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Thread: Frank Pellow's workbench project

  1. #1
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    Default Frank Pellow's workbench project

    Background:

    I “finished” constructing and populating my shop two years ago this spring, but a big item that has been missing is a proper woodworking bench. One of the things that held me back was that I could not figure out where to put such a bench. Almost everything in my shop is mobile and I thought that a bench needed to be stationary. Then, a year ago I visited Rick Thom’s shop and saw his bench that is mounted on a General International mobile base. Here are few photos of Rick’s bench:

    Front view of Rick's bench:

    Front view -small.JPG

    View of the top of Ricks Bench from the end with vise:


    View of the top from the end with vice -small.JPG

    Top view of the end vise on Rick's bench:


    Top view of the main vice -small.JPG


    The bench certainly seemed sturdy enough, yet it could easily be moved. I resolved then and there to make a bench modeled upon Rick’s.

    Here are some notes that I took about Rick’s bench:

    • Bench size: 27” by 72”
    • Bench height: 33”
    • Cabinet size: about 24” by 48”
    • The top is made from 2” by 1” maple glued together with Elmer’s Probond. It was laminated in two sections each of which was then run through a planer. The two sections were then joined together and a skirt was affixed to the edges. It was then covered all-round with two coats of shellac. Rick says that the skirt at ¾ inch on the long sides is too narrow and he will augment it to properly support clamping.
    • The cabinet support pieces are pine and are joined with mortise and tenons. The sides are 1 inch plywood. The drawers are maple with dovetail joinery and are on “standard” side drawer runners.
    • The bench top just sits on the cabinet.
    • The end vise is from Lee Valley (catalogue number 70G08.02) The front vise is a Record clone.
    • The bench is mounted on a General International mobile base. The bench is very easy to move but, once the wheels are lowered, it is very stable.
    • The ¾ inch dog holes are spaced 6 inches apart. They are angled 2 degrees towards to vice. All holes were drilled with a auger bit in a hand held drill employing a simple shop made jig.


    Like Rick, I want to build a practical and useful bench but spend as little money as necessary on it.

    Early in 2006, I helped my neighbour Norm clean up his basement and garage and Norm gave me quite a lot of hard maple scrap that he had been saving for years. Here is a photo of some of that maple:

    Maple boards from Norm -small.JPG

    There were lots of pre-drilled holes in the wood, but I managed to cut around them and come up with these boards to be used for my bench top:

    Maple that I can use for the top of my workbench -small.JPG

    I generally work in my shop from late October to early April and outside at various projects from mid April to mid October. Making a woodworking bench was supposed to be one of the projects that I got to early in the current shop session. Well, better late than never –I got started on it last week and it will be the last major project of the session. In fact, I have already started some outside projects, so the bench project will probably drag out for some time as a “rainy day” task.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 03-29-2007 at 12:52 PM.
    Cheers,
    Frank

  2. #2
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    March 28th (post 1 of 2)

    Here is what has been done so far on the bench. As usual with my project descriptions, I will number the steps and include a lot of pictures.

    01) The first step was to joint two sides of the salvaged maple boards.

    Woodworking bench 01 -Shed 2 arranged to use the jointer -small.JPG


    My shop undergoes somewhat of a transformation in order to use my jointer. The good news is that it is really easy to move my equipment to accomplish such transformations.

    02) The boards have now been jointed on two sides and are awaiting the planer.

    Woodworking bench 02 -maple jointed on two sides and awaiting planer -small.JPG


    03) The boards have now been prepared on all four sides and the thicjness is marked on each board.

    Woodworking bench 03 -maple prepared on all four sides -small.JPG Woodworking bench 04 -thickness marked on each board -small.JPG

    04) The boards have now all been cut to length and dry assembled.

    Woodworking bench 05 -bench top boards cut to length and dry assembled -small.jpg


    The size of the top (without a skirt) is roughly 150 centimetres by 50 centimetres and 5 centimetres thick.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 03-29-2007 at 03:35 AM.
    Cheers,
    Frank

  3. #3
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    Lookin good so far Frank. what do you plan for the but joints on the top? Will they just be butted or will they be reinforced somehow?
    Looks like you missed a nail or a screw in there. Took a nice chunk out of your blades.

    BTW...I see you're quite an artist. Is that work of art inspired by Picasso or Van Gogh?
    J.P. Rap Mount Hope Ont.
    Carpe Ductum (Seize The Tape)


    "In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. Elwood P. Dowd

  4. #4
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    March 28th (post 2 of 2)

    05) The boards for one half of the top are laid out and ready to glue:


    Woodworking bench 06 -ready to glue boards for half the bench top -small.JPG

    After some research, I decided that my best bet was Titebond III glue. Once the glue has been applied, one has 10 minutes to work with it, so I needed to move fast. The combination glue bottle and roller that is shown in the picture helped quite a bit with the speed and the quality of the glue application.

    06) Here the boards are all clamped together (just a little over 8 minutes from when I applied the first glue ) :


    Woodworking bench 07 -clamped boards for half the bench top -small.JPG

    07) After leaving the two glued up segments for about 18 hours, I ran them both through a planer:


    Woodworking bench 08 -running half the bench top through the planer -small.JPG

    08) Here the two bench top segments are first awaiting glue up, then after glue up:

    Woodworking bench 09 -the two bench top segments ready to be glued together -small.JPG Woodworking bench 10 -the two bench top segments glued together and clamped -small.JPG

    09) I cut the two ends straight using my Festool circular saw on a clamped rail:

    Woodworking bench 11 -sawing the boards even at one end -small.JPG


    The blade was not quite large enough to cut all the way through, but the small remnant was easily removed (as were the burn marks) with a sander.

    10) And the last photo of this report shows me sanding the top:


    Woodworking bench 12 -Frank sanding the top -small.JPG

    I used 80 grit paper and that certainly will be good enough for now. Later on after the dog holes have been drilled, and before a finish is applied I will do a better job of smoothing the top.
    Cheers,
    Frank

  5. #5

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    The bench top is really looking good. It will be fun to follow your progress on your workbench. Be sure to update us frequently! From what I can tell your shop looks like a nice one. Very well lite and your jointer looks very good. Please enlighten us a little more on the creator of the very fine artwork on the shop doors. ............Tom

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.P. Rap View Post
    Lookin good so far Frank. what do you plan for the but joints on the top? Will they just be butted or will they be reinforced somehow?
    Thanks. At the ends, I plan to route a tennon at each end and a mortise into the shirt boards. I will then pin the tennons.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.P. Rap View Post
    Looks like you missed a nail or a screw in there. Took a nice chunk out of your blades.
    Where? What picture are you seeing this in?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.P. Rap View Post
    BTW...I see you're quite an artist. Is that work of art inspired by Picasso or Van Gogh?
    My granddaughter Isla did the painting. She was 5 when she did the job (two years ago) and she certainly knows about both Picasso and Van Gogh. I will ask her if either or both influenced this particular art.
    Cheers,
    Frank

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pellow View Post
    Thanks. At the ends, I plan to route a tennon at each end and a mortise into the shirt boards. I will then pin the tennons.
    I guess I shoulda waited until you were finished.
    I was refering to the but joints in the middle of the bench top were the shorter boards are butted together. I see you just butted them.


    Where? What picture are you seeing this in?
    Maybe Im seeing things but these sure look like a knick in the planer blades to me.
    Woodworking%20bench%2004%20-thickness%20marked%20on%20each%20board%20-small.JPG


    My granddaughter Isla did the painting. She was 5 when she did the job (two years ago) and she certainly knows about both Picasso and Van Gogh. I will ask her if either or both influenced this particular art.
    Oh shucks, and here I though you were some kinda undiscovered artist.
    J.P. Rap Mount Hope Ont.
    Carpe Ductum (Seize The Tape)


    "In this world, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. Elwood P. Dowd

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.P. Rap View Post
    Maybe Im seeing things but these sure look like a knick in the planer blades to me.
    Woodworking%20bench%2004%20-thickness%20marked%20on%20each%20board%20-small.JPG
    Well spotted. Yes, I do need to change my planer blades. Another job for a rainy day.



    Quote Originally Posted by J.P. Rap View Post
    Oh shucks, and here I though you were some kinda undiscovered artist.
    Not me -that's for sure. But, maybe Isla -she sure loves to draw, paint, and sculpt.
    Cheers,
    Frank

  9. #9

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    The bench is looking great Frank.
    Can't wait to see your approach to skirting the top.
    Don (Scarborough)

    Dogguides Canada: Our dogs are more than our friends.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matrix View Post
    The bench is looking great Frank.
    Can't wait to see your approach to skirting the top.
    Don, I am planning on the end skirts being about 3 inches wide and the side skirts about an inch and a half wide. Thats better than Rick's 3/4 inch but not as good as the 4 inches that is probably needed for decent clamping. So, the middle portion of the side skirts will be the same thickness as the rest of the bench to accomodate clamping. Here is a scetch:

    skirts for bench.jpg

    In the scetch the end skirts are yellow and the side skirts are green.
    Cheers,
    Frank

  11. #11
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    Frank, your bench is progressing well.. nice job!
    If you haven't done so far, you might want to determine where the vice rods and screw will pass through your end skirt and pre-drill it for them using your drill press. Maybe your skirt will be short enough to avoid having to do this?? At any rate, you don't want anything to interfere with the vice action when all is said and done. It took me some time to drill by hand and clearance the holes with a rasp... didn't have a large enough bit for the screw size.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Thom View Post
    ...
    If you haven't done so far, you might want to determine where the vice rods and screw will pass through your end skirt and pre-drill it for them using your drill press.
    ...
    Thanks for the further advice on the bench Rick. I will do what you suggest for the end vise. But I am still not sure if I even want a front vise; so I guess that, if I get one, I too will be drilling holes for a vise with a hand drill.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 03-29-2007 at 12:54 PM. Reason: spelling
    Cheers,
    Frank

  13. #13
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    Default April 16th Update (post 1 of 2)

    (post 1 of 2)
    It’s time for an update on my slow but steady woodworking bench project last mentioned in my notes of March 28th where I reached step 10. Continuing on from there:
    11) Tenons were routed at both ends of the bench-top slab.
    Woodworking bench 13 -tenons routed at both ends of benchtop slab -small.JPG
    12) The two side aprons are made from 6/4 maple that I had to purchase. After jointing and planning, they ended up about 3.5 centimetres thick and 13 centimetres deep (that’s about 1 3/8 inches by 5 /1/4 inches for folks who prefer to use Imperial). The aprons were then cut so that the end portions are the same depth as the end caps but the middle parts are the same depth as the bench slab (to facilitate clamping).
    Tenons were cut at both ends using my bandsaw:
    Woodworking bench 14 -bandsaw used to cut a tenon into one of the side aprons -small.JPG
    The interior corners were rounded with a jig saw:
    Woodworking bench 16 -cutting rounded corners on a side apron -small.JPG
    The hole in my old bench was created just for tasks like this.
    The curves were smoothed with a spindle sander:
    Woodworking bench 20 -smoothing the curves on the aprons with spindle sander-small.JPG
    13) I have now decided what to do about vises for the bench. There will ultimately be three of them and they will be positioned roughly as shown in the primitive diagram below:
    vise positions.jpg

    I purchased both the End Vise and Front Vise (a Record clone) from Lee Valley (catalogue numbers 70G08.10 and 10G04.12 respectively). They are both made by a company called York in the Czech Republic and appear to of good quality.
    The tail vise I will leave as a future project. It should be easy to add.

    14) The next step was to install the front vise. There are several different ways that it can be installed. I opted to install the vise behind the apron. A spacer has to be used to bring the level of the jaws close to the level of the bench. My spacer is made of 3 pieces of 18 mm Baltic Birch glued together. I decided to bolt the vice to the spacer then attach the spacer to the underside of the bench with four lag bolts:

    Woodworking bench 17 -locating holes to bolt Record clone vise to spacer -small.JPG Woodworking bench 18 -top side of vise spacer -small.JPG Woodworking bench 22 -attaching vise spacer tounderside of bench -small.JPG

    It was necessary to cut a mortise into the bottom part of the table top to accommodate the back jaw of the vise:

    Woodworking bench 21 -a motise cut into top to accept the back jaw of vise -small.JPG

    The distance from the top of the back jaw to the top of the bench is about 1 centimetre. I will put a piece of Baltic Birch on the front jaw that will be level with the bench top.
    Cheers,
    Frank

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    Default April 16th Update (post 2 of 2)

    (post 2 of 2)

    15) The two end caps are made from laminated maple from various sources. They are fairly substantial being 9 centimetres thick and 13 centimetres deep (that’s about 3 1/2 inches by 5 /1/4 inches). Before installing the cap on the end that is going to have the vise, I used a drill press to make holes at the appropriate spots:
    Woodworking bench 24 -drilling holes for end vice through end cap -small.JPG
    Notice also that a long mortise has been routed into the cap.

    I used two bed bolts from Lee Valley (catalogue number 05G17.01) at each cap and apron joint:
    Woodworking bench 25 -end cap bolted to the side aprons -small.JPG
    They pull in the cap nice and tight but allow for wood movement.
    With the caps and the aprons, the overall dimensions of the bench top are about 59 centimetres by 165 centimetres (or approximately 23.5 inches by 65 inches)

    16) I have started to plan for the base, but have done no work on it yet. As usual, my initial plans are scribblings on the chalkboard:
    Woodworking bench 27 -plan on board -small.JPG
    I expect that these diagrams do not make the design completely obvious to everyone so I will attempt to put things into words. Here are few details:
    - The bench will be supported by a cabinet on wheels. The design for the cabinet will be much like my recently completed general purpose cart (see the thread: http://www.canadianwoodworking.com/f...ad.php?t=15336)
    - The cart will be just about the length and width of the bench.
    - There will be a raised hardwood section at each end of the cart that will fit under the bench caps. The bench top will be lifted onto the cart and will be held in place by gravity as well as some loose fitting dowels.
    - There will be a 13 centimetre (about 3 1/2 inches) open space between the bottom of the bench and the top of the cabinet in order to accommodate clamps, hold downs, etc.
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 04-16-2007 at 10:06 PM.
    Cheers,
    Frank

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    Looking very nice Frank.
    That is a very heavy weight side vice capable of easily crushing wood fibers, fingers etc.
    Did you choose to use the special threaded inserts and bolts? If so, some might like to see a pic of how and where you used them.
    You've done a much more thoughtful job than I did and the subtle differences will be improvements.
    Cheers, Rick.

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    Default Nice bench Plus your Planer's leaking Oil

    That's a nice looking bench. I see your planer has a oil leak. I had mine pushed against the wall for 6 months and I see it's has the same leak a few days ago. I eyed it up and that leak certainly looks like a big job to repair it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Thom View Post
    Looking very nice Frank.
    That is a very heavy weight side vice capable of easily crushing wood fibers, fingers etc.
    Thanks Rick. And I have already suffered a minor injury due to the weight of the vise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Thom View Post
    Did you choose to use the special threaded inserts and bolts? If so, some might like to see a pic of how and where you used them.
    Yes Rick I did. See the words above: "I used two bed bolts from Lee Valley (catalogue number 05G17.01) at each cap and apron joint:" and the penultimate picture above. As we discussed, Lee Valley also has a larger set of inserts and bolts (catalogue number 05G07.01) but the smaller bolts seemed to work well so I will be returtning the larger ones that I purchased on spec.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Thom View Post
    You've done a much more thoughtful job than I did and the subtle differences will be improvements.
    Cheers, Rick.
    Maybe I have, maybe I haven't but, in the end, I will be happy if my bench is as good as yours.
    Cheers,
    Frank

  18. #18
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    Default Oil leak?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim in Burlington View Post
    That's a nice looking bench. I see your planer has a oil leak. I had mine pushed against the wall for 6 months and I see it's has the same leak a few days ago. I eyed it up and that leak certainly looks like a big job to repair it.
    I sure hope that you are wrong about the planer Jim. You must have seen something in one of my pictures that I have not noticed. I do know that there is a place that overflowed when I was oiling the planer and I hope that it what you are seeing. If you can give me more details of exactly what you saw and where I should look I would appreciate it.
    Cheers,
    Frank

  19. #19

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    That is one nice looking bench.
    See ya

  20. #20
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    Default April 27th Update

    It rained heavily Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, disrupting my outside work but giving me an opportunity to work on my workbench again. The first task was to install the cap on the other end of the bench. That done, it was time to turn my attention to the end vise. I will pick up there and carry on with the numbering from the last report.

    17) A plate was made out of laminated maple and drilled to accommodate the spindle and the two guide rods. Next, the vise instructions suggest that the face of the plate should be at a 2 degree angle so that the top jaws of the vise close first upon an object. I made two false attempts to create angle, first with my jointer and second with my bandsaw. In the end, I used my table saw and it worked well. Of course the blade was not large enough to handle the 13 centimetres wide (about 5 inches) cut. I made a cut as deep as possible, then moved the table saw fence to the other side of the blade, inverted the wood and completed the cut:
    Woodworking bench 28 -cutting a 2 degree angle on the face of the vise plate -small.JPG

    This operation resulted in some burning, but the burns were later easily removed with a sander.

    18) Stop holes at the correct depth for Veritas Wonder Pups were then drilled into the top of the plate:
    Woodworking bench 29 -drilling stop holes in top of the vise plate -small.JPG

    19) Next, the vise was temporarily bolted to the bench top and the bench top was flipped over (well it’s getting heavy so it wasn’t exactly “flipped”). I installed the aprons slightly proud of the bench top so, after flipping, the next step was to plane them close level. I am not a woodworking purist, so I used my cheap Ryobi electric planer to do this:
    Woodworking bench 30 -planing the aprons level close to level -small.JPG

    20) Holes were drilled into the bench top to allow the top of the carriage bolts holding the end vise to be recessed, then the bolts were reversed and properly installed (with lock washers and nuts below):

    Woodworking bench 31 -bolts through the top to support end vise -small.JPG

    The holes in the top will later be filled with Bondo (auto body filler). I told you that I wasn’t a purist.
    Cheers,
    Frank

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