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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 12:30 
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nabs wrote:
is there some reason you do not want to include an apron ala the 'Paul Sellers' workbench and similar designs?


It's a good question nabs. I had considered it, but I'm unsure if the type of work I do really needs an apron. I will be able to clamp components to the side using the record vice, and I'm contemplating having some sort of deadman set up to the right of it to provide support if required. I also have the option to clamp on the face via the split top if needed. I'll definitely keep this in mind though and include it in the proper design if it looks to be useful :)


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 12:34 
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phil.p wrote:
Matt, if you think you might build a bigger one in the future spend some time and thought on the end frames - if you're pegging the frame together you'll be able to reuse them on a bigger bench - it won't be wider, only longer. If you turn the legs 90 degrees you'd be able to build the through mortices into the lamination and thus save yourself a job.


I like your thinking Phil. I have designed the main stretchers to be tusk tenons, which would allow me to remove and replace with longer stretchers in the future. However, the design at the moment has the tenons from the legs going up through mortises in the table top. I'm considering reducing them so they're not through mortises, thus allowing the table top to be removed without ruining the tenons, so the bench can be somewhat disassembled if required. What do you think?


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 12:42 
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So the first step was selecting the timber to use for the various components. This is no easy task, given the quality of the stock! I selected the straightest boards with the least amount of knots for the table top and put them to one side.

The remaining wood was cut to rough length at the mitre saw in preparation for lamination.

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I used a ton of glue to ensure no gaps in the glue lines. I'm leaving the rounded edges on, as I will be dimensioning the components after they've been laminated up.

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I found that four of the cheapo aluminium clamps were sufficient for each component. They're well worth the money (after the usual Paul Sellers tweaks).

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After the glue dried, my little home made flush trim plane did the job of removing the glue squeeze out, although I wish I had been able to do it before the glue completely hardened.


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 13:40 
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MattRoberts wrote:
Out of interest, why do you suggest it will help avoid racking? I'd have thought that once laminated, it's effectively a single component and orientation wouldn't matter?


No worries Matt, I was talking about orientating the grain differently for the 140x38mm timbers (3 No. would be 140x114mm leg), as you'd want the longer dimension of the leg to be along the front. So if you've used 3 No. 89x38mm and its glued up well (which it looks like you have!) then the way you've shown it is fine as the longer dimension (114mm) would be along the 'racking -prone' direction.


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 14:31 
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Sawdust=manglitter wrote:
MattRoberts wrote:
Out of interest, why do you suggest it will help avoid racking? I'd have thought that once laminated, it's effectively a single component and orientation wouldn't matter?


No worries Matt, I was talking about orientating the grain differently for the 140x38mm timbers (3 No. would be 140x114mm leg), as you'd want the longer dimension of the leg to be along the front. So if you've used 3 No. 89x38mm and its glued up well (which it looks like you have!) then the way you've shown it is fine as the longer dimension (114mm) would be along the 'racking -prone' direction.
Aha, I understand now, thanks for clarifying :)


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 15:05 
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My top is now on a different frame than it was originally and fixed down with steel brackets. When I fitted them I turned over the frame and fixed them to that first with spacers to ensure that when the top was put in place there was a gap of a mil or so to pull it down dead - obviously any gap between the two when the job is done is undesirable. Through tenons to me are just making work, but of course that's only opinion - so long as there's no likelihood of any bounce it doesn't really much matter how you achieve it. It's not caused any concern whatsoever and as the bench has been moved four times it's ideal to be able to take half the weight off easily.


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 15:12 
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Looking forward to seeing this come together Matt. Building a prototype bench probably isn't the worst idea. For instance, after building the Paul Sellers version of the English workbench it was interesting how quickly preferences were developed or how after using it I'd probably change a couple of things to suit the way I work. And by building and using a first version you can do that! I bet it'll prove very useful in the end.


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 15:40 
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El Barto wrote:
Looking forward to seeing this come together Matt. Building a prototype bench probably isn't the worst idea. For instance, after building the Paul Sellers version of the English workbench it was interesting how quickly preferences were developed or how after using it I'd probably change a couple of things to suit the way I work. And by building and using a first version you can do that! I bet it'll prove very useful in the end.


Cheers El Barto :)


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 15:58 
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El Barto wrote:
For instance, after building the Paul Sellers version of the English workbench it was interesting how quickly preferences were developed or how after using it I'd probably change a couple of things to suit the way I work.

^ Pretty much what I was going to suggest - Finding a simple but solid design that you can build quite cheap, and have room to modify and test out ideas for the future DreamBench. Kinda what I'm doing my own self at the minute.
You might decide you like dogging (fnar fnar) your work down with prarie dogs and does feet and holdfasts, or a bare top that you can swap boards around like Maguire's build.
I personally like the idea of a reversible strip that holds tools and is a planing stop, as I have several other things I'd do with that, but equally I'm playing with French Cleats and removable tool racks too see what I like.

Definitely experiment!!


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 16:55 
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I'm all up for experimenting.

I have a scaffold screw that I'm planning to use to make a leg vice to see if I like it, as well as having various attachments that slot onto the top of the bench, such as: router planing sled rails, clamp holders for panel glue ups, a dispenser for my rolls of wax paper (invaluable for glue-ups / painting)...


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 17:16 
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Tasky wrote:
I personally like the idea of a reversible strip that holds tools and is a planing stop, as I have several other things I'd do with that, but equally I'm playing with French Cleats and removable tool racks too see what I like.


I had a strip for tools down the middle but changed it for a solid one as the tools got in the way. It's easy, cheap and and quick to change, of course. I did the replacement very low for the first couple of feet and higher for the rest so I could flip it end to end according to the height I wanted (and dead flat on the reverse side, obviously.)


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 17:53 
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MattRoberts wrote:
I'm all up for experimenting.

Yes of course, but does the wife know this?

Ja ja, I'll get me coat... :P :lol:


phil.p wrote:
I had a strip for tools down the middle but changed it for a solid one as the tools got in the way. It's easy, cheap and and quick to change, of course.

That's the beauty of the idea - You can swap it out so easily if you change your mind, or even make different ones for different tasks.
I figured it would be more a temporary holder than the permanent storage spot, anyway, depending on what job you're doing.

Admitedly this is inspired more by my mechanicking time, but still useful for those bad days when you keep picking up the wrong size tools and have to reach/hike across the workshop for others that then also turn out to be the wrong size or were put back in the wrong place, or whatever...


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PostPosted: 06 Jan 2018, 14:38 
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Image

The next step was to plane and thickness the components to size. Due to the dimensions, I chose to thickness the face and edge, rather than do the edge on the tablesaw.

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Rinse and repeat, until I end up with all of the bottom components ready to go.

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With some of the components, I could leave the central pieces long, as they will eventually form the tenons. In hindsight, however, I wish I hadn't. Unless you thickness evenly on both sides, you end up with the central piece off-centre, which makes extra work when marking and cutting the tenons. I think I'd rather have gone long on all pieces, that way I could treat it as a single workpiece when marking.

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Here's the dimensioned stack. I had a little heater running in the workshop as it was bleedin' cold. It's not the greatest heater in the world, but was enough to help the glue dry as well as take the edge off when working in there.

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On to marking up, and I took my time to carefully mark around all four sides and indicate waste areas. I find (from experience!) it helps avoid a lot of silly mistakes down the line.

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I'm drilling out the majority of waste from the mortises with a forstner bit, so I marked and centre punched the centre of each mortise on both sides.

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Over to the table saw to cut the shoulders. I first trimmed one end, and then used a stop block on the fence to help avoid any binding. I had also swapped the fence to the left side of the blade, as I hadn't yet cut the components to length and therefore couldn't reference from the other end. In hindsight, I didn't really need to do this and could have cut each component to final length - something I had to do later anyway.

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Nice set of shoulders! :D


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PostPosted: 08 Jan 2018, 16:57 
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Time to cut the tenons. I did the first set with a Japanese saw, but I must confess I did later ones using the bandsaw. My hand sawing isn't great, and despite having a terrible bandsaw with a resaw blade on, it was still an improvement over handsawing!

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I did some initial cleanup with a chisel and then did a test fit. A little bit of massaging with chisels and a shoulder plane resulted in a satisfactory fit.

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I'm planning on drawboring the tenons later, which brings me to a question: would softwood dowel be sufficient to use as the pegs? I have some 20mm oak dowel, but would rather save this for future use if normal softwood dowel will do the job.


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PostPosted: 12 Jan 2018, 12:01 
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So cutting mortises in this wood sucks. It's super soft and springy, which means the fibres compress rather than cut cleanly. It almost feels like you're smashing the mortise out rather than chopping. It's also pretty difficult to keep clean edges, so cutting with a knife first is essential, as well as creeping up on the lines gradually to avoid taking off too much and denting the surrounding fibres in the process. I also seemed to need to sharpen my chisels very frequently, to ensure I had the sharpest edge possible at all times.

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After completing the leg mortises, it was time to move on to the cross braces using the same technique:

  • Cut mortise lines
  • Drill mortise holes
  • Chop through on both sides
  • Chop back to lines
  • Final trimming of mortise and tenons to fit

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It's nice when it all comes together and each joint helps keep the other joints tight / in place. It feels like it's all coming together.

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I'm undecided whether to wedge these through tenons or just leave them. I don't think they need to be wedged per se, it's more for aesthetic reasons - I think wedged tenons look nice :D


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