Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Have A Working Bench

While the new bench is not 100% finished it is a working bench. The things left are the split "fill and tool holder", the shelf on the lower stretchers, some dog holes, and a coat of BLO.

The dog holes will come as needed and I expect to start making the split fill tomorrow. If things go well I might even get the lower shelf done but I expect things will not go well, SWMBO announced over morning coffee and tea that she is off through the weekend. I expect my projects will be put on hold until after Sunday or my life will not be worth living.

Here is how the almost finished bench looks:








It's been a hoot, a PITA, and a lot of heavy work to finish. I expect it will be like child birth it a few months I will forget the sweating and grunting part and will only look at the bench with joy every time I see and feel its functionality and simple beauty.  

11 comments:

  1. Nice looking solid bench.

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  2. Thanks,

    I had to put a hunk of 8/4 Cherry in the vise and hit it with the 4 1/2 for a few licks. As expected the bench was solid as a rock, this may be a very good bench....now if I can just get over walking by, looking, and touching.

    ken

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  3. Bench looks real good Ken. Question on the split. I've been following along and now that is done I'm still not seeing it's purpose. BTW, you sound like you've been married for a while.

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  4. Looks great. Just curious, you went form a nice (benchcrafted?) leg vise on the old bench to a metal front vise on this one. Why?

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  5. Ralph,

    I debated making the slab solid but the split won for a couple of reasons. The prime one was ease of build, I mostly work by myself, I can impose on friends but I do not like to do that and with a split it is easier to handle. A secondary reason is the base and the slab do not have to match as closely, any small discrepancy can be hidden in the spilt and last the split is great for holding chisels and saws.

    Yep, and if you are not dumber than a brick you learn to say "Yes dear" to everything very quickly.

    ken

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  6. Easy, the English metal vise works faster and just as good. I pulled the leg vise off the old bench about a year ago and had the English vise as my working vise. Sometimes what is in fashion really isn't the best for you. BTW, that is not saying the Benchcrafted leg vise was bad, just that for the way I work the old #52 is better. YMMV.

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  7. Anonymous4:28 AM

    I like this bench. It looks solid and substantial. A few questions: How thick is the top? How long?
    Your thoughts on not mounting the rear vice jaw flush with the top? Can you tie it onto the back of your motorcycle and deliver it up to Phoenix for me to try for a few days?
    chuck

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  8. Chuck,

    Thanks, what work I've done on it it has been rock solid. The top is just under 100mm (4") it is 2450mm (8') long. It does not have a tail vise, the face vise is not mounted flush because I find most jobs are easier if I can get my hand between the board and the bench. If it is a very long board I use a "spacer" so I can clamp to the bench as well as in the vise.

    If you are ever in the Old Pueblo you are welcome to come by and give it a whirl.

    ken

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  9. Anonymous8:51 AM

    Ken-
    So that's a "No" on trying it on to the motorcycle?
    Thanks for the invite. I don't make it out of town much but I will be in touch if I'm headed south.
    Your bench is an inspiration and I'd love to try it out.
    chuck

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  10. Anonymous8:25 AM

    Paul Sellers is also an adept of minimalist workbench with the vise mounted as yours for the same reasons.
    He has a post with his clamping methods:
    http://paulsellers.com/2013/03/the-paul-sellers-vise-clamp-system-or/

    Sylvain

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  11. Sylvain,

    I've worked both ways, with a face vise flush to the bench and set off from the bench. For the work I do flush doesn't bring much to the table. The set off allows easier manipulation of the work piece with usually little down side. If the work piece is long and needs clamping I have a spacer that is the same offset as the vise, easy to use and stays out of the way most of the time.

    As I have posted before, work bench fads come and go. Right now it is leg vises, wagon vises and dead men, not long ago it was shoulder vises and tail vises. I've been there done most and what I've found is the simpler the bench the easier it is to work on. That's not to say any of those things are not perfect for someone, just not for me. As always YMMV.

    ken

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