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A 'leftovers' bench

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condeesteso

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Can never have too many bench threads around here :D
Having finished my 'posh' bench a few moths ago, I knocked up a mini-table to use for assembly and also as a 'mucky' bench - sharpening, any metalworking etc, but I'm not at all happy with it as it is too light and a bit small. So I started thinking about a slightly bigger table. Then I thought fit a vice to it to make it versatile. And it grew from there.

The bits list:
- a 9" Record Q/R (Tail-vice)
-a a metal vice screw from an old bench I had and rebuilt
- a stack of 2"+ ash sawn boards
- some oak, mainly one board 68" x 11" x 3"

So the assembly table is taking virtual shape: 5'6" long, Record tail-vice, a leg vice on front using the metal screw I have.

I'll do some pics as and when I can get properly started (too nippy out there today).

Questions: I have never done a leg vice before, so any tricks welcome. Mixing of stocks... this will end up using ash, oak, beech vice faces (easily replaceable mainly to please Bugbear) maybe even some lime. They are all stabilised to the climate and will remain so.

I also need some good quality coach bolts (stainless re the oak).

This could be a cracking compact bench I think, but opinions welcome please.
 

marcros

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Douglas,

Re leg vice It is well worth downloading the benchcrafted instructions http://benchcrafted.com/Downloads.html

Not only does it give you a shopping list, it also tells you how everything goes together. You will just have to swap a few bits around if you are using a wooden handle rather than handwheels.

The roubo bench project completed by Tony has some useful pictures and discussion on it too.

Mark
 

condeesteso

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Hi Mark - had a look, also went back to C Schwarz book and a couple of articles in Pop Wood. I have been cracking along with the main structure and it's going quite quickly - machines this time: bandsaw and Tsaw for tenons, Forstners to clear the big mortices etc. Must say it is so much easier working these shorter lengths anyway. It's ending up a mere 5'6", about 22" deep, 33" high (same as the recent twin-screw 8 footer I did).
I'll soon be on the leg-vice and have some theories to test- pics and progress report to follow.
And I decided to put a sliding deadman in again. This secondary bench started out as an assembly table also to be used for 'mucky' stuff (sharpening, tuning the odd plane etc) but it's difficult to resist the extra mile I find.
 

marcros

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Douglas,

You could go the extra couple of miles and put in a sliding leg vice... also what about a moxon vice for cutting dovetails on?!

If you are using it for assembly, is it worth considering a removable piece in the top, in case you need access for clamping? I have seen this on somebody's WIP, or online somewhere and it looked a useful feature.

Have you sorted the guides for the leg vice yet- the timber housing and nylon wheels?

It will be interesting to see how you find the depth- I have a 27" firedoor for my top, and am wondering whether to either trim it down, or whether to put a tool tray in the back. I think that it is just a little too deep at the moment, based on how much of the 600mm kitchen I actually tend to use!

Are you drawboring the joints, or is it a huge task on these large sections of timber (asks one who has never drawbored a joint in his life...)?
 

condeesteso

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Oh Mark... it was supposed to be a quick basic second bench - for assembly and for messy things (plane tuning for example). I have been interested in a leg vice for ages, so that's being done, but in a basic way. I saw somewhere about wheels for the lower guide etc ( I think Richard Maguire does something like that) but I'm starting with the very old basic design. I will have more to say about how I suspect they work and what they may not be very good at :wink:
The Moxon as far as I understand is a vice within a vice, or fixed to the top in some way? I mean I didn't think it was a built-in thing... may add one for the main bench later but haven't felt a great need yet (I think the higher working position may be good when sawing dovetails for example, but I manage).
The depth is my standard for a bench (max 22") - it's small for an assembly table but space is limited. Actually I think the max for a bench is 22", I'd be quite happy with 18" much of the time and I note your point re how much of the kitchen worktop you use (90% of the time is a kind of rule, I think).
Anyway, so far it looks a bit like this:

A slab of oak ready to be ripped into 3, for top members. It was this slab that decided the overall bench length:
b2-1.jpg


Top, 3 lengths of the oak,(2 to front, one at rear complete with a nice big knot but still very straight and solid):
b2-2.jpg


The front left leg, bored ready for the leg vice:
b2-3.jpg


More news later... it is cracking on, and let's not forget it was just a quick second, using up bits I had around... including a fair lot of wood :lol:
 

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No skills

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I honestly think it would be a much harder challenge to actually make Douglas construct a real quick/basic/easy/dirty bench :D

Give him some softwood and ply, screws and glue! I can see the look of horror now :twisted:


But no... another well made mini masterpiece on the way - thinly disguised as a quick/basic/easy/dirty bench.


Damn.




:)
 

marcros

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Lets set the challenge then...

Douglas, you must discard the vice you have, and integrate one containing a cheap Chinese casting. And the bench must be constructed from B and Q's finest banana wood!
 

condeesteso

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Very funny Skills! Yep, I've done benches from ply, mdf, softwood. Didn't love 'em but I made them and they did work too - as we all know they do.
And Mark - I suspect the front screw for the leg-vice is probably made in China (ex-Axminster and budget). Re the banana-wood that would be cheating. I said it was from leftovers. Can I help it if the leftovers are English oak and ash?? I have not bought a single thing for this bench yet... and I'm very close to home with it. Even found some coach bolts the other day. It's a freebie.
This one honestly started (in my mind) as a small assembly table, then you add a vice, then another, then you thicken the top up a bit...
Once this is done I will need a small assembly table** to double as a 'mucky' bench... cos this one is beginning to please me.
What I will really need is... HELP.

** and a way bigger workshop.
For sale: a Bench.

(btw - lot to be said for smaller benches, don't have to walk so far. It's like big kitchens... not ergonomically sound. Debate.)
 

No skills

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He's nearly made the first step...


"Hello my name is Douglas, I'm a benchaholic"


:)


All leg pulling aside I'm sure its going to be a nice piece of work, why not sell it when you have finished and put the money towards something you want. This will also give you the chance to build another bench :wink:
 

condeesteso

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Quick update... cracking along. A balmy 6 degrees in the workshop today, perfect for a barmy bench-builder. If you click on the image it gets a lot bigger :)
b3-1.jpg


The holes in the top look a bit like dog-holes, but this is an assembly table. I noticed as I assembled the base that it was getting a tads heavy, and I suddenly remembered an old Ettore Bugatti trick - drill holes in everything to get the weight down.

Back stretcher to go in; top to be assembled and glued using the base to build it on; leg vice components prepared but need detailing (holes, joints etc). A beech breadboard end to rh end (bolted on, replaceable); fit the Record end vice; make the sliding deadman (every assembly table needs one of those); and several details. The interesting bit is the leg vice... starting with zero clearance everything, then tuning 'til it works nice. Oh what fun a bit of time off brings.

(For the observant, one of the laminates looks very short. It's split in length to allow for a planing stop over left near the front vice. So for now the long bit is resting on the top supports.)
 

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No skills

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Very nice.

Assuming the 'sliding deadman' is the piece that runs on the bevel on the stretchers (?), what holds it in place under the benchtop?

One more thing... (in best columbo voice) are the stretchers a bit low to the floor? I'd always wondered if they should be high enough to easily put your feet under should you be working on something right at the back of the bench.

Just wondering.
 

condeesteso

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Hi Skills - yes it sits on a 'male' 90 degree upturned vee at top of low stretcher. The deadman top slots into a rebate under the front edge of top (I did 12mm back, 12mm wide and 18 deep... that way I can remember all the numbers when I come to make the deadman : You need the 18 so the deadman can go up enough to clear the stretcher vee.
I make the top tenon on deadman a friction fit first, then use a shoulder plane to remove a few thou til it slides nicely, but must stay flush to front (that likely means trimming a few thou off front of deadman tenon til it hits dead-flush with the bench front 'plane').
A trick for easy insertion of the deadman's tenon into the routed groove is to put a tiny (1degree-ish) fall on the back so it's very slightly narrower at the top. Under load, it will tend forward so the very slight play is of no consequence. But aim for nil play to start, then trim tiny amounts off 'til it just fits. What starts tight becomes a little looser... as in life.
Make the deadman from 2" stock (to match the width of the lower stretcher), but once the female vee is cut , take off about 40% of the depth along the back - so it easily clears the stretcher track when inserting / removing. Again, the load is down (85% say) and back (15% say) so a lesser bearing surface behind the vee is irrelevant, engineering-wise.
The leg-vice is being approached the same way - snug everything, then discover what clearance is needed and add it... but very small amounts as it too will become more slack with use. And we don't like slop in a vice do we #-o
Re the space under lower stretcher - I'm with you, it is vital to be able to get your winter boot-toe under that. Its' about 90mm which I know from past experience is fine. But it is essential to pay attention to that small issue I reckon.
Oh yes, and by the way, it's an assembly table... with wings :roll:
 

No skills

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Ah I see, thanks.

Was suprised to see deadman thickness at 2" but it did sink in that you prolly use some sort of holdfast in it which I think needs some thickness to work properly (again ? not actually seen one).

Didnt realise that the lower stretcher was near 4" up, looked lower in the picture :oops:

Been picking up some different things from all the bench builds of late (and some older ones) and storing them in the ideas box for my own first bench, a deadman of sorts is there - prolly with a groove routed through it verticaly so I can use some f-clamps or the one hand squeezy clamps (yes I can even lower the tone of a deadman :) ).

On these flush front benches I have pondered the use of a round over or 45 bevel on the front edge of the top (very small), this might stop any slight imperfections in that 90 degree top to front face edge from interfearing with any large joints being made (say 2 large bits of ply being joined at 90 degrees) and cut down on squeezed out glue getting on the bench from joints made. All depending on what your making I supose.

Still enough rubbish from me, keep up the good work.
 

jimi43

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Douglas...I do think you need a day out in the country....otherwise we could end up with your workshop one huge bench!!

:mrgreen: :mrgreen:

It's already looking like little Daddy Mk1!!!

Jim
 

condeesteso

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Jim - yes, it's a problem #-o
Thing is I really wanted to make a leg-vice, and this was the best excuse I could come up with. Your Record 9" will be hanging off the end, but needs a spruce first.
Got the leg vice almost done today - working but needs a few details. Very impressed indeed - simple, very old design, works brilliantly. Loving it.

Pics and report later... been too busy making the wee beast.
 

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I have a tin of roundel blue paint and primer if you want to borrow some. It is some funny stuff though - takes ages to dry, and even longer to cure hard.
 

condeesteso

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Hi Mark - no probs, I have a tin too, and I agree in this climate it's a slow process. Did a No6 plane a bit ago, and put it in the oven at 60 degrees for about 1 hr... good trick, recommended but keep it 60 or lower otherwise it will bubble. Daughter came by that evening and said "Daddy, do you have a mechanical device in the oven?" She has a bright turn of phrase does
Elena.
So Mark, the ash pile... very soon indeed but you understand I got distracted, and it was a heady 10 degrees in the 'shop today... crikey, nearly shorts weather.
Leg vices... oooer :shock: I know you plan one - I am now a total fan, bloody amazing. A few tricks I discovered in the making. I will share but need to do pics to go with it.
 

marcros

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brilliant- it will be good to know how you find it without the guide rollers involved.

You must be well on with the bench now?
 
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