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Thread: My First Workbench Build - A Journal

  1. #271
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    350
    Thanks, Phil!

    I did pick through some of the dowel rods to find better ones. I specifically put back rods that had knots, splits, or other issues to ensure that when I assembled the bench ends that the pins wouldn't split or break. I know they can really flex, so I wanted to be sure.

    The GABF was very fun. Tried so many beers that I would have never even known about. It's amazing what's out there. It's like a golden age for craft beer right now.

  2. #272
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    350
    Made significant progress on the bench today! I probably spent a minimum of 5-6 hours chopping, clearing chips, test-fitting, cleaning up, etc. I'm thoroughly exhausted... that was a lot of work, moving those heavy pieces around!

    Items I completed today:
    • Chopped all of the mortises for the long stretchers in the legs
    • Bored holes for the barrel nuts and connecting bolts in the stretchers and legs
    • Hand-chopped square counterbores for the connecting bolts and washers, as they otherwise wouldn't reach the barrel nuts through the thick bench legs
    • Completed a test assembly of the bench base


    Things I struggled with...
    • The holes for the connecting bolts and barrel nuts need to be either dead-on or need some clearance to accommodate minor misalignment. I ran into this with one mortise in particular, and it was a big struggle to assemble the bench until I dealt with it. I ended up just chopping out a bit more material for the barrel nut to move into alignment with the connecting bolt.
    • Test-fitting such large, heavy pieces was tough. Each time I couldn't get the barrel nuts assembled, I would jiggle, move, slide, or otherwise adjust the entire end of the bench base that wouldn't bolt together.


    But, now I'm ready to start doing the mortises and tenons for the benchtop slabs. I'll cut the tenons first, then mark out the top slabs and cut the mortises, using a saw to remove as much waste as possible before chiseling to a final fit.

    Some pics of the day's progress:





    The hand-chopped, square counterbore for the connecting bolt and washer:


    The barrel nut that required some extra... "fitting":

  3. #273
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    350
    Got a bit more done yesterday. Started working on the tenons for the tops of the legs. This is quite the task! Sawing through that much material by hand takes several minutes for each cut. I then tried removing the waste between tenons by boring through it with my brace. I discovered just how much work it is to drill a hole that deep by hand, using a 1-1/4" bit. I think my right bicep just got an inch or two bigger from turning that thing! I finished up by paring the rest of the waste out. It's not perfect. I bored slightly downward, so one side is a little lower than the other. I tried to keep some material that didn't get bored out to help the top stay supported.

    One down, three more to go!

    On a side note, I've noticed that holding my tools too tightly is causing my right hand to experience some numbness or tingling. Probably due to the nerve getting compressed a bit from swelling. I need to learn to grip lightly and let my hand relax more while I'm working. I tend to grip tightly for precision, but it's probably not a good thing in the long run. Due to this, I may wait a couple of days to let the swelling go down.



    Even all the way in, the bit just BARELY peeks through the other side of the leg...





  4. #274
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    350
    Guess I just couldn't help myself... It's Saturday, and I got bored.

    I ended up completing the second double tenon. It went much smoother this time, after learning a few things from the first time. I watched my cutting along the lines to ensure they were nice and straight. I also bored my hole through the waste a little higher this time, maybe just 1/8" above the line, to make sure I didn't wander into material I wanted to keep. It required more paring to get the shoulder flat, but it also produced a much better result than the first time.










  5. #275
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    N Illinois
    Posts
    4,105
    Looking good..Certainly will be sturdy!!! Like your joinery...Take your time...Good M/T joints are worth the extra time and effort...Very satisfying later when you use the bench..
    Jerry

  6. #276
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    350
    Thanks, Jerry! So far, the joints have been solid. It seems that the pinned joints hold tightly and require a little less precision. I'm definitely concerned the top could be wobbly, so I want to make sure the joints are snug.

    My only major concern right now is that the ends didn't come out perfectly square. I hope that doesn't affect the top slabs too much. It could also complicate the original idea of a sliding tool tray between the slabs. We'll see... When I join the slabs to the base, I want to attempt to keep them parallel when I lay out the mortises.

  7. #277
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Leland, NC
    Posts
    309
    Why not just post them directly here via the upload option?

    For storage I have been using OneDrive (microsoft). Got tired of these "photobucket" types pretty quickly.

  8. #278
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    350
    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Reischl View Post
    Why not just post them directly here via the upload option?

    For storage I have been using OneDrive (microsoft). Got tired of these "photobucket" types pretty quickly.
    Ted, SMC doesn't offer nearly as much storage. Free Flickr accounts get 1TB of storage. I can use it for all sorts of uploads, including high-res images (200MB limit) and videos (1GB, 3 minute limit). I post on other sites, too, so even though I get some storage here, that will probably fill up pretty quickly just with images from posts like these, and there isn't a great way to share the photos with other sites. So, common storage is nice. And I hate to remove photos to make room for new ones, lest someone go back to one of my old threads for something.

  9. #279
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    350
    Had some down time this afternoon, so I decided to make one last push to get the rest of the bench base completed.

    I ended up cutting and paring the last two sets of tenons on the legs. Now that this part is complete, it's time to start planning out how to connect the top slabs. As was previously suggested, I'll likely lay them top-down on the floor and then flip the base over on top of them to lay out the tenons. This way I can make sure the faces between slabs are parallel and my gap in the split top is consistent for my tool tray. Hopefully the outside faces of my top slabs are still parallel. If not, I'll adjust them to make sure they are both flush with the outside faces of the legs of the bench once they are attached.


  10. #280
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    350
    Started working on laying out the mortises for the top slabs. I must have miscalculated somewhere. Putting the slabs flush with the base leaves a less than 1" gap between slabs. I wanted a larger gap to facilitate box/cabinet making, as well as a sliding tool tray.

    I may cut a small shoulder on the outside faces of the tenons and bump the slabs out an inch or so. Or, I could bump one side out a couple inches and leave one side flush with the base.

    Any suggestions on which is a better solution?




  11. #281
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Stone Mountain, GA
    Posts
    218
    Looks like you've been making some good progress.

    Part of the design philosophy of the Roubo is to have the legs and benchtop edge flush for clamping. So I would at least preserve that on the side with the vises. You could bump the other slab back to increase your gap, I suppose, although the trapezoidal mortise shape will be awkward to execute without it being open on the side, I'd think.

    How wide do you need the gap to be?

  12. #282
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    350
    I figure the gap needs to be at least about 3 inches wide to adequately accommodate clamping between the slabs. It should be easy to slip clamps through the gap.

    I agree, cutting the trapezoidal mortises could get interesting if they aren't open. Could flatten the tips of the sharp corners just a bit to make it easier.

  13. #283
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    South West Ontario
    Posts
    384
    Replacing the stretchers is the only real solution to the problem.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  14. #284
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Loveland, CO
    Posts
    350
    Well... I could cut a bit off of the width of the top slabs to widen the gap, as well. I may do that with my table saw.

  15. #285
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    4,620
    How wide is the bench from outside of front post to outside of back post?

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