Monday, March 29, 2010

The Joinery Bench Part : IV

So over the weekend I finished dovetailing the apron assembly, put in the dog holes and attached the apron to the top as seen in this photo. This is what your top and apron assembly should look like.I drilled the dog holes in a configuration that best suites my needs, feel free to put them anywhere you like, just be sure not to put one in line of where your vise screws will be installed. You can wait until the vise hardware and chop are installed to drill the holes. I like to start the 3/4" dog holes with a plunge router and finish them with a forstener bit.

                                                                         Now, if you look at the next pic you can see that I attached the apron to the top with a liberal amount of Miller Dowel pins. If you have never used them you are missing out. They are stepped dowels with a matching stepped drill bit and are very strong when installed with glue. I like to layout mine in a decorative pattern usually starting 1 1/2" from the ends, then the middle, then half the distance to the outer pegs, then half again and so on. Just don't be afraid that you are using too many, there is no such thing as too many. I also like to use a contrasting wood but all I had on hand was Oak, so that's what I used. While the dowels come in three sizes, I used the Mini X for the  apron, although the 1X would do just as well.

That is it for today. My next post will be on laying out and cutting the leg angles, which I just came upstairs from cutting and photographing the first leg assembly. I will try to get that to you ASAP, but I  am under the gun as this is the actual bench that will be at Asheville Hardware which will be used to take orders from. I also am dong a hand cut dovetail demo at the grand reopening on Friday April 2nd and would like to use the new bench. No pressure though!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Joinery Bench Part III : Apron Assembly

I could not wait for the votes so I am doing the apron with dovetails. You can use dowels, box joints, or even just simple miters. The objective is to run the front apron across your width ( which should be roughly 36") and return your sides along the depth of the top and beyond to 24".Then directly behind and attatched to the top is the fourth wall of the tool tray, just cut to fit in between the two 24" sides and fasten from the outside with your method of choice. ( Those I will dowel peg in)

So here are some pics of some of (one) the dovetailling and where the mid apron for the tool tray intersects!

Vote Now! - Dovetails or Pegs

I am going to let you decide how to do the apron assembly on the Joinery Bench, Dovetails or Miller Dowels!
I am heading downstairs soon to start so leave your vote in the comment section. But hurry I'm getting an itchy trigger finger!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Joinery Bench Part II : New and Improved Features!

So I now have my White Ash top glued up to a length of approx. 32 3/8". I told everyone to calculate a depth of 15". If this is what you did it should look like mine, minus the two ( yes two!) slots for stuff. Here is a pic of it.

The next pic shows how the right hand tool slot is assembled. I used a 3/8" spacer with the end grain up, but it could be side or face grain, the width is 2" also variable. I then added an end cap the same thickness as the top X the depth as wide as it needed to be to make my length 34 1/2'. Which will make the benchtop 36" when the apron is applied.

Now, while I was cutting the top to size with my Festool track saw I had a revelation. I love the L clamps that they use for the track, so upon calculating the dimensions of the bar I decided to add an additional slot to the rear of the top. I used three 13/16 x 3 x 2 spacers, one on each end and one in the middle, with the spacers below the benchtop plane. Now there is a slot for L clamps, or another planing stop ( I have designed a stop that works in both slots I will show at a latter date) or another slot for chisels, saws or anything you would like. Now, if your top is already 15" deep you can either cut it down by 13/16 or just leave it the way it is, it will only decrease the tool tray width, or just leave the slot off altogether. I calculated my depth to be 15" with the slot plus an additional 3/4" piece behind the blocks that the apron for the tool tray will attatch to.

This pic shows how the intersection of the slots comes together. I will be starting the apron assembly tomorrow, so expect another post pretty quick. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"The New Phonebooks Are Here , The New Phonebooks Are Here!!!!"

Good news Joinery Bench faithful. My "dealer" read my last post and personally located me a stash of 13" wide 8/4 Ash, Wooo Hooo! So I will be picking that up Friday morning and will be ready for post II with pics on what your top should look like, and how I like to do the saw slot.

I will also start the apron assembly with what is sure to cause a fight I'm sure. Peg joinery or dovetails. I prefer to use dowel pegs, more to the point Miller Dowels, which seems like maybe I have taken one too many boards to the head area since I built it to primarily dovetail with.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'll See Your Roubo and Raise You A Holzapfel

Mr. Schwarz over at the Popular Woodworking magazine is building a Roubo bench ( sliding dovetail legs and all) using only hand tools.It has a 5" thick top in cherry with only one joint in it, and 12 pounds of epoxy. So far it is looking very nice, but I am officially throwing down the gauntlet!

I recently have recieved an offer to acquire the appropriate amount of Douglas Fir timbers 4" thick by 9" wide in whatever lengths I need to build, a bench?, yes a bench. Not just any bench, I also have a desire to possess a French woodworking workhorse, but I can't seem to envision giving up my Holzapfel style work holding power.

So not only will this bench be Roubo, the opposite side will be Holzapfel! Yes! Twin screw and quick release on one side, as well as a leg and wagon vise with a deadman on the other. What? No power tools you say? Done! I will also attempt to use only hand tools as well.  And just to ice the proverbial cake, sliding dovetail leg joints.

A total of four working vises, and for what? Because I need to do over the top on my stuff, and all Mr.Schwarz has to do is.....well, he doesn't have to do anything. He is after all "The Schwarz" 

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Joinery Bench: Part I - Tiny Wood?

OK. So this was to be the first entry on building the" Joinery Bench"," was" being the operative word, but found my recent trip to the local wood monger to be disappointing and frustrating.White Ash is my first wood of choice for this bench due to it's mass and strength, which is paramount for this project because of the small size. Tape measure in hand I fumbled through a honking stack of 8/4 Ash, all of which clocked in at less than 5" wide. What the?

8/4 lumber is 80% of the materials needed, and you only need 48/bf of it, but it needs to finish out at 6" milled or the legs are too small and the yield for the top requires more wood, and at less than 5" I would have had to buy 70/bf of it. Ash is pretty cheap, but spending $80 more and not even getting appropriate sized lumber to make the leg assembly seemed, I don't know, moronic. So let's do this instead.

Start with 8/4 White Ash milled to 1 7/8" thick, ripped to 2 3/4" wide to allow for planing and flattening. This will take roughly 11/bf of 8/4 Ash. I am going to increase the width to 36" so you will need approx. 8 pieces that will finish up at 34 1/2" after gluing them up and squaring them off..

Glue up your blanks face to face with the grain running in the same direction throughout, if you alternate grain orientation it will be a nightmare to flatten the top with a hand plane.Do as many glue ups as you need to based on the size of the power planer you have available. The finished dimension of the top should be 32 3/8' long by 15' wide.I personally like the Titebond slower set time glue for everything I do.

These are the dimensions I have been using for this bench, although it is open to interpretation and improvisation at this point because the formula for doing the offset leg angles are based on the top size and can be adjusted to any configuration. There are no set angles for the legs as you will want to build yours based on your height. I am 5' 10" tall and mine is 38" from the floor, if you are taller or shorter than me I strongly suggest that you make a modification in height to achieve a properly ergonomic height for you, because otherwise why build it.

This is a good starting point until I get appropriate sized wood, I may have to do a little driving to get it, please post any questions you have as we are in it together now. I will get my top glued up and post pics which are not really necessary at this time, but will be for the next post, which will be the apron/ tool tray assembly and the integrated tool slot/ planing stop.

I surely hope you have better luck finding larger lumber than I did! Wait! This is starting to sound very similar to the same fifty e-mails I get every week. Larger lumber? Ask me how!!!!

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