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So two big delays over the last couple of weeks. One was a work trip, the second Covid but I'm back to it.

Before I left I ripped the bearers to rough size and installed these.

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Richard recommended putting a bit of a chamfer on the underside so that any glue can squeeze out if needed. I only had a tiny dribble - one of my pet hates is too much glue.

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The bearers were hammered home. The bench was pretty solid before but this makes a huge difference.

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Finally nailed and flushed off level with the aprons.
 
Before the break I glued the first plank on.

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I went over the top with clamps but as this is the most important plank I wanted it as tightly glued down as possible. You should see a slight overhang. This will get planed flush once dried.

While the glue was setting I nailed and sunk the heads as before.

Two weeks later and I could finally resume.

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I used my combination squares to act as spacers between the planks. The clamps here were only for a few minutes while I could get a few nails in. The boards were surprisingly slippy with the glue on.

It's a boring photo so I've not uploaded, but in order to make sure the nailing didn't hit any nails in the bearers or trestles I used a story stick. For each plank I could then ensure my spacing wouldn't conflict - luckily the spacing was consistent and nothing interfered. I marked this up before the planks were nailed.

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There were pros and cons to using PAR. This was one of the pros. Even without flattening there was very little work to do here. There are a few high spots and the rear board drops away for the last 40/50mm or so. This was the plank I was worried about. The glue and nails pulled it down tightly enough - so I was happy to leave it as it is. The rear of the the work bench won't be used as a reference surface so rather than flattening the rest to match this, I've let it go. The other two are fine.

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Flattening didn't take long at all. I knocked off the high spots very roughly with my number 5, semi diagnonal passes. Finally I sanded at 80 grit.

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At this point I trimmed the excess off, both aprons still need a final flushing but for now that task will wait.

This brings this WIP almost up to date. As of this evening I've started the planing stop, once that's complete I can finish the aprons off and the vice install can crack on.
 

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I started by marking out the planing stop hole.

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The idea behind this is that the wooden block rests against the bearer, so when there is force from the front it has support below.

I don't have a picture of this, but I used the drill bit that came with the holdfasts to cut a load of holes then popped the waste out with a chisel. The downside to this wood is working with hand tools, it's very crumbly with the end grain. If I was doing this again I'd maybe use a router with guide bushes but I don't own a set yet. Still the hole is never going to be seen with the block in. It's just a friction fit that can bit hit up or down with a hammer/mallet.

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The planing stop I'm using is the Benchcrafted Planing Stop. It is pretty nice but the install was a bit of a pain if I'm honest. For starters the head of the bolts are imperial so I had to dig out an alan key for this.

Also aligning the holes was a bit of a faff. I originally went a bit larger to allow some wiggle room but found this meant the locking bolt was sticking out slightly. So I scrapped that version and re-did it as above. The bolt holes vertically are are pretty tight fit, while the locking bolt hole is a few mm oversized. The thread of one of the bolts was a bit knackered too and would only insert one way up, this cost me some time.

I used a pillar to cut the holes, doing this by hand would have been pretty tough.

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Despite a few cock ups, it's pretty damn solid once tightened up. I practiced sinking the stop in the end grain but this was pretty horrible so for the real block I didn't bother. My thought process here is that from what I hear most people don't really adjust their stops anyway. If I do change my mind I can also cut out a notch in the bench at a later date.

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Most of the time it would live at his level. I do plan to use this side of my bench as outfeed for my MFT but the stop should be well out of the way. So I'll see how this goes before any future changes.

One thing that did dawn on me was I could have simply drilled through the top and attached the stop that way. The block does allow me to raise the planing stop though, so this would be useful to stop larger panels or glue ups, something I did a fair bit with my old bench so I'm happy.

A defect to fix is a bit of nasty chip out underneath. I saved the chip and will glue it in before trimming the bench to length.

I had a quick test before finishing and it worked great. With the planing stop done I aim to get the vice installed next and then it's just finishing touches left.
 
A quick job was to trim the top to length. I still need to do the left side next to the vice but this wasn't too bad. It was the first time I've ever used a tracksaw vertically, so glad I have the clamps.

It looks nice and neat now.

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I was able to flush the front apron off finally. I still need to do the rear, it was only roughly cut. There's no need to do this as it won't be used or classed as a reference surface but I'm going to clean it up as it won't take long.

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Next up was the vice install.

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This photo is probably my biggest cock up so far.

I was so focused on getting the vice chop centered within the bearer/leg that I completely forgot to add the spacer in. In the photo you can see I have the piece of scrap to represent the top, there should be a second piece underneath this.

What this meant was when I drilled into the apron I was 44mm too high. I didn't notice until the third and final hole. It's not too bad - I've lost some time as I'm going to cut these holes out and glue in a few blocks. It was more the time lost that annoyned me. I plan on lining the vice too so it won't even be seen, but still, what a cock up. I hope this is the last one.

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This is the mechanism that goes underneath. The reviews for this vice (Axminster Large Trade Guide) said the instructions were awful. You see this a lot as people are pretty stupid but they were not wrong. They are shocking, almost like taking a maths exam. You could replace them with a few lines and a template or two instead. If you've installed a vice before you'll know the deal.

The spacers were screwed with coach screws, then the spacer got screwed to the top, again with coach screws. This was pretty tough as I did it without flipping the bench. The screws were countersunk a bit to increase depth, they go about 30 ish mm into the top, which seems fine enough.

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After the mistake I had a problem - not enough wood for the chop. I didn't want to waste time so I used the piece I was saving for the planing brace. By losing 20mm I was able to get a decent enough piece for the chop. Ignore the fact it's wonky here, it's not installed, just resting on the holes.

Talking of holes I should have drilled larger holes to begin with. The guides were about 20mm, I ended up drilling 25mm holes. I had to elongate these slightly - in hindsight I should have just gone bigger to begin with. I also had to use forstner bits due to the size requirements. These are naff in a hand drill. In contrast the auger bit that came with the holdfasts is excellent. If I ever do this again, I'd use one of those but in the correct size.

I did see an install of this vice on youtube where the bloke had an almost friction fit, I have no idea how it worked. The only other bit that was troublesome with this install was there is quite a bit of play in the guides, once installed they are solid but that few mm space makes all the difference when trying to fit into the guide itself.

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The handle I purchased is the Veritas handle. It's pretty nice but there was two issues. First was the screws were Robertson, I don't have a bit for this so threw these away and replaced with some Torx wood screws.

The other was the end caps are a bit flimsy. The handle is solid, but these seem a bit weak. I don't remember where I got this tip but I used a couple of 22mm o-rings I had from some plumbing work, these stretched over the 30mm ish handle and mean when it drops it doesn't bang and feels so much more satisfying to use.

To attach the chop to the vice I tried using the coach screws but these didn't work. So I countersunk a few holes on the face side and used some 8mm bolts. This should be much stronger and worked fine on my old bench.

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The last bit related to the vice today was to plane a 2 ish degree angle on the chop so the upper part of this clamps first (toe in?). I did this by using some double sided tape to stick a small shim on the side. You should be able to see the small gap on the right. When this passed through the thicknesser a few times the angle was planned as needed. Ignore the guide on the end grain, this was just to make sure I had the right face, I only had to take a few mm to achieve the goal. How much difference this makes I don't know - but the instructions recommended it and I know others swear by this.

As it stands the planing brace is gluing up after I ripped and thicknessed this earlier. I used the left over piece from the planing stop which was nice. The dog holes have all been drilled so I'll share that in my next update once I can run the router over them.

I have a series of small jobs to do over the next few lunch breaks with the goal to be completing the bench this weekend.
 
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For dog holes I spent a fair bit of time prepping for actually drilling them. Thinking where to place them.

My thought process was less is more. In my old bench I used several all the time, the others never. You can easily add more at a later date if needed.

The first row are inline with the planing stop. I own a Veritas surface vice which is pretty useful so this will work well here too. These are spaced evenly but I made sure with a story stick I wouldn't hit a bearer. There are seven of these.

The second plank has four. These fall between the middle of the front row. The holdfasts should provide cover for all of the main working areas, they also mean when doing heavy things like morticing I'm always working over a supported section.

I've ignored the back plank completely. The middle plank can also allow me to use a Doe's Foot (Feet?) when planing. Anything in front of and to the left of the vice is free from dog holes.

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The front apron dog holes were a similar setup. Less is more.

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I went with the traditional "wave" pattern. The vertical holes run down the side of a bearer, while the diagonal holes work up. The upper holes are level with the vice guides so I can have boards level across the benchtop when resting in the vice.

The other holes are useful for holdfasts. I have a wooden door project in the summer so this setup will be great. I found they're also useful for holding boards vertically in addition to the vice.

The last thing I did today was just route a small chamfer over all of them to prevent breakout.

I mentioned it previously but the auger bit that comes for free with the Simon James holdfasts is brilliant. Cuts a really clean hole in a matter of seconds when used with a power drill.

Goal for tomorrow is to replace the planing brace. The piece is glued and marked up, ready for the joinery. With the template (cock up piece) I'm hoping this replacement is a quick thing to sort.
 
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Just a minor update today. So I rebuilt the planing brace though there was one difference. I didn't have enough of the planing stop material left, so it wasn't as thick as the original.

I could have laminated some scrap together and thicknessed this but after a test it seemed to work fine. The obvious difference is the upper part of the brace is set about 10mm back. When dry fit and clamped it seemed plenty strong so I went with it. In hindsight I'd probably have preferred this to be fully flush - but it looks ok. Once glued and nailed it was done.

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Today was loads of little jobs that needed completing. Routing the feet, a final sanding at 80 grit and a wipe down. The rear of the bench was flushed even though it won't be seen it seemed wrong to leave it. I also popped a chamfer on the top as I plan on using this as in/out feed for my MFT. I also filled the holes left by the first vice install - I cut a shallow rebate using my multi-tool and glued some scrap pieces in. These aren't structural or anything, just simply filling the voids so the vice lining sticks flush.

I sadly didn't get to finish this project today - I'm waiting for my vice lining to arrive and need to pick up some more Danish Oil. My next session should see this finally done.

The remainder of today was cleaning up the workshop ready for finishing.
 
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Looking good.
Boiled linseed oil was the traditional finish for those benches. Quicker to get a few coats on. Easy to touch up later and the working surface will be less slippery than a DO surface.
Regards
John
 
Looking good.
Boiled linseed oil was the traditional finish for those benches. Quicker to get a few coats on. Easy to touch up later and the working surface will be less slippery than a DO surface.
Regards
John

That's a fair point. I did look at BLO as a finish but I've never used it before. Screwfix has some in - so could be worth a punt?

Your point about multi coats is a good one though. Getting this done in one day would be great.

How does it fair with popping off glue drops/spills? That's the only reason I'm applying a finish at all. DO was handy as I had a bit and it's one of my go to finishes - but tempted to try BLO now.
 
I built this particular bench following the same series and used the suggested blo/turps in the series, it worked well.
 
As jvc26 says first coat thinned down a bit with turps. I brush on the first coat. Let it soak in about 15mins or so then wipe it off with a rag or paper towel as dry as you can. After an hour or so give it a second coat full strength, wiped on then after 15mins or so wipe off again. Should be good to work on next day. Will help things dry if your shed is warm. I still remember UK winters. In ten years I have scraped off the top of my bench a couple of times with a card scraper and then just a wipe over with more oil. Blobs of glue and paint really dont stick to it and you simply scrape off when the beads when they dry.
Regards
John
 
You don't really need any finish - it would serve no purpose.
 
Just a minor update today. So I rebuilt the planing brace though there was one difference. I didn't have enough of the planing stop material left, so it wasn't as thick as the original.

I could have laminated some scrap together and thicknessed this but after a test it seemed to work fine. The obvious difference is the upper part of the brace is set about 10mm back. When dry fit and clamped it seemed plenty strong so I went with it. In hindsight I'd probably have preferred this to be fully flush - but it looks ok. Once glued and nailed it was done.

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Today was loads of little jobs that needed completing. Routing the feet, a final sanding at 80 grit and a wipe down. The rear of the bench was flushed even though it won't be seen it seemed wrong to leave it. I also popped a chamfer on the top as I plan on using this as in/out feed for my MFT. I also filled the holes left by the first vice install - I cut a shallow rebate using my multi-tool and glued some scrap pieces in. These aren't structural or anything, just simply filling the voids so the vice lining sticks flush.

I sadly didn't get to finish this project today - I'm waiting for my vice lining to arrive and need to pick up some more Danish Oil. My next session should see this finally done.

The remainder of today was cleaning up the workshop ready for finishing.
Great thread. Thank you! I'm also building Richard Maguire's workbench so lots of valuable lessons here. I'm currently at notching my aprons for the trestles.
 
Bit of delay with the update due to a holiday break, but the vice was next up.

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I can't find the thread now - but it was here and I'm sure it was @thetyreman (correct me if I'm wrong) that suggested this - nitrile bonded cork sheet. I needed 4 sheets but this was really cheap - £20 or something for the chop and bench delivered. In contrast the Benchcrafted Crubber is stupidly priced for a fraction of the size, and then I would have needed 3 more sheets!

I did look at trying to use a chamois leather which I've seen online in a few places but the ones I had were far too thin. This cork is 1.5mm. Jury is out on how it will last but I only stuck it on with double sided carpet tape, so it can be removed if it fails.

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I was on the fence about sticking to the bench itself as it does mean there is a 1.5mm gap, but it kinda compresses plus I see a lot of benches online that do this so I'm trying it out. Can easily be removed if it causes issues.

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The cork was left oversize and then cut flushed with a marking knife. The same for the holes. Having tested this it works great - really grippy. I can almost move the bench when clamping a piece.
 
I did go with BLO in the end. First coat was thinned with some white spirit. Second and third coat went on pure.

The weather was pretty chilly during this period so it took a few days to properly dry. While it was touch dry very quickly - a few days after the fact it feels dry if that makes sense.

Not slippy or anything and I'm glad I went this route. The only thing I had to do was slightly sand where the carpet tape was to stick in order to glue the vice lining on.

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So that's where I am as of now. I spent this afternoon just getting everything moved about. There's plenty of storage underneath for sustainers and toolboxes. Another nice thing is I can hide my dust extractor under the left overhang. This is a great use of dead space.
 
As for what is left - I still need to create some proper shims for the floor. You can probably see in a few photos there is a slope to the right of the bench from the old car port. It will most likely be early next year when this project starts but I plan to board over the floor. Once level I'll trim the legs to final height and correct the slight twist that was introduced when the apron was clamped. I've just been using some scrap so before I fully use the bench these will get replaced.

The next improvements would be a new MFT that is the same height to the left of the bench - the outfeed will be nice. I also plan to attach a tool well to the wall as well as board this out for other tool storage/hanging.

I also need to dismantle my old bench to make way for a new table saw/morticer that the wife doesn't know about yet.

Overall I'm pretty happy. It's the start of March now so this has been a long time in the making but I've only had a few hours each Saturday, not to mention three weeks where nothing happened.

The choice of wood was mixed. I'm happy with the cost and the use of PAR had some benefits, but the apron was problematic. In hindsight I'd probably have opted for rough sawn here, that I could bring down to thickness like Richard does in the videos. This would have solved the slight twist I ended up with. As I had a fixed dimension I couldn't thickness anything. On the other hand once the frame was built - the top went on really quickly.

In terms of projects I plan on a few quick/small builds over the next few weeks. I do have a few larger builds coming up - a wooden door and a king size bed, so the bench should get a good workout over the coming months.

Can't recommend Richard's videos enough (they're the first woodworking video's I've ever paid for) and the bench itself is flat, rock solid and looks pretty nice.

Thanks for reading if you got this far. I'll pop an update in and the end of the year to report back on how it's performing.

Cheers
 
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