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Tiffling with the bench

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MikeG.

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Due to a weather-related hiatus in brick-laying, I found myself in the workshop without a plan and a few hours on my hands. So, I thought I would tackle the front edge of my bench. It's been a mess for many years:









Unfortunately, I don't hold stock of beech, so this could only be a patch up. I used a Yankee to get the slot headed screws out, and some of them put up a bit of a fight. What I found when the apron finally came off was just bizarre. Head shakingly stupid:

The vice hasn't been fixed in place very well. I've always known it wasn't square....I have to taper the wooden jaws I make. But oddly, it protrudes from the bench top by 6 or 8mm:



Instead of just housing out locally at the back of the apron, some clown had run a shallow rebate the whole length of the apron, then packed out at the ends where it meets the end members. Why do all that extra work?:



I cleaned up the end pieces which had caused the gap:



It's traditional to wipe the glue off your fingers onto the underside of the apron:



I cleaned up the face and bottom edge of the old apron. I did the face with a belt sander because there is no way I'd risk a plane on it with all the metalwork that has happened on this bench over the years.

I've only got 2 off cuts of beech, so I grabbed one, and cut a sliver:



....and housed out at the back:





I cut out a similar sized chunk from the apron, offered it up, adjusted, then screwed everything into place:



I deliberately left the apron 1/4 of an inch or so higher than it was originally:



I could then plane it down flush with the top, which I had also cleaned up with a belt sander:



For the first time in decades I have 2 square meeting edges in my vice:



I think that next time I'm in a timber yard I'll grab a chunkier board of beech and make a whole new apron. If I feel really bold, I might even get two, and replace the front part of the bench top.
 

Myfordman

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I can't really tie in the first two photos with the rest of the job? was the first photo with the thin plywood simply the source of the timber?
 

AndyT

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I hope you find the clown who built that bench and have a stern word with him!
Experience and hindsight are a powerful combination. ;)
 

MikeG.

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Myfordman":2p4h3m9j said:
I can't really tie in the first two photos with the rest of the job? was the first photo with the thin plywood simply the source of the timber?
They're the first old photos I came across showing the chewed up front edge of the bench. Ignore the work , it's the bench edge you should look at.
 

MikeG.

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AndyT":3ohzwo6z said:
I hope you find the clown who built that bench and have a stern word with him!
Experience and hindsight are a powerful combination. ;)
It's an old school bench. I made it about 8 inches higher when I got it.You can just about see the 8x2's between the top of the cupboard and the underside of the top, here:

 

Phil Pascoe

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It's traditional to wipe the glue off your fingers onto the underside of the apron? I didn't know that - I thought that's what trousers are for. :D
 

MikeG.

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The bulk goes on the apron. The final wiping up is of course done on your trousers. Anything else would be sacrilegious........
 

AJB Temple

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I need you to pop round to my house Mike. You are such a fast worker. I can think of a few woodwork jobs that you could nick out for me :lol:
 
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