A long time ago, in a basement far, far away
  Re: A long time ago, in a basement far, far away by shavingCanuck (There was a young ma...)
Still no recent pics as I've been slacking a bit but the wife demands the bench be done by the end of the weekend as my honey-do list is growing

I've basically finished the end cap for the wagon vice portion of the build but I've got two/three things left to do on it and have some questions:

1. Cut the dovetail in the front apron. How would you guys go about cutting this? If it was something small I wouldn't have an issue using the bandsaw but trying to manuever this puppy around makes me a little nervous. I could cut it by hand but standing it up isn't an option and I don't have any saw benches at the moment. I guess I could lay it on top of the back half of the bench and climb up on top. Any other thoughts or suggestions?

2. The bread board tenons. I know Jameel just did one side of the front slab and I'm tempted to follow suit. I can do all four ends if necessary I just don't really think it's a requirement. What do you guys think? Am I really in danger of a 4" top cupping?

3. finish? I picked up some BLO, is there something else that you guys would recommend? How many coats?

I'll try to get some pics up in the next day or two.

  Re: Re: A long time ago, in a basement far, far away by shavingCanuck (Still no recent pics...)
1. I'd use the band saw with some type of support at the rear of the board. If you have sufficient support it will be a piece of cake.

2. You only need a bread board on the end with the tail vise, the other end is not necessary and would just make more work for you.

3. I'd say BLO isn't bad but I'd prefer a Danish Oil instead as it should add a bit more protection and each coat should dry faster than the plain BLO. How many coats? I would say at least two and no more than three would be all that you'd need.

"When I nod my head, hit it." - M. Howard.

"I think you should learn how to use hand tools before you even touch a power tool." - Sam Maloof
  Re: Re: A long time ago, in a basement far, far away by John Clifford (1. I'd use the band ...)
Ditto what John said.

My favorite Danish Oil is Minwax Antique Oil. I find it dries way faster and with much less lingering odor than Watco brand. One coat should do it. I'd also do one coat of paste wax afterward for a tad more stain resistance. Have to say though that unfinished is really nice and tacky (in a good way!). I do however glue on my bench, so I have some finish on it.
  Re: Re: A long time ago, in a basement far, far away by shavingCanuck (Still no recent pics...)
Thanks guys... I'll have to create a quick jig to get the angle right but I'll give it a go. I figured more then just the one is overkill.

fingers crossed, luckily the apron is long enough that I can screw it up a time or two


  Re: A long time ago, in a basement far, far away by shavingCanuck (There was a young ma...)
The last time I did a major update I was about to cut the cavity by hand. I did this as a result of one major thing. I've got a very nice router (Triton 2-1/4hp) but when cutting the mortices in the back slab to join it to the base it did something that made me nervous. I purchased a long 1/2" straight bit that I was going to use to cut the cavity for the wagon vice. Since I had it I also decided to use it to clean up and increase the depth of the back slab mortices that happen to be about 2 inches (maybe a little deeper). I had cut away most of the mortice and was just trying to get it to depth. I used a plunge bit to get to depth, attached a collar and tried to use the longer bit to get the mortice close to the final size. After which I was going to clean up by hand.

All of a sudden there was a hell of alot of noise grinding and jumping. Didn't know what had happened so I kept going but it continued to get the occasional jump. When I had finally finished one I looked at the bit to try to figure out what was going on only to find that it had more or less been totaled for the top 3/4 of an inch.

I'm assuming that the length of the bit caused it to flex a bit and hit the sides of the collar, which then destroyed the bit but either way the occasional jumping and jerking doesn't make me warm and fuzzy.

As a result I decided to take a more Galootish approach and saw and chisel the waste out. As a warning I must admit that I'm not the most patient of individuals so the chiseling out of the waste got a little to aggressive on occasion which caused the cavity to start out very rough and still makes it "drunk beaverish" in areas.

I haven't been very consistent with the photos but the back slab in the following picture is actually attached. I'm also chiseling inside the line and it doesn't look quite like that in the final result.

I'm getting a little closer in the next picture and have started leveling out the flat side of the cavity. I also haven't gotten to the gouge work yet but truth be told I still need some serious practice with carving tools as I've never used them before.

Prior to doing any of the cavity work I attached the dog hole strip. It's third incarnation was milled oversized and I would strongly recommend anyone who is building a bench, make sure your front apron and doghole strip are at least 1/4" oversize when you attach them. You can quickly level them with the rest of your bench although that isn't done yet in the next picture. I've also varied the placement of the holes so they don't fall in line with the leg vice or either of the legs. For the most part they are about 4" on center other then that.

  Re: A long time ago, in a basement far, far away by shavingCanuck (There was a young ma...)
After cleaning up the cavity a bit I created the rebate to house the guide but of course I don't have any pictures of the process. In the following picture you can see the shoulder of the tenon started with a chisel then I cut, chiseled and planed the rest out.

I really need to get some practice in with the tenon cutting. Using a power tool no problem but by hand I always end up with some issue making everything square and simply end up undercutting the shoulders which I'm not always happy with but hey.

Before I created the cavity I lined up the Benchcrafted template with the appropriate marks (I use the front edge of the dog hole strip as my reference point) and laid out the holes (drilled them on the drill press at a later date) for the end cap. The bolts that will attach the end cap were counter sunk as were the nuts for the two bolts that attach the vice screw on the inside of the cap.

The inside of the end cap you can see the mortice (all marked up in pencil to see where it was rubbing) and the countersinks for the two bolts that hold the vice flange. In addition you can see a deeper and larger countersink that I created to allow for more capacity as the nut on the sliding plate can fit into it.

I followed the same process to lay out the end cap bolts as I did for the base (perfectly centered, yay). The main difference is how deep the holes had to be drilled to accommodate the bolts and their nuts (tragic really)...

Tonight I ended up cutting the dovetails for the front apron after asking you fine fudge a couple of questions first. As stupid as it may sound I never had occasion to use a tapering jig so I never really thought about how they work. Looking at some pictures I assumed that jig was stationary and only the workpiece moved. Funny how that appears when viewing STILL photography. As I'm sure most of you know the jig is not stationary but moves with the workpiece and when you are not performing a through cut you do actually have to pull the jig back with you when you reverse the cut. All this was learned through much trial and tribulation and a blade change (when the jig is stationary the piece starts to twist the blade, and the only solution of course is to remove the 1" blade and put on a thinner one which is a pain in the A#@).

So once I had my evening learning moment I managed to get the tails cut and chiseled out and I'm happy with them but the next portion is one that I've never done before. Any suggestions for half-blind dovetails? Order of steps? Anything I should be aware of since they are bigger then they would be normally?

As an aside the wife had to pick up some Christmas Gifts at Lee Valley so I also brought home a little pre-tree treat.

Thanks for all the suggestions and comments.
  Re: Re: A long time ago, in a basement far, far away by shavingCanuck (After cleaning up th...)
So I just took a look at the picture of the dovetails above and I'm feeling pretty good about myself, symmetrical, clean, not to shabby. Then I take a look at the pins that I just finished that are going to receive them... F#$##$ #^&^@%$ A&TW$E% F#%#$%... this is a family station isn't it?

Perhaps it would've been prudent to try a couple of half blinds first before I went and did the big bench ones. For the record I don't think they look absolutely horrendous except for the 1/16 gap at the end as I cut them to deep. Cutting the rebate on the back of the tails to aid in alignment would've been prudent as I actually did cut to my mark... how the hell do you fix that or do you leave it as a reminder to not be an person and follow suggestions next time?

As an aside, Bob, you've got a marking knife order coming your way to go with the dovetail chisel. Laying these out with a pencil just didn't cut it... ha, ha, cut it... funny... F#^#$% S##^^#$%

  Re: Re: A long time ago, in a basement far, far away by shavingCanuck (So I just took a loo...)
Don't sweat it Andy. Find the offcut from the end cap and mill up some thin pieces to glue in the gaps. You can cut the wood from the same area that's missing and glue it in. Taper it a little for a tight fit. Use some Lee Valley chair doctor glue (this is what I use) to glue them in place. I've even botched the shoulder before and remedied it. This is from a bench I've taken to several shows. Nobody noticed it.

  Re: Re: A long time ago, in a basement far, far away by Jameel Abraham (Don't sweat it Andy....)
Everyone will now

... Thanks, I started looking at pieces that I had chiseled out but I think I'll have to dig into the offcut pile to find something close (I didn't leave quite that much waste). Either that or sacrifice 2 inches from one of the other end caps that I had glued up but won't be using.

I'll let ya'll know how it goes... still irritating though

... I'm starting to learn that knowing what to be excessively picky about and how to fix and limit your mistakes is half the battle. It'll just take some time I guess.

Thanks again
  Re: Re: A long time ago, in a basement far, far away by Jameel Abraham (Don't sweat it Andy....)
Checked the front apron before I came into work this morning and I've got enough wood left to recut the tails with some more length. Hopefully this doesn't make them worse and I've never tried pins first before so this will be interesting. Luckily I'll have a set to compare to so I can determine if I'm totally off or not.

Tonight or tomorrow I'll take the plunge... it's moments like these that I hate my day job, would rather be in the shop...

8hrs and counting


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