Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Tag: syp roubo

Roubo Build: Jointing Wide Edges Dead Square

Jointing Wide Edges by Hand

Jointing Wide Edges by Hand

Jointing wide edges can be tricky. Fortunately, I did my research. It was time consuming, but not difficult.  If I can do it, so can you.

Before you joint an edge it’s important that you establish a reference face that is flat, straight, and free of twist. I covered how I accomplished this here: Milling the large beams for the Roubo bench top

Once you’ve established a reference face, it’s important to assess the board.

  • What are the major defects?
  • Is there any significant bow along the length?
  • How out-of-square is the edge?

I don’t worry too much about minor cupping. This will be remedied, by running both sides through the planer.

Checking for Bow Along the Length

Checking for Bow Along the Length

In my case, there was some significant bowing. I measured about 1/16th of an inch in the middle of the board using a 48 inch straight edge. The edge was also significantly out of square. I chose to tackle the bow first. I removed the high-ends of the board by taking overlapping diagonal passes with my No. 7. When I was close, I started taking overlapping passes along the length of the board. Start from the outside and work your way towards the center of the board. I continued until there was less than 1/64th of error.

Take Overlapping Passes from the Outside to the Center

Take Overlapping Passes from the Outside to the Center

With the bow removed, I started working on getting the edge square to my reference face. I reassessed the board and mark the low spots with a pencil. Take a shaving from each edge, being careful to avoid your pencil marks. Then work your way inwards taking full-length shavings. Reassess the board every couple of passes. If you’re lucky, one side will be high for the entire length of the board.

Check the Edge for Square Using a Jointed Face as Reference

Check the Edge for Square Using a Jointed Face as Reference

Avoid Your Low Marks

Avoid Your Low Marks

In my case, the board was square for the first 6 inches on one end, high on the right side throughout the middle, and high on the right side for the last 6 inches. Here is how my routine went.

  1. Take a stopped shaving on the left side until I reach my low spot.
  2. Take another shaving on the left starting just after my low spot on the far end
  3. Take a stopped shaving on the right until I reach my low spot on the far end.
  4. Work my way towards the middle with full length shavings.
  5. Reassess the board and repeat
Don't Forget to Mark Your Jointed Edge

Don’t Forget to Mark Your Jointed Edge

Jointing wide edges sounds complicated, but I can assure you it’s not.  Just go slow and check your work frequently.  Don’t hesitate to ask any questions.  Feedback is welcome!

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

Roubo Build: How to Joint Wide Edges Dead Square

Jointing the wide edges of the beams that will be used for the Roubo benchtop

Jointing the wide edges of the beams that will be used for the Roubo benchtop

Jointing wide edges can be tricky. Fortunately, I did my research. It was time consuming, but not difficult.  If I can do it, so can you.

Before you joint an edge it’s important that you establish a reference face that is flat, straight, and free of twist. I covered how I accomplished this here: Milling the large beams for the Roubo bench top

Once you’ve established a reference face, it’s important to assess the board.

  • What are the major defects?
  • Is there any significant bow along the length?
  • How out-of-square is the edge?

I don’t worry too much about minor cupping. This will be remedied, by running both sides through the planer.

Checking for straightness along the length of the beam

Checking for straightness along the length of the beam

In my case, there was some significant bowing. I measured about 1/16th of an inch in the middle of the board using a 48 inch straight edge. The edge was also significantly out of square. I chose to tackle the bow first. I removed the high-ends of the board by taking overlapping diagonal passes with my No. 7. When I was close, I started taking overlapping passes along the length of the board. Start from the outside and work your way towards the center of the board. I continued until there was less than 1/64th of error.

When jointing along the length, take overlapping passes starting from the outside

When jointing along the length, take overlapping passes starting from the outside

With the bow removed, I started working on getting the edge square to my reference face. I reassessed the board and mark the low spots with a pencil. Take a shaving from each edge, being careful to avoid your pencil marks. Then work your way inwards taking full-length shavings. Reassess the board every couple of passes. If you’re lucky, one side will be high for the entire length of the board.

Checking for squareness of the edge using the face as a reference

Checking for squareness of the edge using the face as a reference

Stop planing just before you reach your low marks

Stop planing just before you reach your low marks

In my case, the board was square for the first 6 inches on one end, high on the right side throughout the middle, and high on the right side for the last 6 inches. Here is how my routine went.

  1. Take a stopped shaving on the left side until I reach my low spot.
  2. Take another shaving on the left starting just after my low spot on the far end
  3. Take a stopped shaving on the right until I reach my low spot on the far end.
  4. Work my way towards the middle with full length shavings.
  5. Reassess the board and repeat
Mark out your edge with an arrow that points to your reference face once you achieve a square edge

Mark out your edge with an arrow that points to your reference face once you achieve a square edge

It sounds complicated, but I can assure you it’s not.  Just go slow and check your work frequently.  Don’t hesitate to ask any questions.  Feedback is welcome!

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

Crap Wood for Good Workbenches

I think that anyone interested in building a Roubo should seriously consider yellow pine. I found this post from Christ Schwarz immensely useful in selecting the very best lumber from your local Borg. Build a great bench without breaking the bank.

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

Lost Art Press

KD_woodpile_IMG_0162

A common bench-builder’s lament: “My home center stocks terrible dimensional wood. I went to every store in a 20-mile radius and didn’t find a single board.”

This blog entry is my retort to that complaint. I’ve bought dimensional stock in every region in the United States for workbenches, sawbenches or other workshop equipment. I have never walked away empty-handed. Here are my strategies.

1. 2x4s are for suckers. I buy the widest, longest stock my vehicle can carry. Not only is it clearer, as a rule, but it is cheaper per board foot. The last time I bought a 2×4, Ron Reagan was in the White House. Go for the 2x12s or 2x10s – rip out the pieces you need.

2. Know how the store stacks the wood. The front of the pile is always – always – junk. I’ve watched home center employees carefully stock the dirtiest, knottiest, splittiest…

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Roubo Design Update: What I Learned

Roubo Sketchup

The design is complete.  The bench top might be taking longer than I’d like, but at least I was able to finalize the details.  Does anyone want to donate a powered jointer?

I had a few minutes over my lunch break, and was able to finish the sliding dead-man, bang out a vise chop, add a planing stop, and locate my hold-fast holes.  It might not seem like a lot, but here is what I learned.

  1. Planning out all of the details will help you work out problems you might not see otherwise.
  2. I don’t really need bench dogs or dog holes.  A planing stop will work better for me.
  3. I often joint long boards.  A sliding dead-man will make it easy to support long boards
  4. Thinking about how I work allowed me to plan out the location of hold-fast holes before I turned my bench top into Swiss cheese

Back to work.  I hope to have a completed bench top soon.

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

Roubo Build: Milling the Beams for the Top

Trusty Jack

My trusty Type 11 Stanley No. 5, made quick work of milling these beams by hand.

Milling large beams by hand, can be very intimidating. I had a few boards slip during glue-up and was afraid it would take forever to correct. Fortunately, a sharp jack plane with a cambered iron made quick work of the rough milling for the Roubo bench top.

Glueup Slippage

These boards slipped during glue-up

I started by planing with the grain until I leveled out any misaligned boards.  I would usually start planing across the grain, but in this case I could remove the same amount of material in one long pass with the grain as I could several short strokes across the grain.  In the picture above, you can how some of the boards slipped during glue up.  I should have taken more effort to keep the boards properly aligned during the glue up.

Marking out the beams

Marking out your work, allows you to track your progress

Once I had leveled out the high boards, I marked out the entire beam with pencil.  This will allow me to track my progress.  Be sure to mark from edge to edge.  Now it was time to get to work.  I hope you ate your Wheaties!

Planing Cross Grain

Planing cross grain will flatten the board. It’s particularly good at remove cupping.

Next, I start flattening the beam by planing across the grain.  This is particularly good at removing cupping.  These beams are just over 5 inches wide, so it would be easy to round over the edges planing 90 degrees to the grain.  Instead, I planed down the length at 45 degrees one way, and back down the other way.  My iron is heavily cambered and leaves a visibly scalloped surface.  That’s okay.  All I am shooting for is a face that’s flat and straight enough to run through the planer.  It does not need to be super smooth.  I continue until all of my pencil marks have been removed.

Ultimately, I just want to make sure that the surface is straight and free of any bumps.  You can check for any bumps along the length of your plank by using a straightedge or the blade of a square.

The winding sticks are showing a fair amount of twist

The winding sticks are showing a fair amount of twist

The next task is to check the beam for twist using a pair of winding sticks.  The winding sticks will exaggerate the twist and tell you where your high spots are.  I like to keep one stick stationary at one end of the board, and run the other down the length, checking in 3 or 4 places.  In this case, I noted that the rear stick read high on the right for the entire length of the board.  Instead of removing material from the entire length, it was easier to remove a small amount of material from the front left, to match the rest of the board.

No twist

No twist

Checking for bow

Checking for bow

Once you have your plank flat and free of twist, you need to ensure that it’s reasonably straight.  I do this, by using the longest straight edge I have.  In this case, it was a 4 foot level I know to by reasonably straight.  Be sure to check in several places.  I was lucky.  This board was nearly dead straight.  However, if you have a bump or concavity, it’s just a matter of marking and removing the high spots.

I didn’t feel the need to break out the No. 7 for this task.  Running the beams through the planer will produce an parallel surface that is straight, free-of-twist, and smooth.  It’s just a matter of flipping the board over and getting the other side smooth.  The No. 7 will come in handy when flattening the bench top after the final glue up.

Please, let me know if you have any questions.  I will cover the rest of the milling process and the final glue up of the top in a future article.  Don’t miss it.

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

Roubo Build: Rough Milling the Beams for the Bench Top

Rough milling always starts with my trusty Jack plane

Rough milling always starts with my trusty Jack plane

Rough milling large beams by hand, can be very intimidating. I had a few boards slip during glue-up and was afraid it would take forever to correct. Fortunately, a sharp jack plane with a cambered iron made quick work of the rough milling for the Roubo bench top.

Glue up slippage

Glue up slippage

I started by planing with the grain until I leveled out any misaligned boards.  I would usually start planing across the grain, but in this case I could remove the same amount of material in one long pass with the grain as I could several short strokes across the grain.  In the picture above, you can how some of the boards slipped during glue up.  I should have taken more effort to keep the boards properly aligned during the glue up.

Mark out your board

Mark out your board

Once I had leveled out the high boards, I marked out the entire beam with pencil.  This will allow me to track my progress.  Be sure to mark from edge to edge.  Now it was time to get to work.  I hope you ate your Wheaties!

Planing cross grain is particularly good at removing cupping

Planing cross grain is particularly good at removing cupping

Next, I start flattening the beam by planing across the grain.  This is particularly good at removing cupping.  These beams are just over 5 inches wide, so it would be easy to round over the edges planing 90 degrees to the grain.  Instead, I planed down the length at 45 degrees one way, and back down the other way.  My iron is heavily cambered and leaves a visibly scalloped surface.  That’s okay.  All I am shooting for is a face that’s flat and straight enough to run through the planer.  It does not need to be super smooth.  I continue until all of my pencil marks have been removed.

Ultimately, I just want to make sure that the surface is straight and free of any bumps.  You can check for any bumps along the length of your plank by using a straightedge or the blade of a square.

The winding sticks are showing a fair amount of twist

The winding sticks are showing a fair amount of twist

The next task is to check the beam for twist using a pair of winding sticks.  The winding sticks will exaggerate the twist and tell you where your high spots are.  I like to keep one stick stationary at one end of the board, and run the other down the length, checking in 3 or 4 places.  In this case, I noted that the rear stick read high on the right for the entire length of the board.  Instead of removing material from the entire length, it was easier to remove a small amount of material from the front left, to match the rest of the board.

The twist has been removed.

The twist has been removed.

Checking for Bow Along the Length

Checking for Bow Along the Length

Once you have your plank flat and free of twist, you need to ensure that it’s reasonably straight.  I do this, by using the longest straight edge I have.  In this case, it was a 4 foot level I know to by reasonably straight.  Be sure to check in several places.  I was lucky.  This board was nearly dead straight.  However, if you have a bump or concavity, it’s just a matter of marking and removing the high spots.

I didn’t feel the need to break out the No. 7 for this task.  Running the beams through the planer will produce an parallel surface that is straight, free-of-twist, and smooth.  It’s just a matter of flipping the board over and getting the other side smooth.  The No. 7 will come in handy when flattening the bench top after the final glue up.

Please, let me know if you have any questions.  I will cover the rest of the milling process and the final glue up of the top in a future article.  Don’t miss it.

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

Benchtop Lamination Follow Up

Bench Top Sections Glued Up

Bench Top Sections Glued Up

I finished the last section of my bench top and I learned some valuable lessons along the way. Overall, things went well, but there are a few things I would do differently in the future. The biggest challenge was the sheer number of boards for the top and their cumbersome length.

Here are the tips I found most useful:

  • Rehearse your glue up before applying any glue – do this for each section
  • Skip planing is more than fine for this type of glue-up, but beware of hard-to-see snipe
  • Before milling, cleanup your shop. There’s nothing worse than tripping over things will ripping 8 ft long boards in a small shop.
  • A small paint roller speeds up glue application
  • Use glue with a long open time. Titebond Extend will give you plenty of time to get your boards coated and aligned
  • Take your time. I ended up with a couple of sections that have a board slightly misaligned. Even an error of 1/16th will add a lot of work to the final milling
  • Don’t skimp on edge jointing, before ripping your boards to width. This will help ease alignment during your glue-up.
  • Don’t skimp on the glue.
  • While we’re at it, don’t skimp on the clamps.  Use as many as you have.
  • If using a resinous wood, wipe the surfaces down with a fast drying solvent before applying glue.  This will allow the glue to penetrate deeper.
  • Allow the squeeze out to become leathery and scrape as much off as possible before it fully hardens

If anyone else out there has similar experience, what tips did you find useful?

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

Bench Top Lamination Follow Up

Beams for the Roubo Bench Top

Beams for the Roubo Bench Top

I finished the last section of my bench top lamination and  learned some valuable lessons along the way. Overall, things went well, but there are a few things I would do differently in the future. The biggest challenge was the sheer number of boards for the top and their cumbersome length.

Here are the tips I found most useful:

  • Rehearse your glue up before applying any glue – do this for each section
  • Skip planing is more than fine for this type of glue-up, but beware of hard-to-see snipe
  • Before milling, cleanup your shop. There’s nothing worse than tripping over things will ripping 8 ft long boards in a small shop.
  • A small paint roller speeds up glue application
  • Use glue with a long open time. Titebond Extend will give you plenty of time to get your boards coated and aligned
  • Take your time. I ended up with a couple of sections that have a board slightly misaligned. Even an error of 1/16th will add a lot of work to the final milling
  • Don’t skimp on edge jointing, before ripping your boards to width. This will help ease alignment during your glue-up.
  • Don’t skimp on the glue.
  • While we’re at it, don’t skimp on the clamps.  Use as many as you have.
  • If using a resinous wood, wipe the surfaces down with a fast drying solvent before applying glue.  This will allow the glue to penetrate deeper.
  • Allow the squeeze out to become leathery and scrape as much off as possible before it fully hardens

If anyone else out there has similar experience, what tips did you find useful?

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

Sketchup to the Rescue

Roubo

While reviewing the instructions for my Bench Crafted leg vise, I realized that the location of the tenon for my front stretcher was going to interfere with the mortise of the criss-cross. Bench Crafted provides details on how to work around this if you’re using their nuts and bolts. However, I wanted to stay as traditional as possible and drawbore the stretchers. I quickly turned to SketchUp to see what could be done.

After tinkering around a bit, I discovered that the solution wouldn’t be difficult at all. I need to move the location of the mortise for the stretcher back a bit. I want to have at least half an inch between the two mortises. The original location was 1 1/4 inch behind the front edge of the leg. Moving the mortise back to 2 inches gives me room to spare. I will also need to thicken the front stretcher in order for it to remain flush with the front of the legs.

Leg Joints

Criss-cross Mortise on the left, and stretcher on the right

Crisis averted.

The only thing I have left to do is layout the dog / holdfast holes, and design the vise chop.

If you’re not yet using SketchUp for your projects, I would highly recommend you look into it. The software is free and there’s a great instructional series on http://sketchupforwoodworkers.com/

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index

Lamination without Lamentation

Laminated Assembly in Clamps

Laminated Assembly in Clamps

This was the first time I’ve ever attempted laminating boards for a bench top. To say that I was a bit nervous would be an understatement. What if I experienced delamination? What if I couldn’t get the boards aligned properly? What if I ended up with miscellaneous items accidentally glued to my laminated assembly?  In the end, my fears were put to rest, and careful planning resulted in a successful lamination.

With the individual boards ripped to width, I just need to finish milling them.  Most of the boards were quartersawn with little cupping or twist.  I didn’t see much benefit in jointing a face, so I just ran both sides through my lunch box planer.  I marked grain direction on the edge of each board, so that I could ensure the grain would run in the same direction for the entire assembly.  Next, I did a dry run to figure out the best location for each board.  I wanted the outside boards to bow inwards, so that I would end up with a spring joint.  I also wanted to make sure that I could close up any gaps by hand.

After a deliberate rehearsal, It was time to get started. I double checked to make sure that everything was in its right place. I made sure that my workbench and floor surfaces were protected. Then, I laid out several clamps, placed my boards on top, and made sure they were in the correct order. Next, I wiped down the surface of each board with acetone. This will remove any resin and help the glue penetrate better. Using a small 6″ paint roller, I carefully rolled on Titebond Extend wood glue on one face of each board. I carefully aligned the boards and started clamping down the outermost clamps. I proceeded to add clamps every 6″ or so, alternating top to bottom. I ended up using 12 clamps total. The only thing left, was to wait.

I decided to leave the assembly in clamps for approximately 24 hours. I was terrified that I would release the final clamp, only to have the assembly explode in a shower of splinters and sawdust. Fortunately for me, this was not the case. Everything held up very well. The glue lines are nice and tight on both sides.

There are only two things I will do differently for the next assembly. I will apply glue to both faces of every joint, and I will scrape the excess glue off before it fully hardens.

Stay tuned.

You can find links to my other Roubo posts here:  Project Index