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. 


© Shane Larson 2018