Monday, November 19, 2012

Bench Build - Complete !!

The Shaker style bench is now complete and ready for use (officially), I was using it prior to the finish coat for some other small projects.

 The finished top dimension is 26" x 83", I left it a little wider than the plan to allow for a couple of round bench holes to accept holdfasts for the Moxon vise. Even at that width, there is still plenty of room all around the bench. I used Tried and True wipe-on oil for all of the unpainted pieces.

Back view showing the back panel routed to give the impression of ship lapped boards. 

 Tail vise view and overhang required for all the hardware under the bench top.

 Front view shows the square dog hole strip that runs the entire length of the bench. I do have a few more bench dogs to build, and the plans are clear on how to do that, even though it is not the most exciting part of the build.

 The deadman and rail 

The parallel guide bar prevents the leg vise chop from racking, simply slide the bar into the hole close to the width of the board you have in the vise.

One thing I can say is this bench is solid, and heavy! I had a chance to edge join a board and I detected absolutely no movement at all, solid as a rock. This bench was a pleasure to build. The quality of the hardware and plans are outstanding. I had some challenges along the way, but what fun would it be if it was easy? I learned a lot along the way and would be glad to share if someone is thinking about building this bench.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bench Build - Next Steps

The bench build continues to go well, I have finished the parts for the front glide vise and I my goal is to get this installed and adjusted this weekend.

Glide vise parts
The parts above are hard maple, the chop was a challenge. It is 2 5/8" thick at the top and tapers down to 1 9/16". I tried to resaw the glue up on my band saw, but it was a struggle, so I stopped, got out the #40 scrub plane, the #6 jointer, and the #4 smoothing plane and had my workout for the day/week/month.

One thing I learned is that you can tap hard wood to accept machine screws. This may seem elementary to some of you, but I had never thought to do that before, and is suggested in the plans to do so.

bench view with leg attached

I went ahead and painted the unit, oiled the knobs and door stops and the bottom foot of the bench. The plan calls for a 4/4 foot I believe and I felt that would make the bench lower that I like so I used simple 2x4 and with the thickness of the top will put the height where I want it.  I can touch up any dings later. The finish is General Finishes Milk Paint Bayberry Green, hardware supplied in the Bench crafted hardware pack.

Additional bench view
The remainder of the work will be on the top and the tail vise. I have all the maple I need barring any major screw ups, and I had to use hard vs. the preferred soft maple. My wood monger in Indiana did not have a good selection of clear soft maple so rather than wait I switched to the hard maple. 

So far the build is going well, there are some challenges which keeps things interesting, and I am learning some new techniques along the way.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bench Build...Doors and Drawers....

 After a commission job, and a very nice trip to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, I completed the next major step in the bench build, adding the doors and drawers. 

The doors are 1" poplar and are attached with the hinges supplied in the hardware pack from Benchcrafted, the knobs are cherry as is the door latch on the side door. I still need to make two more.

The half blind dovetails on the drawers are hand cut, I used pine for the drawer sides and back, the big reason was I ran out of poplar for the drawers, and I had the pine on hand from a previous job.

Happy with the results of the dovetails, the more I cut the better they look (to me anyway) and this step was one of the more enjoyable parts of this phase of construction.

Next step. Front Leg Vise construction and installation, final fit, and finish, of the drawers and doors, and painting the cabinet in a yet to be determined color of Milk Paint.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back At It..Bench Build Underway

Finally getting started on the new bench for my shop and am excited with the progress to date. With respect to Monsieur Roubo, Shaker is my style and I am building it using the plans, and hardware, purchased from Benchcrafted. The level of detail in their drawings is outstanding, the hardware package is complete, and the 3D available in a download are a plus.

Shown above is the basic carcass made from some pretty decent birch ply I bought at HD of all places for a reasonable price, was surprised at the quality of the plywood, haven't found a void yet. It is sitting on an old bench that moved with me from TN that was sitting in my garage. I drilled some holes in the top for the holdfasts, and use the Benchcrafted Moxon vise I built to use as an end vise. It is working out great, but can't wait to get the real deal.

Case with face frame and end frame dry fit. Both frames are constructed with 5/4 (net 1") poplar. If you look at Benchcrafted's website, you will see the base of the bench is painted , so poplar is a good choice for the outer frame.

Frames and back attached, all that is needed for the bottom is the "foot" It is a frame made of 1X3 poplar. I may change that thickness once I determine the overall height of the bench.

As of this posting, the door for the end panel is mounted, the doors for the front are made, the drawers are next. 

This will be one solid bench. The advertised finished weight will be around 350 lbs, certainly sturdy enough to handle any hand tool work.

A finished photo can be seen at Benchcrafted website and for those of you attending WIA in the Fall in Covington, KY, Jameel my have his bench there at the show.

More to come as I hit significant milestones during the construction.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blanket/Baby Chest

I was contacted by a client to discuss building a chest she planned to donate to the
St. Cecilia Pregnancy Support Center. The chest is going to be placed at the entrance of the church and parishioners will be asked to donate items for a new born. Once filled, the chest and it’s contents will be donated to a lucky mother.

Overall size - 36" x 20" x 28"
 Made using common pine, I hand cut all dados and rabbets for the case as well as the top slats. This plan was one of the very first projects I built over 25 years ago when I first started woodworking .
Sliding drawer, back trimmed to clear center mounted hinge

Internal drawer and the coopered top make this chest a little different than some others out there. The slats are attached with brass screws and finish washers.

The center mount hinge is child friendly, as it will stop and hold in just about any position to keep hands from being pinched. The top actually has to be pushed close.

Bull nose case trim was made using my #66 Stanley Beading plane with L/N replacement blades.

I really enjoy building this design, and given I was under no real time constraint; I was able to improve on my hand tool skills.

Client chose Old Fashioned Milk Paint, Buttermilk, for the finish. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Japanese Garden Bench

Finished Bench delivered to church
A client contacted me to discuss building a bench she wanted to donate to her parish for the redesigned garden area outside the church. She considered a number of designs and chose this Japanese inspired Garden Bench. The size of the bench is 24" x 66"x 33" tall and I used clear white oak. The finish is 3 coats of spar varnish.

Most of the parts were made using 6/4 and 8/4 white oak glued up to produce the finished dimensions. This is a very heavy bench.

I chose to hand cut the tenons as opposed to cutting on a bandsaw or table saw. Recall I sold the table saw prior to our move so that option was out (obviously) and I have found that it is a lot easier for me to control the cut and much more enjoyable doing them by hand. The newly built Moxon Vise with Benchcrafted Hardware really helped out here as the new bench is yet to be made.

A very rough dry fit of one of the ends. This is one of the largest, and heaviest, projects I have built in a while.

Dry fit of the base. This gave me an idea of what the overall size was going to be and figured out at this point is was time to start assembling the bench on the floor.

Starting the assembly and doing the final sizing of the back slats. Overall the are 40+ mortise and tenon joints in the bench. Not shown are the 6 seat slats which were attached with SS screws and plugs cut from white oak. The plans are from FWW and the designer is Russell Jensen.

I really enjoyed the challenge of building a this project and the church was very happy to receive it. The combination of white oak and spar varnish should help this bench serve the parishioners for many years.