Workbench Part 7 - Finishing Touches


In this entry I will be completing the workbench. The holes for the lag bolts were marked and drilled (right). The lag bolts hold the vise nut to the vise back and leg. They were drilled then the nut was temporarily installed and pilot holes were marked and drilled into the leg and vise back for the bolts. 


Next it was time to attach the top. The top is held in place by four one inch dowels. The two front dowels were placed in the centre of the top of the front leg (left). The rear dowels were installed in the stretchers. Once the holes were drilled in the base (left) and the dowels were glued in, the bottom of the top was next. The front hole was drilled one inch in diameter and the rear holes were drilled and chiseled out to allow for expansion of the top (below). This method allows to top to move and holds the top in place. If I ever need to removed the top or the sliding dead man, all I need to do is lift the top.


Next the wagon vise was put together. I made this myself with some extra parts that I had, as well as some purchased ones. For the screw, some acme left hand threaded rod, one inch diameter, sixteen inches long with six threads per inch, were purchased. Some square nuts were procured as well from Roton. The handle is from some drill press parts that I have. To fit the handle on the threaded rod, a shaft reducer was needed. I could not find anything available locally, but a one inch bronze bushing was almost perfect. A hole was drilled in the bushing (right top), which allows a set screw on the handle to tighten to the threaded rod. I then assembled them temporarily to allow fitting to the bench. The screw was placed on two pillow blocks, and the nut put on as well as the handle (right bottom). 


Before the wagon vise can be mounted, the holes were laid out for the bench dogs and hold fasts. Along the front of the bench there is a row of dog holes about four and a half inches apart and two and one-eighth of an inch in form the front. Hold fast holes were marked long the centre line of the bench, about sixteen inches apart and a rear row offset and about four inches in from the back. The holes were drilled with my brace and a guide was used to help keep the holes straight. No holes were drilled where the legs are, prairie dogs from Lee Valley will be used in these locations along the front row. At the right end of the bench a mortise was laid out for the wagon vise. It is about ten and three quarters long. Next, there was two mortises cut in the bottom of the bench for the pillow blocks to sit in. They were at a depth where the top of the square nut runs smoothly but snugly along the bottom of the bench top. This provides support for the nut along the bottom. There is metal tube is brazed to the nut (will get welded later) that holds a bench dog that allows me to pinch work between two dogs. The completed wagon vise is shown below. A few shaft collars were added next to the pillow blocks.


Now it was time to cut the vise chop to length, and round over the top edge. The edge was rounded over with a block plane and spoke shave (left). The support for the guide was also made and put on the long stretcher with some tapered dove tails, and glued into place. The bench is now ready for disassembly (below), at which time the corners of the long stretchers and tusk tenons will be rounded over. 



The bench was sanded down with two handed and twenty grit sandpaper and finished with multiple coats of Tried and True Varnish Oil. The hardware for the wagon vise and vise nut were stripped of the plating with citric acid and treated with gun blueing (right), to give a nice black finish.  The finished bench has tuned out to be wonderful to work on and is a great improvement over my old bench. The hold fasts that were purchased from Ed Lebetikn at the tools store above the Woodwright’s School, work great and I highly recommend them. I would like to thank Will Myers for inspiring my version of the Moravian Workbench. Below are some pictures of the completed bench. 


Work Bench Part 6 - Vise and Sliding Dead Man

This time I will be going through the steps of making the vise, sliding dead man as well as final planing on the top. The front vise requires a back that will have a mortise into the stretcher and the top. The nut for the vise screw will be mortised into the leg and bolted on the vise back.


The blank for the vise chop was made first. I did a long rip cut to get the board close to the final thickness desired (right). It was then planed square and finished to a size of eight inches wide, two and a quarter inches thick and thirty-two inches long. The location of the vise screw was laid out next. Then using an expansion bit, I drilled a hole for the screw to pass through (below left). I opted for the external garter option, which was laid out and installed as well. Then the sides were marked at an angle, with a seven inch straight area at the top, tapering down to six inches at the bottom. This will be cut later as well as the final length of the vise. The vise chop temporarily installed is pictured below right.




The vise back was built next. After it was cut, it was planed the final thickness which is the distance from the vise nut to the front of the leg, one and five eights of an inch thick. After the stock was squared up the angles of the leg was marked and was cut. The angle of the vise chop was then marked, cut and planed as well. It only needs to be close now, it will be planed flush after the vise is installed to make things perfect. The mortise that will go in the legs and top are marked and cut next.  The hole for the vise screw to go through was marked and drilled (left). I used an expansion bit to drill a two and seven eights inch hole. These holes were drilled with my hand brace. It was not fun. Not at all. There will also be holes for lag bolts for the vise nut that will be drilled after the bench is together. 


The vise front was next laid out for the guide. The guide will sit in a through mortise in the chop. I laid out the mortise, then chopped it out with my mortise chisel (right). This joint will have 2 wedges in that will lock it in place when it is glued together. The angles were also cut and planed on the chop now as well. The guide needed to be made as well. I laid mine out so it will be sitting below the long front stretcher on a support that will be added later. The guide measures twenty and three-quarters long, two inches wide and seven eights of an inch thick. There are holes drilled in two rows a third of the width of the guide in from each edge. The spacing of the holes is one inch apart staggered as seen in the picture. The completed guide with the tenon cut on the end that will go into the vise chop is shown below.



I then started on my sliding deadman. This was planed to final dimensions of five and three quarter inches wide by one and three eights thick. I then made the strip that will run along the long stretcher and provide a track for the dead man to slide in. This was planed to three quarters of an inch thick by one and three eights wide. I then marked a line from the centre of the top down the side. The centre of the track is three quarters thick and tapers down to leave a five-sixteenth of an inch thick base at the bottom.  This will create a v that will keep the dead man in its track. I planed this with my jointer plane. The track was then fitted where it will go on the long stretcher and cut to final length. Both ends are at angles for the leg and vise back. Then holes were laid out for nails that will attach it to the long stretcher and it was installed with a small amount of glue and some headless brads (below). Next the tongue on the top of the dead man was cut. The bottom was cut at the same angle as the track previously made and was cut and planed smooth with a shoulder plane to provide a nice smooth bearing surface for sliding. The top was cut with a tongue that will slide in a corresponding groove in the bottom of the top.  Then the holes for pegs or a hold down were laid out with dividers. They were then drilled with three quarters of an inch holes. The spacing is one-third in from each edge, two inches apart staggered as shown above right.


Now it was time to do the final planing of the top. It like doing any other surface to plane this, just a lot larger. I planed the top by clamping the top to the legs. This gave good support for the top and was not in the way at all (below left). Both surfaces were finished planed, and the long edges were squared up. The ends where then cut as well (below right).


Top 6

The mortise for the vise back and the groove for the sliding dead man to slide in were cut next. The stopped groove was cut by making small mortises at the ends and then using a plow plane and chisel to finish off (right). Below is a picture of the near complete bench, which will be finished in the next entry.


© Shane Larson 2018