench is 36" high, and I like it so far. I built another that was too low for me and didn't like using it. One day I'll put longer legs on it. A rule-of-thumb height can be found by standing with your arms at your side, palms horizontal. the palm is the height.

    The tool tray is quite useful, as it lets you clear a space and still have tools available. It does tend to become a catch-all unless you're vigilant, which I ain't.

    Size depends on what type of work you do. A too-big bench gathers clutter. Too small is, well, too small. Size works in the favor of steadiness. Putting storage underneath might be a good idea if you're short of space, otherwise, I wouldn't. The weight of drawers makes the bench a permanent fixture and sometimes it's good to be able to reposition it without too much trouble.

    The bench in your pictures was designed by Franz Klaus, and the plans are in Fine Woodworking. Here's an example of the same bench that I made around 1990, you might notice that it's built left-handed...









    The vises were a lot of work to build, but not withut reward. The hardware was cheap, just a couple of bench screws, and they are very useful for woodworking. However, they do require a lot of winding, as there is no quick-release. Here's a few details...






















    The corner of the right-hand vise. This joint is always in compression from the vise.








    A detail of the base...




    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 07-17-2017 at 01:52 PM.

  3. #143
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Very nice pictures Jim! Thankyou for the advise too.
    www.schleiffboatworks.com "classic boats for modern times"

  4. #144
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    heed the comment about no quick release on those....lots and lots of turning...

    Jim, incredible to say the least. Thanks for the pics and the inspiration.

  5. #145
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by ben2go View Post
    That's a really beautiful work bench.It should be on display.What is the dish out area along the back for?I never seen that on a bench.
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Girouard View Post
    It's tool trough, in theory you slide your tools into that trough so the table top is free to move the work about.
    In fact, it's the place where little chunks of wood, sawdust, plane shavings, and dovetail chips collect. They sit there until a #00x1/4" brass flat head screw bounces out of it's envelope. Then one of the plane shavings leaps out fast as a viper and drags the screaming screw into the pit, where it disappears forever. Small springs, ballbearings, and other parts are equally susceptible. I once found a whole set of Brusso 1/4" offset knife hinges in mine.

  6. #146
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Bored today, nothing to do. The old bench was looking a little uneven in spots so I set a plane real fine and took a gingerly swipe across one particularly proud plank. One thing led to another, as sometimes happens and bingo, ankle deep in former bench top...





    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 07-17-2017 at 01:54 PM.

  7. #147
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    Bored today, nothing to do.
    bs ...
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  8. #148
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    Bored today, nothing to do
    You finished the boat?
    Last edited by Dave Lesser; 05-01-2017 at 12:46 PM.

  9. #149
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    I think you're just adding a bit of slope so the coffee runs off the bench.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  10. #150
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoez View Post
    I think you're just adding a bit of slope so the coffee runs off the bench.

    Or into that row of drainage holes, I'm good with either so long as it doesn't puddle in the center.

    You can see here the amount of cupping still left to remove. This is about half the original gap of about an eighth of an inch. The bench lives in a garage that's sometimes heated in Winter, sometimes not. Over the years since I built the bench the top has become uneven, aside from the major cupping, some of the planks in the butcher block have shrunk more than others. This creates a washboard effect which would be easy to plane flat if it weren't for the crossways cup. Lengthwise the bench top is quite true.

    The vise will have to be refit due to the lowered height of the top, which will provide an opportunity to deal with some interference issues that occur when the vise is rotated in certain positions. Also on the list are some bench dogs, which I never got around to making but often think might be handy.



    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 07-17-2017 at 01:55 PM.

  11. #151
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Do you ever miss that 48" wide belt sander?
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  12. #152
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    Do you ever miss that 48" wide belt sander?

    Yanno what I miss, Paul? Owning that sucker! Oh, yeah! THAT'S my sander, that one, the one swallowing the front door, here, put these earmuffs on! I loved that. Of course, nowadays I see someone owning a sander like that I feel sorry for him, "poor sod, prolly got a pile of work needs doing, I think I'll take a nap".


    Nearly there now...



    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 07-17-2017 at 01:56 PM.

  13. #153
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    How much movement do you think you had - maybe 1/8" to start?

    I would have thought the careful bread-boarding of the ends should have prevented this. Any thoughts on the cause other than natural movement in the wood from changes in environment?
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  14. #154
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoez View Post
    How much movement do you think you had - maybe 1/8" to start?

    I would have thought the careful bread-boarding of the ends should have prevented this. Any thoughts on the cause other than natural movement in the wood from changes in environment?
    The ends were quite flat, Craig, but they get planed down along with the rest. I suppose it's natural to imagine laminations as stable things, as they are more stable than the equivalent in solid wood and because we're used to working with more manageable pieces than this. One thing is for certain with this top, and that is that it will move over time. It's quite unrestrained, being held in place by its own weight.

    One thing is apparent, the individual planks shrank differently. I chalk this up to differing grain orientation shrinking different amounts. You can see this where the plane is hitting one plank but passing over its neighbors.

    I think that after this number of years most of the settling-in has taken place and this truing-up will set things right. I expect less movement in the future but can't rule out the need for a lighter surfacing in the future.

    Here's some evidence of expansion, the dovetails popping in the corners of the tool tray. Give the piece character...




    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 07-17-2017 at 01:57 PM.

  15. #155
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Ah, your dovetails fit better than mine! But, here is my mystery dovetail. Just to tweak the mind. Sorry about that bum fit. Lefty Jay

  16. #156
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Ah, your dovetails fit better than mine! But, here is my mystery dovetail. Just to tweak the mind. Sorry about that bum fit. Lefty Jay

    I've always admired your workbench, Jay, with its fitted drawers and end vise. Is that dovetail a personal invention or a Japanese variation? Lovely stuff! Thanks!





    Some of you might recall that I like to use chalk when fitting to mark high spots. This is another variation on the same old theme. In this case the chalk is rubbed onto the jointed edge of a two-by-four, seen here sitting in the tool tray...the worse-than-useless tool tray, as some would have you believe. Rubbing the chalked edge every which way across the top reveals the high spots. This is looking pretty good, with only a small area in the center not getting chalked. Of course, like any sanding operation, the closer you get the more material has to be removed to get down even a small amount.

    Jim




    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 07-17-2017 at 02:04 PM.

  17. #157
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    winding sticks?

  18. #158
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    winding sticks?

    Yes, please.

    What Jake is referring to is the practice of placing a straightedge across each end of the bench top and sighting across the tops of the straightedges to see if they line up. Lining up means the top is in plane, anything else indicates a twist in the top. Ideally, this would be the first step, but in this case I planed merrily away for a good while before I remembered my lessons.


    The benchtop racks each time the bench is moved to a different location. Putting a shingle tip under one foot of the bench will adjust the winding. As it was, shimming the drivers side, front, about three thirty-seconds was enough to bring the top into plane.


    The planing continues. Lest anyone thinks this an arduous task, let me say that it is not. It's difficult to stop planing. It's not a continuous task, rather something to do sporadically, stopping whenever tired.


    We are now flat. The only thing left is to sharpen sharper and set the plane finer to improve the surface. This one plane will do the job and there will be no further finishing after, no sanding, in particular. In order to leave the top in a condition where it can be touched up in the future it would be best to avoid abrasives as they embed the surface with grit which quickly dull the plane.

  19. #159
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    I love that surface. Of the last passes with a really sharp plane and then burnished using the gossamer thin shavings that are left. This is where an old coffin plane, tuned up just tits, will come into it's own.

    I don't believe a machine can duplicate that finish.

    *A note about abrasives... Often wood from the big box stores is finished in a sanding machine and this "wood" will dull your plane in short order. It is often difficult to tell when this surfacing is done, I need some magnification to detect it.

  20. #160
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    (SNIP)some of the planks in the butcher block have shrunk more than others. (END SNIP)
    Google saved my ass again! "Google early and often." should be my motto.

    I love the job you've done, resurfacing your workbench, Jim!

    Still, though, I was going to take the opportunity to rip you a new one, in a cultured and well educated way, of course, for your misuse of the term "butcher block," which I understood, from my childhood in Chicago, back in the middle of the Twentieth Century, to be made up of vertically oriented wood with the end grain exposed on the top. It turns out that my definition is only one of those listed in the dictionaries. Measure twice, speak once.

    Oh, and here's a little something for your trouble. Some gentlemen doing the same job, by hand, on steel milling machine tables!


  21. #161
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    blanchard!
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  22. #162
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    And then, under the video for Blanchard machining, this showed up:


  23. #163
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    I love that surface. Of the last passes with a really sharp plane and then burnished using the gossamer thin shavings that are left. This is where an old coffin plane, tuned up just tits, will come into it's own.

    I don't believe a machine can duplicate that finish.

    *A note about abrasives... Often wood from the big box stores is finished in a sanding machine and this "wood" will dull your plane in short order. It is often difficult to tell when this surfacing is done, I need some magnification to detect it.

    There are super-surfacers out there that can do shavings like a plane, but I've never seen one. Even so, it would have to be a fairly large machine to do a benchtop like this. Wide belt sanders do the lions share of smoothing in this world, and they do quite an adequate job. For paint grade work the widebelt will leave a surfaces ready to finish, but if the work is to be stained then hand blocking is required for top quality work. There are, of course, finishing room tricks that will avoid this step if you want a finish like most stock cabinets, glossy and muddy at the same time.

    I once bought an order of poplar that had been sanded to thickness instead of planed, and what a nightmare that turned out to be. You might as well take a sanding block to the jointer knives. Horrible stuff!

    I could have kept planing, I didn't want to stop, the shavings were getting mighty thin and as wide as the plane, always a good sign, but I felt guilty about having so much fun when there was real work needed doing. So, I said fookit and slapped in a couple of coats of wipe-on poly, re-chamfered the dog holes and pushed the bench back up against the wall. From here on the bench will only be used for french polishing marquetry and cleaning clockworks with a camel hair brush.



    Last edited by Jim Ledger; 07-17-2017 at 02:06 PM.

  24. #164
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Noto View Post
    And then, under the video for Blanchard machining, this showed up:

    Thanks, Chris, I remember seeing Bens Mill back in the 80's. I loved it back then and have always wanted to watch it again. Thanks.

    There is also another documentary out there about a water powered mill where they made shutters, the mill was closed up with all the machinery in place and the reopened decades later and put back into production. I could probably find it, but where would be the fun for others in that?

  25. #165
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Ledger View Post
    There are super-surfacers out there that can do shavings like a plane, but I've never seen one. Even so, it would have to be a fairly large machine to do a benchtop like this. Wide belt sanders do the lions share of smoothing in this world, and they do quite an adequate job. For paint grade work the widebelt will leave a surfaces ready to finish, but if the work is to be stained then hand blocking is required for top quality work. There are, of course, finishing room tricks that will avoid this step if you want a finish like most stock cabinets, glossy and muddy at the same time.

    I once bought an order of poplar that had been sanded to thickness instead of planed, and what a nightmare that turned out to be. You might as well take a sanding block to the jointer knives. Horrible stuff!

    I could have kept planing, I didn't want to stop, the shavings were getting mighty thin and as wide as the plane, always a good sign, but I felt guilty about having so much fun when there was real work needed doing. So, I said fookit and slapped in a couple of coats of wipe-on poly, re-chamfered the dog holes and pushed the bench back up against the wall. From here on the bench will only be used for french polishing marquetry and cleaning clockworks with a camel hair brush.

    Whe you are at that clockwork, don't forget to align the screws to face the moon at the winter solstice

  26. #166
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    This thread has been restored to its former glory and is now open for your further enjoyment.

    The Management

  27. #167
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Ah, your dovetails fit better than mine! But, here is my mystery dovetail. Just to tweak the mind. Sorry about that bum fit. Lefty Jay
    Not Japanese just my own joke as that end cap is one piece and the two short pins are blind fitted. Hence the bum fit.
    Jay

  28. #168
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    Default Re: Project for the long Winter evenings.

    This is another great thread. I was in the midst of divorce when you started this bench and to keep myself sane I built a new bench of my own.
    It was great therapy.
    My dog holes are always round so they can double for use with a bench hook.
    There is something beyond satisfying to true up the top with the big #8; getting those long, onion skin thin shavings.....

    The debt of gratitude that I owe you for this and the catboat thread is incalculable. It has been ton of fun to tag along and watch and learn.

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