Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Tag: workbench

Troubleshooting Holdfast Issues

After boring the first few holdfast holes, I realized that I had serious issues.  My holdfasts simply weren’t biting.  Often, they were jumping around in their holes.  I had to find a solution, and fast.

The bench top is 4-1/2 inches thick.  The holdfast holes are 3/4 inch in diameter.  I am using Gramercy holdfasts.  They are very well made, and should survive years of abuse.  I did some research and determined that the most likely cause was the thickness of the bench top.  How could I resolve this with the holes already bored?

I received some excellent advice from my friends on Twitter and decided that I would counter bore the holes from the bottom with a large diameter hole.  To center the holes, I inserted a piece of 3/4 inch dowel.  After some trial and error, I determined that the most effective nominal thickness was around 3 inches.  The holdfasts work beautifully.  The solution was quick and easy.

I need to clean up the surfaces and coat everything in boiled linseed oil.  Then, I will finally be able to start my first project on the Roubo.  Stay tuned

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

IMG_5420

Holdfast in action

Roubo Workbench: I Met the Devil…

…and he lives in the details.

I thought I would have completed the Roubo workbench by now.  I’m getting close, but these little tasks add up.

Roubo Workbench Shelf

The finished shelf

I did finish the shelf.  I created 1-1/4″ square ledgers and screwed them to each of my stretchers.  These are the only screws found on the entire workbench.  The shelves rest on the ledgers.  I milled up some of my remaining 2 x 12 stock to make 6 shelf boards.  With the shelf boards 4-square, I cut notches in the end boards for the legs.  Then I cut my shiplap joints and fit the boards.  I had to fine-tune the last board to get the fit I wanted.

cutting the shiplap joint

Cutting the shiplap joint with the rabbet plane

shilapped board for shelf

A finished board

I still have to bore out hold-fast holes.  Aside from that, I just need to decide if I will finish the bench or not.  What do you think?  An oil finish will prevent moisture wicking, but might increase the slickness of the top.  I’m currently leading towards BLO.

Stay tuned for the project finish.

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

 

 

Dead-men Tell No Tales

Mother’s Day was this past weekend (I hope none of you forgot), and I’m on-call this week for my day job.  As a result, I haven’t gotten as much done on the workbench as I would like.  However, I did get a few things done.  I finished shaping the vise chop, and I roughed out the sliding dead-man.

Completed Vise Chop

I cut the vise chop to shape on the band saw and then jointed the edges.  Then, I attacked the bevels with my low-angle jack plane.  The bevels on the vise chop are a little tricky without some sort of guide.  You just need to watch your lines and adjust your angle of attack when necessary.  The Bench Crafted hardware is now permanently installed, it the action is sweet.  I really prefer the classic look to the more polished glide models.

Sliding Dead-man

With the chop complete, I started working on the sliding dead-man.  I picked the best looking board left, and milled it square.  I had trouble figuring out how I could cut the bevel on the bottom of the board.  I ended up cutting it very carefully on the band saw.  Then I cleaned it up with a chisel.  This worked surprisingly well.

With the bevel cut, I marked a line on the board where it met the top.  I measured down half the distance of the groove in the top, and struck a second line.  This will be the shoulder for my rabbet.  I cut the shoulder with a backsaw, and the cheek on the band saw.  From there, it was just a matter of tweaking the length of the tenon until I could get the bottom groove on the stretcher.  Next, I’ll clean up the curves and bore some peg holes.

Roubo Workbench

The only thing I have left to do is build a shelf and bore my hold-fast holes.  I’ve already been using the bench.  In fact, I used it to mill up the dead-man.

Stay tuned…

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

A Quick Roubo Workbench Update

The Almost-Complete 2015 Roubo Workbench

The Almost-Complete 2015 Roubo Workbench

With the base attached to the top, I was able to get the Roubo workbench flipped so I could finish the details.  Despite weighing nearly 300 lbs, I managed this myself.  The saw-benches are the perfect height for this operation.  You just need to go slow, and be careful.  I’m thinking about making a quick video of the process.  I think it could be helpful for those who might want to do some updates on their heavy workbench.

I chamfered the bottoms of the legs and bored hold-fast holes in the front, right leg.  I also assembled the leg-vise and gave it a quick test.  The Bench Crafted hardware is sweet.  I can almost close the vise from full-open with a single spin of the bar.

I started flattening the top, and will post a separate article detailing the process.  Once that is complete, I need to shape the vise chop, make a sliding-deadman, build a shelf, and bore hold-fast holes.  Then, I’ll finally be able to build some furniture on the bench.

Stay tuned.

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

Roubo Workbench Build: Draw Boring the Base

I did a lot of research while designing my Roubo workbench.  There are many ways to bring everything together.  However, my favorite approach was draw boring the mortise and tenon joints.  There is no need for any glue, and the joint should stay tight for ages.  As of my last post, I didn’t think I would be able to do this, but I found a way to work my issues.

For the unaware, a draw bored joint is when you drive a peg through a mortise and tenon to pull everything together.  The tenon hole is offset slightly towards the shoulder so that the peg pulls the shoulder tight when you drive the peg through the hole.

Bore your holes, using a piece of scrap to prevent blow-out.

Bore your holes, using a piece of scrap to prevent blow-out.

First, bore holes through the mortise walls.  It helps to use a piece of strap to prevent blow out on the other side.  I bored my holes to go at least one inch through the far side of the mortise.

Reassemble the joint

Reassemble the joint

Mark your tenons

Mark your tenons

Next, reassemble the joint and mark your tenons.  I used the same brad point bit, that I used to bore through the mortise walls.

Offset the holes on your tenons by about 3/32

Offset the holes on your tenons by about 3/32

Offset your marks towards the shoulder.  I used an offset of about 3/32 of an inch.  Bore your holes in your tenons and assemble the joint.

A close up of the draw bore offset

A close up of the draw bore offset

Here, you can see the offset holes.  When you drive the pegs, they will pull everything tight.  The pegs will actually deform and act as a spring.

Tapering the pegs help them start more easily.

Tapering the pegs help them start more easily.

I tapered the ends of all of my pegs to help them follow the correct path through the joint.  I also cut all of my pegs about an inch long, so that I could cut them flush later.

Legs pegged to the top

Legs pegged to the top

I assembled the entire base and drove the legs to the top first.  I used a large dead blow hammer to drive the pegs.  I tried to line up the grain of the pegs with the grain of the top, but the pegs all spun as I drove them.  There’s not much I can do about that.  I’ll just have to live with it.

I drove the pegs for the front stretcher from the rear

I drove the pegs for the front stretcher from the rear

Due to the thickness of the front stretcher, I ended up driving the draw bore pegs from the rear.  It worked out nicely.

A close up of the drawbored joints

A close up of the drawbored joints

Workbench draw bored together.

Workbench draw bored together.

Now that the base is finally complete, I just need to work out the details.  I have to flatten the top, bore holdfast holes, and finish the vise chop and sliding deadman.   Stay tuned.

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

Roubo Workbench Build: Leg Tenons the Hybrid Way – Video

I intended to demonstrate cutting the large leg tenons for the Roubo workbench build two different ways: by hand and with the aid of a band saw.  Unfortunately, my camera shifted while I was cutting the tenon cheeks.  Consequently, you’ll only get to see my poor cross-cutting skills today.

Marking Out

I like to start by marking out my shoulders.  I prefer to do this using a square against the long grain, as opposed to using a cutting gauge against the end grain.  I get more consistent results.  I hold the square using my thumb against the stock and one or two fingers on the blade.  Make sure that you draw straight back with your knife.  Start with one or two light cuts, and gradually increase pressure.  Flip your piece, place your knife in your previous line, reference your square off of your knife, and repeat.  Always make sure that you are referencing your square off of your face or face edge.

Once I have my shoulders marked out, I move on to the cheeks.  I use a simple wheel gauge for the cheeks.  I set the fence and give it a couple of quick passes for each side.  There really isn’t much to describe here.  When I’m finished, I like to darken all of my lines with a mechanical pencil.

Cutting the Shoulders

With the marking out-of-the-way, I move on to the shoulders.  In the video above, I am using a small backsaw.  Before I start sawing, I make a little trench on the waste side of my work piece with a chisel.  This gives my saw a little groove in which to ride.

I start by drawing the saw back a few times.  This deepens the groove, and helps ensure I stay on track.  Next, I take a few light passes on the far corner, and lower the saw plate until I’m taking cuts across the entire width of the leg.  At this point, I saw down to the baselines at the corners to make sure that my cut stays square.  I finish the cut by removing the triangle left in the center.

Cutting the Cheeks

This is the easy part.  I believe this is the best way to cut tenons.  If you have a band saw and haven’t given it a try, what are you waiting for?  Simply line up the fence to the waste side of your line, and go.  Cut down to your shoulder line, flip and repeat.  It’s fast, easy, and produces a nice square cut (assuming you set up your band saw properly).

Cleaning Up

With the waste removed it’s time to start cleaning up the shoulders.  The band saw produces square cheeks right off the saw.  I will mark the mortises directly from the tenons.  There is no need for them to be identical, only need square.

Use a chisel and deepen your knife line on all three sides of your shoulder.  Then, take over-lapping passes from on side to the other using your knife line as a reference.  If you’ve left too much waste, you might have to take a couple of passes.  It’s easier than trying to remove 1/16 or more in a single pass.  Check your work with a small square.  I undercut mine by a few thousandths.

Stay tuned.  Mortises are next.

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

Music: Good Old War – My Own Sinking Ship

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

Bench Top Lamination without Lamentation

Bench Top Lamination in Clamps

Bench Top Lamination in Clamps

This was the first time I’ve ever attempted a large bench top lamination. 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

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