Welcome to Woodworker++

This blog is intended to be a journal of my progress as a woodworker. Grab a drink, maybe some popcorn, sit back and enjoy a glimpse into my woodworking projects, both failed and successful. Why should you care what I do, or what I have to say? You shouldn't, but just maybe I can keep you from making the same mistakes that I had to learn the hard way.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

All your base...

I've been scouring a radius of 90 miles trying to find wood for the base of this thing. I'm want maple, poplar or hickory. The thing is I can hardly find rough lumber big enough to get a 4"x4"x42" dimensioned piece. Let me retract that statement. I've found both hard maple and poplar that would do, but I ain't paying almost $250 for it. Only one local distributor has it and they charge a premium. The search continues.

Ends leveled...

I have leveled off the ends of the bench, and patched a terrible piece of tearout. But that's a post when I feel like reliving the experience. No pics yet. I'll try to post some soon.

Ready to level the ends...

Well, here it is. Sorry for the horrible picture but I was in a hurry. I had a pic I annotated for a friend, so I thought I'd share it here.
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Time to glue up!

I applied glue to the plywood spline and the mortises and clamped them up. You can see that I didn't have pipe long enough for my pipe clamps. Fortunately, I did have 6 clamps. This is what I like to call "creative problem solving". You can use that on a resume, I did.
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Dry fit...

Here's a pic of a dry fit of one end. It took forever to mortise out the end of the bench. I know there's a couple of marks left on the end, that's ok. The end is flat, and anyway that surface isn't a structural surface for glue (endgrain).
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I need to cut the mortise for the spline of the breadboard end. The end on the left was cut first with my router. I didn't like the way it came out, so I decide to cut the mortise on the other by hand. Unfortunately, I do not have a mortising chisel. I used my Irwin/Blue Marples paring chisels to cut the mortise on the right. The dimensions of the mortise on the left is 13/16" w x 18"l x 3/4" d. The mortise on the right is 13/16" x 4" x 1/2"d. Notice the difference in dimensions there? Yeah, took me 30 minutes to do the mortise on the right. I broke the Colt back out to finish it up. Well worth it.
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Now it's time to square up the ends. Well... mostly square, cause I'm not perfecct. Yet. The bench at this point weighs at least 100 lbs. I tried cutting the ends by hand, but I made a real mess of one of the ends. Fortunately, I had left plenty of material for mistakes.
1. I setup two rollers on the right side of the blade with 2 2x4s. One 6' and one 8'.
2. I made a simple outfeed table out of a sawhorse to support the top at the end of the cut.
3. I screwed a piece of maple that fit in the t-slot to the underside of the bench top. I recovered the maple strip from a failed cross-cut sled.
4. I sawed away.

You can see from the burn marks that I had a difficult time on the first end. The maple did a pretty good job of holding the top straight but I didn't do a good job of pushing. The second end came out almost free of marks.

Did I mention that thing was heavy?
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Ready for the ends...

So, now I'm ready to put on the breadboard ends. Why breadboard? Well... the maple pieces are face glued. So, if I just glued the walnut ends on it would be an end grain (maple) to long grain (walnut) butt joint. If you're a new woodworker, this is a big no-no. So, I'm going with breadboard end. If you need more information on breadboard ends... goto any of the woodworking forums and do a search in the archives. I promise you someone has already explained what they are, the benefits, and detriments of their use.

The Wood Whisperer...

I watch The Wood Whisperer (see link in the links bar) video podcast. Marc is great at getting concepts across in a manner that us weekend garage woodworkers can understand. Last night I watched his "live feed" and participated in the live chat. Got a couple of questions answered and I think for the finish on my workbench I'm going with BLO (boiled linseed oil) mixed with a little varnish. Of course, I'll try a test piece to see how it goes, but I'm thinking it'll do a good job of bringing out the contrast between the walnut and maple.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

almost... flat....

I tried flattening this bad boy... man oh man... not done yet. I got the middle and the ends flat across the bench, but the length of the bench is way more difficult.

I need to buy or create some winding sticks so I can make sure it's not twisted.


Here's the tools used for flattening. I got it fairly flat. Not perfect. I plan on using the #80 scraper to get it flatter.

Trim time...

I added the walnut trim. I cut it pretty much the same way I did the maple. Glued it up the same too. I then hand planed it flat with the maple.

Flat... almost

I got it as close as I want before I add the trim. Here's a pic.

Top ready to flatten...

The clamps come off! There's a lot of glue squeeze out, which I think is
good. I started in with the scrub plane and worked my way up to a #80 cabinet scraper. My triceps are now the size of Hulk Hogan's.

In hindsight I wish I had put a clamping caul across the top of the sections to keep the boards aligned vertically. Of course, I was using all the jigs I had, so I plane.

Lost pics... top glued up

Unfortunately, I lost the pictures for the glue-up process. But here it is anyway.
  1. Milled the lumber to 3/4" x 3" x 66".
  2. Drilled 3, 1/2" holes in each board. 2" from each end then in the middle.
  3. I only glued up 4 boards at a time using the all-thread as a makeshift clamp and some Erwin quick clamps.
  4. The last group of boards I glued up 3 of the boards and then routed the dog holes on the other two. More on this later.
  5. I put all the sections together using the all-thread bars and pipe clamps.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My workbench.

Here's what my workbench looked like October of 2006. I drove about 2.5 hours to get a good deal on the hard maple. I think I paid about $2.40 a bft for S2S R1S. The hard part was figuring out exactly how to start.
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