Portable (bench-top) Workbench

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Dr Al

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The feet/jaw assemblies look okay having come out of the clamps (although I won't know whether everything is aligned properly until I'm quite a bit further on, so I'm just having to hope for the best for now).

feet_out_of_clamps_800.jpg


With the clamps all removed, I could put a bit more epoxy into the fixed jaw for the dual-screw vice:

epoxy_for_dual_screw_bushes_800.jpg


The screw bushes for that vice could then be fitted and clamped in place:

clamped_800.jpg


The vice mechanism body for the standard vice could be fitted at this point. The other vice mechanism bodies will have to be fitted when the whole workbench is assembled as they need to be slid into place along the threaded rod: there's no access to the top of the body once the vice mechanism is fitted and hence there's no way to drop the hinged nut assembly into place. It'll be much more awkward, but all being well will only need to be done once!

standard_vice_mechanism_fitted_800.jpg


I then decided to bite the proverbial bullet and fit the rails. In my mind this is the most scary bit as the movement of these rails in their bushes will either make the vice lovely and smooth to use or it will make it jam up and be next to impossible to use. I genuinely have no idea what I'll do if the latter is true!

I started by clamping the foot down to the workbench and fitting the rails into the rail bushes. I then slid the moving vice jaw on for a test fit:

fitting_rails_800.jpg


Then I took a deep breath, plonked a load of Araldite in the bottom of the holes for the rails and then clamped everything together. I used the wooden rails that support the table top as spacers between the moving and fixed jaw: they're the same size as each other so will keep the two jaws parallel while giving some clearance just in case there's any Araldite squeeze-out.

rails_epoxied_and_clamped_800.jpg
 

Dr Al

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With all that epoxy setting, there isn't much I can do for the rest of today, but I thought I'd get on with one little outstanding job that could be done without touching any of the epoxied pieces: sorting out the bore in the spherical seating washers I bought.

There isn't much material to hold on to in the lathe, so I decided this was a job for my home-made soft jaws (made out of some hex bar stock I bought on ebay a while ago). Brass is an odd material for soft jaws, but when I was looking for some very large hex stock, there was a local ebay seller selling a bit off and it was cheaper than buying a length of steel from a steel supplier.

I started by clamping a bit of scrap in the soft jaws. The diameter of the scrap was chosen to minimise the amount I had to take off the soft jaws (to prolong their life).

soft_jaws_scrap_clamped_800.jpg


With the jaws firmly clamped I could then machine a recess of the same diameter as the washer.

soft_jaws_recess_machined_800.jpg


The washer then sits against the back of the recess and is held firmly on the perimeter:

soft_jaws_holding_washer_800.jpg


Machining the bore was straightforward as I wasn't aiming for a very precise fit: it just had to slide over the flanged part that sits on the threaded rod.

soft_jaws_machined_bore_of_washer_800.jpg


While I had the soft jaws fitted and set to the right diameter, I decided to mount the convex washers and machine the face. They had a slightly rough finish and I figured it would mar the brass slotted bushes quite quickly without touching up.

soft_jaws_facing_washer_800.jpg


On the first one I did I made two mistakes: I started the facing cut with the cutter very close to the piece and I forgot to switch the power feed from turning to facing. As a result, I took a light cut on the outside bore. I usually keep the cutter a little way away from the cut - that way if I have the power feed going the wrong way it just passes by the outside of the part. I was more careful on the second one!

You can see the result of my mistake on the right-hand most piece in this picture of all four pieces:

washers_faced_and_bored_800.jpg


The parts then got a dunking in cold blue for a few minutes before rinsing in water.

washers_cold_blue_800.jpg


The finished result after a quick air line dry and before coating with oil and leaving alone for the coating to harden.

washers_blued_800.jpg


The cold blue has hidden most of the evidence of my earlier mistake: you can still see it if you're looking for it but it's far less obvious now.

At the moment I can't think of anything else I can do on this until the epoxy has fully cured (14 hours according to the packet), so that's probably it for the day.
 

Dr Al

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The problem with having nothing to do on the project while the glue dry is it gets me thinking.

I've decided to make a small (but awkward now that it's glued together) change to the design. I'm going to shorten the feet. At the moment, they stick out about 75 mm on each side of the body. I'm going to trim that down to 60 mm (or a little under). It'll still provide plenty of clamping area I think but will make the overall width of the workbench a little smaller (500 mm rather than 530 mm).

Updated CAD model:

cad_model_with_shortened_legs_800.jpg


The reason I want to do this is that I plan to keep the workbench on top of the table saw when not in use (and probably will also use it while it's on the table saw). At the moment the space on top of the table saw is occupied by my cross-cut sled. What hadn't occurred to me before now is that the depth of the cross-cut sled is 500 mm, so if the bench is that size or less, it'll fit neatly on the sled. If it's wider than that, I'll have to find a new home for the sled and I can't think of where that might be!

Cutting the feet shorter will be very straightforward I think: either with a hand saw or with the table saw and the cross-cut sled. What's going to be difficult is re-rounding over the edges. With the fixed jaws in place, the only way I'll be able to get the router to the end of the feet will be end on, but the surface area is far too small. Hopefully I'll be able to rig something up so that the foot (and it's attached jaw) is clamped to something firmly, but also have a raised work surface around the foot end to support the router base. Something to think about tomorrow anyway.

While I was out there pondering, I also decided that I'll probably screw the support rails into the feet and fixed jaws. I'd initially planned to glue them (and I still will), but I'd been considering dowels and such like. I think all that is too much faff for little benefit, so I'll cover the area in glue, plonk the vice rail in place and screw it down to both the foot and the fixed jaw. The screws will be hidden by the bench top. I've marked up where the holes will go, but I'll drill out the clearance holes, pilot holes and countersinks later:

support_rails_marked_up_for_holes_800.jpg
 

Dr Al

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I went out this morning and marked up where I was going to cut the feet off to shorten them a little. I decided to go for 20 mm shortening rather than 15 mm as it looked like plenty. I marked all four feet with some pencil lines around three sides, then clamped one of the parts to the bench:

clamped_for_sawing_in_the_wrong_place_800.jpg


I then started sawing. This is how far I got before I realised I'm a moron:

started_sawing_800.jpg


This is where the line should have been:

where_the_line_should_have_been_800.jpg


I marked up three of them correctly and one of them completely wrong and in my morning groggy state, I didn't notice that one looked completely different to the others and, of course, started with that one.

After playing around with a hastily made test piece, I decided to fix it in a similar way to my earlier non-concentric hole. I dug out an offcut of walnut from my drawer and cut it into pieces (with extras as spares just in case):

walnut_insert_pieces_800.jpg


I decided to use the table saw to do all the cutting as I can set-up the stop on the cross-cut sled and ensure consistency (i.e. stop myself from being a moron twice in one day!). It was a bit awkward as the foot is a lot wider than the support area for the sled, but there's enough of a flat area that I can get it sitting flat on the sled and then clamp it in place. I had to use the stop in one position for the one side of each foot...

trimming_left_foot_800.jpg


... and in another position for the other side of each foot:

trimming_right_foot_800.jpg


I then used my kerfmaker thing to cut the grooves. As I was feeling paranoid and in case of small differences in the walnut thickness, I re-set the kerfmaker for each walnut piece and also did a test cut in a piece of scrap for each walnut piece.

cutting_groove_800.jpg


My baby router plane is too big to fit into this slot (it's about 6 mm wide), so I used my 3 mm chisel to square up the bottom of the cut (I actually cut it a bit concave as that was safer than cutting it convex). I checked the walnut pieces sat properly against the two edges (front and back) and then glued and clamped them into place.

walnut_in_and_drying_800.jpg


Once the glue had been left for long enough to be thoroughly dry (and I'd enjoyed sometime sitting in the sun in the garden), I went and had a look at the feet. I decided I wasn't going to take any risks, so I wrapped three layers of masking tape around the end of the feet and used my flush cutting saw to cut the walnut flush to the masking tape (this avoided any chance of undercutting).

flush_cutting_walnut_inserts_800.jpg


I then attacked it with some 120 grit sandpaper until it looked right:

sanded_walnut_insert_800.jpg
 

Dr Al

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Earlier in the day, while I was having a break from touching any real parts in case I did anything stupid again, I decided to make up a few jaw test pieces to help me choose a finish for the bench.

test_vice_jaw_test_pieces_800.jpg


Two of them are going to be left as-is, two will get coated with boiled linseed oil, one will get some leather stuck to it and one will be a spare. The holes are counterbored for M8 cap screws for attachment to my bench vice - the current jaws are attached with countersunk screws but I've got a LOT more cap screws than countersunk screws, so this gives me more options for length (and they're only for testing). The plan is to attach these to the bench vice and do some strength testing comparing:

  • Unfinished jaws
  • Jaws coated in boiled linseed oil
  • Fixed jaw unfinished and moving jaw covered in leather
  • Fixed jaw coated in boiled linseed oil and moving jaw covered in leather

The instructions on my internet-bought bottle of boiled linseed oil are a little opaque for someone linguistically challenged like me:

blo_instructions_800.jpg


So I just daubed it on with a paintbrush and kept adding more over about half-an-hour wherever there were bits looking dry.

test_vice_jaw_applied_blo_800.jpg


I then wiped off the excess and I'll leave that until tomorrow. Hopefully one coat will be enough for the purposes of this test.

test_vice_jaw_wiped_off_blo_800.jpg


For the leather coated jaw, I hand-stretched the leather along the bench, using some offcuts of wood and some clamps to hold it in place. I then slid a bit of greaseproof paper underneath to protect the bench:

test_vice_jaw_applying_leather_prep_800.jpg


After applying contact adhesive with a filling knife over both pieces and leaving for five minutes or so, I pressed the beech jaw onto the leather and then transferred it to the vice for an extra squeeze.

test_vice_jaw_clamping_leather_800.jpg


After a couple of minutes of squeezing, it came out of the vice.

test_vice_jaw_ready_to_trim_800.jpg


A bit of the contact adhesive has bled around the edges, so I'll have to be more careful on the final piece if I go this way.

test_vice_jaw_some_bleed_round_800.jpg


I trimmed the edge off (which got rid of most, but not all, of the contact adhesive that had bled round) and opened up the holes.

test_vice_jaw_leather_jaw_finished_800.jpg


I'll do some (probably not very scientific) tests with these bits tomorrow once the linseed oil has had time to dry.
 

Dr Al

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I started today by doing some test assemblies. I put each of the vices together separately and played around with them a lot. They work really well!

I then slid the two assemblies together with the screws of the dual-screw vice running in the rails of the standard vice. In this configuration, the friction was massively increased (and I hadn't even fitted the stretcher bar) and I had to have the vices clamped to the bench to slide the standard vice in and out with the quick-release mechanism released (otherwise pulling on the vice jaw just moved the whole bench).

I decided I wasn't happy about this so that necessitated a change of plan! The original idea was that the rails would support the screws as they move, but with 20 mm threaded rod, it really isn't necessary. The holes in the tube I used are a fairly close fit on the threaded rod, so any slight misalignment of the two ends of the vice means it all gets a bit jammed up.

So, onto plan B: make the holes in the tubes a bit bigger. First I had to remove the rails from the moving jaw as I'd epoxied them in. That was quite straightforward: grip them in an ER40 30 mm collet and give them a quick twist:

removing_rails_800.jpg


I then dug around in my big drill drawer to find a 22 mm drill bit. It's not quite long enough...

22mm_drill_bit_length_800.jpg


I've got a cheap old set of blacksmith's drills with a 12.7 mm (1/2") shank. I got a piece of 20 mm EN8 out of a drawer and drilled the end out 12.7 mm.

en8_drilled_out_127_800.jpg


I then went with a belt-and-braces approach as I really don't want this to come loose while it's binding a bit deep in a tube, so I glued it into the hole with Loctite 603 and then cross-drilled.

cross_drilling_22mm_drill_bit_800.jpg


I then banged in a (shortened with a Dremel) roll-pin.

roll_pin_22mm_800.jpg


I started by drilling out from each end with my Morse taper 22 mm drill bit. Since the bore is going to be 2 mm wider than the threaded rod that goes into it, I (thankfully) don't have to worry about this being pretty.

drilling_out_22mm_1_800.jpg


I went in as far as I could from both ends and then fitted my super-long drill bit in a collet chuck in the tail stock:

drilling_out_22mm_2_800.jpg


As the flutes of the blacksmith's drill are so short, I had to withdraw the drill after every couple of millimetres, but I got there in the end.

At one point in each of the two rails, the Morse taper drill be bound, resulting in the part spinning in the chuck. It was easy enough to free it up, but it left some grooves in the rails:

chuck_grooves_800.jpg


I cleaned these up with emery cloth so that the rails still slide freely in the bushes.

cleaned_up_with_emery_800.jpg


I don't think it's a problem really - that bit of the rail is only in the bush when the vice is opened to about 200 mm (which won't happen often, or possibly ever) and I can't feel any difference in the rail movement: the bit that's been emery-clothed is much shorter than the length of the rail bush.

While I was drilling the rails, I also did the stretcher bar. I then drilled the stretcher bar out to 25 mm from each end. There's a little bit (about 10 mm) in the middle where the 25 mm drill bit didn't reach, but I just drilled that out to 22 mm with my long drill bit as it didn't seem worth making a long 25 mm drill bit, especially since I don't think my blacksmith's drill set goes that big. The main reason I went further with the stretcher bar than the rails was just that it doesn't do much and I figured it would save a little weight!
 

Dr Al

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With all the rails adjusted again, I decided it was time to go for the big assemble! I started by gluing the stretcher bar flange onto the bar using Loctite 603.

flange_glued_in_place_on_stretcher_800.jpg


I then clamped both ends of the bench to my workbench to make sure the feet were sitting flat and level. For the front feet, this was easy. For one of the back feet I used a hold-down clamp through one of the dog holes in my bench. I've only got one hold-down clamp (another one is now on order!) so I had to improvise for the other clamp by fixing one of my dog-hole fillers to the bench from underneath and then using a milling clamp.

The original plan (and the reason for the very wide feet) was that the feet would all lie over holes in my bench (which would give me options like having holes through the feet and clamping down that way), but that's not possible with the shortened feet, so I'll just use hold-down clamps, which will do the job just fine.

clamped_to_bench_ready_for_gluing_800.jpg


Next job was to fill the three 30 mm holes with lots of epoxy. I then removed the vice mechanism from the standard vice & fitted the stretcher bar. I could then slide the vice mechanism back into place and align the stretcher bar so that the flange could be screwed to the vice mechanism. Getting the last screw into the vice mechanism was an interesting endeavour with the extra jam bar in place, but I got there in the end.

stretcher_bar_and_moving_jaw_araldited_800.jpg


Next I slid the rails out and covered the bit where they touch in glue:

glue_for_rails_800.jpg


I then fitted the rails, clamped them in place sideways and used a combined pilot drill and countersink followed by a 5 mm clearance drill to prepare the holes for fixing the rails with 60 mm long 5 mm screws.

pilot_drill_and_clearance_for_rails_800.jpg


It's all looking very permanent:

glued_and_screwed_rails_800.jpg


A quick test fit of the top to make sure I hadn't done anything stupid:

test_fit_of_top_after_gluing_rails_800.jpg


The area where the dual-screw vice foot meets the rails struck me as a little weak. The buttons will be grabbing onto this to hold the top on, but this didn't look especially strong:

space_getting_reinforced_800.jpg


I had an offcut of beech that was (surprisingly) the right thickness, so I got the Ryoba out and cut a few little triangles:

beech_triangles_800.jpg


I then covered them and the slot in glue and banged them into place. Hopefully that will help keep the rail and the foot together a bit better:

beech_triangles_fitted_800.jpg


I did all four corners because, well, why not?
 

Dr Al

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Final job of the day was to do some tests on the vice jaws I made.

I fitted each configuration in turn and used the same bit of oak as a test bar:

jaw_tester_bar_800.jpg


With the test bar mounted at the top of the vice, I turned the vice screw until it just held the bar in place, then tried 1/8 turn, 1/4 turn and as tight as I would normally tighten the vice (highly subjective that one) and tried yanking the end of the bar up and down. The results were surprisingly clear, although the linseed oil did leave some marks on the oak, so it obviously hadn't fully dried yet.

Best of the test was leather on the moving jaw and unfinished fixed jaw. I did have to tighten this more than the non-leather tests, but I don't think that's a fair comparison as the leather compresses and hence it was very easy to tighten the vice further than I could tighten the non-leather ones. At a "reasonable vice tightening", it was far more rigid than the non-leather ones.

Second best was leather on the moving jaw and linseed oil on the fixed jaw. There wasn't much difference to be honest, but I could just about get some movement here when I really wrenched the bar.

Third was unfinished/unfinished. Once it reached 1/4 turn beyond just-gripping, it took a lot of force to move it, but it definitely didn't hold as well as the leather ones.

Last by quite a long way was linseed oil/linseed oil. I had to get this really tight before it felt like it was well held and even then I could move it. I might try this again in a day or two after the oil has had more time to dry.
 

Orraloon

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I went out this morning and marked up where I was going to cut the feet off to shorten them a little. I decided to go for 20 mm shortening rather than 15 mm as it looked like plenty. I marked all four feet with some pencil lines around three sides, then clamped one of the parts to the bench:

clamped_for_sawing_in_the_wrong_place_800.jpg


I then started sawing. This is how far I got before I realised I'm a moron:

started_sawing_800.jpg


This is where the line should have been:

where_the_line_should_have_been_800.jpg


I marked up three of them correctly and one of them completely wrong and in my morning groggy state, I didn't notice that one looked completely different to the others and, of course, started with that one.

After playing around with a hastily made test piece, I decided to fix it in a similar way to my earlier non-concentric hole. I dug out an offcut of walnut from my drawer and cut it into pieces (with extras as spares just in case):

walnut_insert_pieces_800.jpg


I decided to use the table saw to do all the cutting as I can set-up the stop on the cross-cut sled and ensure consistency (i.e. stop myself from being a moron twice in one day!). It was a bit awkward as the foot is a lot wider than the support area for the sled, but there's enough of a flat area that I can get it sitting flat on the sled and then clamp it in place. I had to use the stop in one position for the one side of each foot...

trimming_left_foot_800.jpg


... and in another position for the other side of each foot:

trimming_right_foot_800.jpg


I then used my kerfmaker thing to cut the grooves. As I was feeling paranoid and in case of small differences in the walnut thickness, I re-set the kerfmaker for each walnut piece and also did a test cut in a piece of scrap for each walnut piece.

cutting_groove_800.jpg


My baby router plane is too big to fit into this slot (it's about 6 mm wide), so I used my 3 mm chisel to square up the bottom of the cut (I actually cut it a bit concave as that was safer than cutting it convex). I checked the walnut pieces sat properly against the two edges (front and back) and then glued and clamped them into place.

walnut_in_and_drying_800.jpg


Once the glue had been left for long enough to be thoroughly dry (and I'd enjoyed sometime sitting in the sun in the garden), I went and had a look at the feet. I decided I wasn't going to take any risks, so I wrapped three layers of masking tape around the end of the feet and used my flush cutting saw to cut the walnut flush to the masking tape (this avoided any chance of undercutting).

flush_cutting_walnut_inserts_800.jpg


I then attacked it with some 120 grit sandpaper until it looked right:

sanded_walnut_insert_800.jpg
Very nice save.
Regards
John
 

Dr Al

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Yesterday the postman delivered a 22 mm Forstner bit, so I started today by drilling the clearance holes for the dogs. I clamped a bit of scrap (cut to length using the vice in this bench!) in the vice mechanism "pocket" and used the Forstner bit in my cordless drill to drill to a depth of about 30 mm to give plenty of space for dogs.

drilling_clearance_holes_with_clamped_offcut_800.jpg


All the holes drilled:

all_clearance_holes_drilled_800.jpg


Here it is after the vacuum cleaner had done its stuff:

clearance_holes_after_tidying_up_800.jpg


With those holes drilled, I could fit the vice mechanisms for the dual-screw vice. This was a bit of an ordeal, but I got there in the end. I started by pulling the two vice jaws out so that there was some space between the dual-screw vice's thread and the standard vice's rail:

preparing_to_fit_dual_screw_mechanism_800.jpg


With the screws pushed into their countersunk holes, the mechanism body was then pushed onto the threaded rod & the hinged nut fitted over the threaded rod at the same time.

dual_screw_mechanism_ready_for_lid_800.jpg


The lid was then fitted and from there it was a case of much fiddling to get the Torx driver onto the screws and get all the screws into their pilot holes. It was much easier on the second mechanism once I'd figured out a good way of doing it. Having assembled it all the first time, one of the screws wasn't tightening consistently so I had to take it apart again. Thankfully it was just a bit of epoxy squeeze-out that had settled on the outside of the tube part of the hinged nut and that was easily scraped off.

If I were to do this again (which I can guarantee I won't!), I'd get rid of the "wings" on the top of the dual-screw vice end foot so that I could access the top of the vice mechanism. I don't think it's necessary (and you'll see later that I didn't put buttons in that section) and it would have meant I could put the lid on after fitting the mechanism body and hence see what I was doing when tightening the screws.

all_mechanisms_fitted_800.jpg
 

Dr Al

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Next up was the buttons to attach the top. I flipped the whole thing over and spread some buttons around the rim. I went with twelve buttons in the end, which is almost certainly excessive, but I intend to clamp things to the top and I wanted to be sure it was very firmly attached.

buttons_placed_800.jpg


With the buttons spaced roughly, I used a 2 mm Allen key as a spacer to make sure there was room for movement of the top and used a punch to mark the locations of the holes:

spacing_button_with_allen_key_800.jpg


As I was marking the hole locations, I also put a pencil cross on each one just to be sure I would drill pilot holes in the right places:

holes_marked_for_buttons_800.jpg


I was feeling paranoid about drilling the pilot holes too deep, so rather than relying on a masking tape "flag", I set the depth stop on the drill press and drilled all the holes there:

drill_press_for_button_holes_800.jpg


It was probably quicker that way to be honest: once it was set up, the holes were drilled really quickly as I didn't have to think about depth.

button_holes_drilled_800.jpg


With that all done, the buttons could be fitted and the top is now attached:

buttons_fitted_800.jpg


This feels like a major landmark to me. I've still got to decide on a finish and then apply it and finally fit leather to the moving jaws, but it's essentially complete and entirely usable.

top_in_place_1_800.jpg


top_in_place_2_800.jpg


top_in_place_3_800.jpg


The dovetail guide thing fits really well in its slot in the dual-screw vice fixed jaw, but is too loose in its parking place in the side, so I'll probably add a sliver of something into that pocket to tighten it up.

Before committing to a finish, I decided to go back and do some more tests. The linseed oil test jaw has now had a couple of extra days of drying time and last night I coated the unfinished fixed jaw with Danish Oil to give me another test piece to play with (I'll stick with the leather coated moving jaw as that seems to work really well). I wanted to do the test with the same piece of oak I'd used for testing the first time round. However, last night I did a big reorganise of all of my wood to make it much more accessible - the ends of all the pieces are now visible so I stand a better chance of getting to any given piece. In doing that, I seem to have misplaced the one piece of oak I need so I need to do some hunting around now to figure out where on earth I put it!
 

Dr Al

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Before sanding and oiling, I remembered that I needed to drill some more holes, so I (very carefully) added the dog holes to both moving jaws and chamfered them. I did a lot of test chamfers in bits of scrap to be sure I was getting the chamfer depth just right to match the existing ones!

dog_holes_in_jaws_drilled_800.jpg


That allowed me to do a quick test of clamping long stuff. In practice, I doubt I'll clamp anything this long as the clamped wood is likely to bow a bit under the clamping pressure, but it worked and that's quite satisfying. The stock in this photo is one metre long; maximum realistic length is a little under 1.2 metres, but I didn't have anything of about the right length and it seemed a bit daft to cut something up for the purposes of a test!

test_clamping_1m_stock_800.jpg


I'd be surprised if I ever use it in this configuration (with both jaws open), but my existing vice gets used with dogs in the vice and the bench all the time (usually with a bit of wood mounted on the dogs to protect the clamped wood), so I do expect to use it with one of the vice jaws open and the dogs fitted.
 

Dr Al

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What software do you use for the CAD?

The images in this are from a piece of software called ZW3D Lite. In general I use a mixture of things depending on what I'm doing, but mainly Onshape, ZW3D Lite and CADQuery.

I bought ZW3D Lite as it allows me to do stuff that isn't public, which I occasionally need to, although it's not quite as good as Onshape. When I was looking at choosing CAD software, I spent 3 months trialling lots of different options including Fusion (which is good, but nowhere near as good as Onshape) and Alibre Atom 3D (which is rubbish). There's a long post I wrote about it here: 3D design software and here: 3D design software

My usual recommendation for anyone thinking of getting started in 3D CAD is Onshape as first choice, then probably Fusion 360 as second choice, although FreeCAD is getting better and better (and is less risky than Fusion 360 with their history of making free licences more and more restrictive).
 

Dr Al

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This afternoon I got on with the last few jobs before oiling. I thought it best to take everything apart (that will come apart) before oiling and to make re-assembly easier, I decided to drill two more small (6 mm to suit the head of an M3 cap screw) holes in the body:

screw_access_holes_800.jpg


These were carefully positioned over the screws for the lids of the vice mechanisms. When I'm re-fitting the vice mechanisms after oiling, I will be able to do so with the lids removed and then fit the lids afterwards by offering the screw up with some tweezers and putting the Allen key through the new hole:

screw_access_hole_with_allen_key_in_800.jpg


That should make it much easier to fit the mechanism as I'll be able to see what's going on!

I also decided to fill a knot in the top surface with some five minute epoxy. This is the knot before:

knot_in_top_800.jpg


This is it daubed with epoxy:

epoxied_knot_800.jpg


This is it after chiselling off the excess and then sanding flat:

sanded_epoxied_knot_800.jpg
 

Dr Al

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With the knot filled there was nothing for it but to get on with applying Danish Oil to all the beech parts. I sanded everything again to 120 grit, masked the inside faces of the moving jaws with masking tape (along with some masking tape on the outside of the holes that go through to the inside faces to prevent drip-through) and then laid out all the parts on some greaseproof paper on every available surface:

greaseproof_and_laid_out_parts_800.jpg


The body is held up at one end on a V-block on a piece of wood; the other end is sitting on some paint points on the underside of the cut-out of the foot:

body_on_v_block_800.jpg


The moving jaw for the dual-screw vice is simply sitting on a block of wood (masking tape side down); the moving jaw for the standard vice was raised off the bench using a couple of V-blocks and a clamp (bearing down on a third V-block positioned upside-down):

moving_jaws_on_vblock_and_wood_lump_800.jpg


The top is sitting on top of my cross-cut sled on the table saw, on some paint points. This is what it looks like after the first coat:

first_coat_top_800.jpg


Here's the body and jaws after the first coat. Despite laying out the dovetail alignment thing for oiling, I completely forgot to do so and can't be bothered right now, so I'll do that when I do the second coat tomorrow.

first_coat_jaws_and_body_800.jpg


There are some areas where I obviously didn't sand enough to get rid of all the glue squeeze-out, but they're very minor so I'll sort them out before doing the second coat. I was expecting some issues but applying the first coat of oil is the easiest way to be sure of spotting them! I sometimes squirt wood with some water to look for blemishes, but it doesn't catch as much as the oil will.

The walnut insert on the moving jaw for the standard vice looks lovely in my opinion:

first_coat_jaw_close_up_800.jpg
 

Dr Al

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I started this morning by sanding the areas where there was evidence of glue squeeze-out and then giving everything a once over with some grey Scotchbrite before doing another coat of Danish Oil (including the dovetail guide this time).

Once that was done, there wasn't much more that could be done in the woodworking end of the garage, so I had a go at making some leather punches. I'm going to cover the entirety of the inside face of the moving jaws with leather and that means the leather needs holes for the various tubes and screws that go through the face. I didn't fancy my chances of manually cutting round holes, so I thought I'd have a go at home-made punches.

I decided I couldn't be bothered with the idea of hardening steel as they would only be used once. That meant that making the punches was quick and fairly simple - I put the stock in the chuck (I used an offcut of the tube for the tube holes and some bits of 303 that I'd got out of a skip for the others) and set the top-slide at 25°. I drilled a central hole (in the 303: the tube obviously didn't need one) to give access for the boring bar and then just hacked a bit out until it had a sharp edge.

turning_leather_punches_800.jpg


After making a test punch and doing some trials, the test punch cut well on the first attempt but (being unhardened) got a bit mashed in the process and hence made a ragged cut on the second attempt. As the punches were taking me about 5 minutes to make per punch, I just decided to make seven of them (two are double-ended, hence it looking like there are only five!) - one punch per hole:

leather_punches_800.jpg


You can see the two test cuts I did on the scrap of leather in the bottom-left: the one on the right is the second cut with the punch and is much more ragged.

The 25 mm ones are double-ended (so I get four cuts out of the two punches) to save material, so I also turned the little block on the left that will give me something to hit without damaging the upper cutting edge. They'll be used for each end of the holes over the slotted bushes and I'll sort the edge out with a chisel. The two 30 mm ones made out of tube are very different lengths as I cut a small piece off, made it into a punch and then used what was left to make the second punch. These will be used for the rail holes. The big one is 50.8 mm (2") as I had a lump of 303 in that size (from a skip) and it'll give clearance for the 50 mm rotating bush that will sit in this hole.

The rest of today is probably going to be waiting for the Danish Oil to dry, so I'm going to get on with some motorcycle maintenance in the meantime!
 

David bonner

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Earlier in the day, while I was having a break from touching any real parts in case I did anything stupid again, I decided to make up a few jaw test pieces to help me choose a finish for the bench.

test_vice_jaw_test_pieces_800.jpg


Two of them are going to be left as-is, two will get coated with boiled linseed oil, one will get some leather stuck to it and one will be a spare. The holes are counterbored for M8 cap screws for attachment to my bench vice - the current jaws are attached with countersunk screws but I've got a LOT more cap screws than countersunk screws, so this gives me more options for length (and they're only for testing). The plan is to attach these to the bench vice and do some strength testing comparing:

  • Unfinished jaws
  • Jaws coated in boiled linseed oil
  • Fixed jaw unfinished and moving jaw covered in leather
  • Fixed jaw coated in boiled linseed oil and moving jaw covered in leather

The instructions on my internet-bought bottle of boiled linseed oil are a little opaque for someone linguistically challenged like me:

blo_instructions_800.jpg


So I just daubed it on with a paintbrush and kept adding more over about half-an-hour wherever there were bits looking dry.

test_vice_jaw_applied_blo_800.jpg


I then wiped off the excess and I'll leave that until tomorrow. Hopefully one coat will be enough for the purposes of this test.

test_vice_jaw_wiped_off_blo_800.jpg


For the leather coated jaw, I hand-stretched the leather along the bench, using some offcuts of wood and some clamps to hold it in place. I then slid a bit of greaseproof paper underneath to protect the bench:

test_vice_jaw_applying_leather_prep_800.jpg


After applying contact adhesive with a filling knife over both pieces and leaving for five minutes or so, I pressed the beech jaw onto the leather and then transferred it to the vice for an extra squeeze.

test_vice_jaw_clamping_leather_800.jpg


After a couple of minutes of squeezing, it came out of the vice.

test_vice_jaw_ready_to_trim_800.jpg


A bit of the contact adhesive has bled around the edges, so I'll have to be more careful on the final piece if I go this way.

test_vice_jaw_some_bleed_round_800.jpg


I trimmed the edge off (which got rid of most, but not all, of the contact adhesive that had bled round) and opened up the holes.

test_vice_jaw_leather_jaw_finished_800.jpg


I'll do some (probably not very scientific) tests with these bits tomorrow once the linseed oil has had time to dry.
I hope that the workbench gets done and put back together then.😇
 
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