A Home For Saws

As I’m still in the progress of getting my shop organized there is one thing that I’ve been putting off and on the back burner to other projects; finding a home for my saws. Currently they just sit where ever they fit and that’s usually on top of the cutoff bin.

saw clutter

Even after I used a good portion of the wood from the bed for the assembly table, I still have a lot left so I thought it would be a good project to use a lot of the smaller pieces I have.

saw case pieces

I first thing I did was make four panels with three 1×4 pieces. I’m not even sure what the overall length was but I managed to get three panels flattened to 5/8″ and one to 9/16″ thick. Before I moved on I began to think about design. My initial intent was to make a typical saw till. One where you stand the saw on their handle vertically and rest the blade in the kerf of another piece of wood. I had laid out my pieces and used my saws to get an idea of the overall size and shape but my pieces were looking like they might be too short for what I was wanting. I could have made it work but I started looking for other ideas. Long story short I found an old Popular Woodworking article about storing saws. In there I saw this picture and knew where I wanted to take my design. sawcaseI don’t know why but I just liked this type of stroage better. Following this design the first thing I needed to do was get the angle that would best fit for the saw to hang. The first number to pop into my head was 22°. This was not steep enough for the angle of the handle so I tried again. I used a protractor to best determine the angle and came up with 35°. To test it out I laid a ruler until it made contact along the handle of the saw and lined it up with the 35° line I made on the panel. Looked vertical enough to me. saw angleNow that I had my angle set it was just a matter of figuring how I would put it all together. Two of the panels that were 5/8″ think would be used as the side and would be rabbeted into the front 9/16″ panel and the last 5/8″ panel would be the top. I decided not to enclose it completely and leave the back open. Keeping it all together I used a 2″ wide piece and connected the top by dovetail (don’t mind the horrible rabbet)

sawcase top dovetailAnd also about midway down the backside.

sawcase back dovetailAfter a couple of dry fits to make sure everything fit together properly it was time for the glue up.

sawcase glue upFitting the top actually occurred after this even though there is already one picture of it a little bit ago. For this I cut the rabbets and then kept planing away material until everything fit. That probably doesn’t make much sense but it worked for me. Once I had a snug fit I needed to make the kerfs for the saws to rest in. I currently have 6 hand saws that need a home and since the wife told me I was cut off from getting anymore I space everything out evenly for only six and no more.

saw case spacing

This was actually perfect because it gave just enough room for each saw without overcrowding. The cutting of the kerf wasn’t wide enough to allow all saws to be seated at once so I used a thin file to widen things a bit until every saw fit without being forced in. sawcase dry fitThe last thing to do was glue the top on. To keep things evenly spaced I used pennies between each kerf.

pennies in kerfsWhen it was all said and done my saws seem comfortable in their new home. IMG_6297sawcase backBefore you ask, yes a couple plates are a little bent but I wanted to try my hand at straightening them (at some point). Like most of my shop gear, she may not be pretty but she gets the job done!

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Taking it All Apart

I’ve been using my assembly table for a couple weeks now and this weekend I felt it was time to try and finish it up. I don’t know why but my brain somehow managed to take that to mean let’s take it all apart and start over. Not completely start over but close enough.

IMG_6238Like I had mentioned in my last post I never glued any of the joints so I thought that’s where I would start so I won’t be able to take it apart again. I had also mentioned using a hook type of mortise and tenon (not sure if it’s an actual type of joint) and didn’t get any pictures but since it was all apart I got a snap in.

IMG_6240With everything glued up I decided I wanted to start on the cabinet portion. What seems like what should have been an easy solution actually took me about two days of brain storming. Again using only what I have on hand my idea just happened to work perfectly. It’s just two pieces of plywood that were already the perfect size to be notched to fit in the top rails.

IMG_6243I don’t know exactly how tall they were since everything was just relative dimensioning. All I know is that they were tall enough to fit securely and short enough at add spacers on the top without interfering with the table top.

IMG_6246With the carcase done it was time to work on the the drawers. Again, being horrible at actually documenting as I work, I knocked out the first one without a single image of the progress. It all went together smoothly other than the fact that it’s a little narrow in the back. I measured about 1/8″ short but you can’t tell by just looking at it.

IMG_6260As you can see I still haven’t added a bottom but here’s one down, not sure home many more to go. It’s a little deep at 5-3/8″ but that’s what I had on hand and didn’t feel like ripping it down. I can just add a sliding tray later on if need be. Maybe one more this size and the rest with the 1×4 boards. Well the kids are down so I guess it’s time to head back out to the shop and start the next drawer.

Assembly/Finishing Table (with a long back story)

Over the past couple of months I haven’t been all that active in the world of woodworking and even less here on my blog. I spent so much time and effort to complete my bench towards the end of last year that when it was all said and done I think I just burnt myself out. My next goal was to get my shop organized. Project one was lumber storage and I knocked that out in a matter of a weekend though the lack of functionality of how everything was set up was still bothering me. That and I can’t ever seem to keep things clean out there. So instead of moving piles of crap from one work surface to the next, I decided that I was finally going to move my whole shop around. Here is what I was putting up with to start out with.

IMG_6165The front left side of the garage is pretty much dedicated to lawn maintenance and machinery. I had my lumber storage and saw bench here and would transition to my workbench after cutting my pieces to size.

IMG_6164

Here is where things got really messed up. I get my woodworking funding from selling frames. The table in the back is supposed to be my finishing table but as you can tell, it was just full of crap. EVERYTHING was done on my bench. That really sucked because if I had more than one project going at a time then I was just moving things from one pile to the other. That little cabinet you see behind the roll of craft paper was supposed to house my framing supplies but turned into a crappy tool storage.

IMG_6163

My woodworking area ended at the shelving where all my CIF gear is at on the floor next to the boxes. The mat cutter on the wall was supposed to be the next stop in the frame building with the cabinet being the last stop where I would get everything assembled and ready to ship. If you couldn’t tell, everything was supposed to flow from left to right and be productive to frame making. It lasted about a day and everything just turned to a mess.

IMG_6166Here is the last area of the garage. Not shop area, garage. Notice those bed pieces? They’ve been hanging out in the garage for quite a few months now. I had built three beds for my kids while in Pensacola but after we moved here my wife wanted to get the kids bunk beds so they’ve just been collecting dust because I knew I could find a use for the wood. And boy did I!

I’ve been wanting to do a few shop projects for a while but lacked the funding since I haven’t been all that productive. When I started moving things around in the garage I had thought about where to put the bed pieces when I dawned on me; break the beds down and use the wood for a piece of shop furniture! So simple I was mad I hadn’t thought of it sooner. Luckily they were built with a dowelmax and getting them apart wasn’t that difficult. These were one of the last things built while I still had all my power tools so everything was pretty square and straight. That was especially important because I wasn’t digging the stained pine so I ran my #7 over these boards until most of the stain was off. I didn’t measure or check square because it was just shop furniture and that’s just how I roll. IMG_6181The entire basis of this table is based off of available materials. The height, width and length are all determined by what I had on hand only. Here you can see that my design aspects slightly relate to my bench.

IMG_6182The beds may have been built with a dowelmax but the joinery here is all mortise and tenon.

IMG_6185I really didn’t take many other pictures of the building progress but here she is mostly done and already full of crap. IMG_6228The top is two sheets of MDF screwed together that I’ve been trying to use for what seems like forever. I also screwed a skirt around the top as a temp look. I’m gonna glue some planed boards to the top but as it was mostly done and I really needed to use it I just threw those on to cover the edges of the MDF. Although I didn’t go for the haunched dovetailed tenon, I did feel it needed a little jazzing up.

IMG_6230Nothing pretty but again, shop furniture. I’m not a furniture designer but I did go with the dovetailed tenon for a reason. With my bench, the base is nice and stable because the tenons on top of the legs sit in the mortises of the benchtop. With these legs, there was no tenon so I added two rails under the top that hook into the legs to give support to the top as well as help square things up. IMG_6231These aren’t exactly mortised but rather hook into the base. I didn’t get a picture of the rail hook but here is it’s mating piece. IMG_6202The main reason for both these types of joinery was to still use what I had on hand only, or lack there of. In this case clamps. If I had done basic mortise and tenon, I would have had to glued and clamped them down all at once. I don’t have enough clamps that long. So with the hooked rails to the top, I could establish the distance of the the length of the top and since the bottom stretchers are dovetailed, I could just hammer them in from the side without worrying that they would spread apart. Make sense? Well in the world of Dan it definitely does. It’s not complete because I am going to add a cabinet on the bottom where all my finishing supplies are hanging out right now. That’s gonna help me use up some plywood that I’ve been trying to get rid of as well. That will most likely be a trip to the hobby shop though so I can knock it out in an afternoon. I hope to have this all finished up by the end of the month so stay tuned for that. I’ll also have an update on the reorganization of the entire shop soon.

FINISHED! The Split Top Hybrid Roubo

As the year comes to an end, so does my biggest woodworking accomplishment to date. It’s been seven months in the making (well five if you don’t include the two months I was gone) but I can finally say that my bench is done!  Split Top Hybrid Roubo At this point in time, I’ve decided not to use a finish on the bench. I’ve read many discussions and articles on the topic and to my own conclusion I’m leaving her al naturale. As you can see, I did decided to add the chisel holder on the side where I mis-measured.

IMG_5733It almost seems like it was all intended. Making it was quite easy. There was the set up.

IMG_5719

The layout.

IMG_5720And then cutting the dados.

IMG_5726Yes, the magnet is a bit of an overkill for just a ruler but since I had it on hand I figured I might as well use it. I attached it with two wood screws and basically fixed my mistake.

The center piece worked out better than I hoped.

IMG_5725The space between the two tops was 2-3/8″ so just shy of using three laminated pieces of 3/4″ stock. I used S4S pine from the big box store to knock this out. Only the center pieces were milled to get a snug fit. In order to get the flush fit on top I needed to notch out the space where frame was.

IMG_5721Again some simple dados.

IMG_5724

Once these two projects were knocked out it was time to attach the top to the base. For this I took off the top and measured 6″ from the sides and centered on the base and drilled through with 3/8″ auger bit. I put back on the top, marked where the hole was on the bottom of the top, removed the top, drilled that hole in the top, and reattached the top. I would have liked to sink the lag screws into the frame but I didn’t plan ahead so there was not enough clearance to drill from the bottom. They are attached with 1/2″ x 3-1/2″ lag screws but I’m gonna extend those to 4-1/2″ at a later time.

With everything done, it was time to flatten it all. Overall it wasn’t too bad but my left side was sitting a little low. IMG_5713About 20 min worth of planing produced a flat top.

IMG_5736And here’s a shot with the center piece flipped.

IMG_5737It extends 3/8″ above the surface and works great. I actually used it to finish up the chisel holder.

IMG_5730IN SUMMARY:

This bench was built entirely with hand tools. Not a single  power tool was used. Plans were modified by me from Fine Woodworking’s Hybrid Roubo Bench. Other than a couple of S4S pieces of pine, all the wood used is construction grade 2×6 from a big box store. Vise hardware for the wagon and leg vises are from Lie-Nielsen. I wish I would have documented actual build time but it took five months of weekend and after kids go to bed shop time. Thanks for looking.

Assembling the Base

Out of all the joinery for the bench, I think this wedged through dovetail mortise and tenon was the most nerve racking. Considering I haven’t been doing the hand tool thing for too long, successfully assembling this joint would a big accomplishment for me. Although it may not seem like it, the layout was a bit tricky to read off the plans and to make it more complicated I had to modify them to fit my dimensions. Looking at it now it doesn’t see like it should have been but I guess it was the intimidation factor for me.

Here’s the inside..

And the outside layout.

The “x” marked areas serve as straight through mortise. Now I’m not sure how most do their through mortises by hand but I found it easier to drill my holes out about 1/2ish the way through

And then (mostly) clean it all up

Before flipping it over and drilling out the rest.

Once the through mortise is all complete…

It’s time to work on the angled portion of the mortise. To do this I first established a kerf that is angled down to the marked line up to the edge on the opposite side.

And slowly work back until the kerf line is gone.

Next was tackling the inset portion. To make things a little easier I made a series of kerfs with my little pull saw. It’s a lot easier to pull away from the wall while sawing then push against it. From there is was a matter of carefully chipping out the waste until I was about 1/8″ away from my line.

After I get the last bit out of the corner I take it all down to my scribe line and clean things up as best as possible.

Yes, I know she’s not a looker but she gets the job done. Also considering I’m using such a soft construction grade pine, I do have to say that it did turn out well, IMO.

Next of course comes the tenon portion. For this I must admit I somewhat cheated. The total thickness for the stretchers are 2″. As you know, 2 x 6 dimensioned lumber is 1-1/2 x 5-1/2 and when I mill things up I usually get about 1-1/4″ to 1-3/8″ depending on the board. I didn’t want to put two of these pieces together and end up with 2-1/2″ to 2-3/4″ to have to thickness down to 2″. So I just bought some S4S boards from the big box store when I went back to get a couple more 2 x 6’s.

Layout for the mortise was much simpler. I’d love to show you but I was on a roll in the shop. Once I dry fit the first one and saw how great it fit I didn’t stop for pictures. Cutting out the tenons was  a much simpler task. It was just three cuts. The first cut was for the 1″ shoulder, then I went down the board and cut the cheek. Lastly was the angled haunched portion. Here is the end result.

After I cleaned things up and fit each joint individually, I assembled the whole base.

As you can see I  also fit the top at this point. I must say, I do love it. Although I knew the dimensions when I began building, it is a little smaller than I thought. By no means is that an issue, I still think it’s the perfect size for me and my projects. I just have to remember that the zoom function in SketchUp doesn’t mean larger in real life.

I’ve also already added the leg vise hardware and will write a post about that when that portion is all complete. I even made a couple of bench dogs and although she’s not complete, she is 100% useable. All that’s left with the base is adding the shelf, making the wedges and do a final clean up of all the joints and edges before setting her in place.

Finishing the Wagon Vise

Well I was finally able to get back in the shop since arriving back home last Sunday. It wasn’t easy though. I kinda left the garage in a disarray when I left and it was no better when I got back. Yeah, that’s supposed to be my shop area… Well after three days of on and off again cleaning, I finally got my side of the garage in a usable state.

So now my first state of business was finishing the wagon vise! Before I can start on today events, let me catch up on what was done before I left to Yuma. After I finished my tenon part of my end cap it was time to cut out the mortises.

I don’t mean to brag but these mortises pretty much fit like a glove from the get go.

Next was getting the hole cut out for the screw portion of the wagon vise. Since the threaded rod has a 1″ diameter I established the center with a number 16 auger bit between the spacer and made my mark.

Once I had the center outlined I placed the threaded insert over the outline and traced it.

After it was traced I finished drilling the hole through the end cap…

And then I chopped down to the depth of the hardware and marked my holes and drilled for the mounting screws.

I did have to add a little bit of a chamfer to the edges to make room for the welding on the hardware. Once I mounted the hardware and went to dry fit it, I found out there was one little problem. Again, since the hardware was an after thought, things didn’t quite line up.

So I marked the edges of the hardware on the bench top the and cut back to the depth of the mounting bracket. Once everything was nice and flush, I left to WTI.

Now we come to today. There was one issue that was making this whole set up a real PITA. When you tightened the screw that secures the mounting piece on the moveable portion of the vise, it makes contact with the bracket before bottoming out which causes it to tighten the bracket rather then letting it spin freely. Therefore when you loosen the vise it would unscrew completely. To correct this issue I cut the top off a small screw and placed it in the screw hole to act as a spacer to give clearance between the bracket and screw.

Now I know in my last post about the vise I mentioned how I did not want to use any metal fasteners on this bench. Well while in Yuma I came to the conclusion that since I’m dealing with pine, to best reinforce the end cap it might be best to go ahead and use them. Luckily for me I already had some lag bolts and washers from a previous project that I never used. I marked for three bolt and drilled about 3/4″ down. From the center of the auger bit it continued with a 5/16″ drill bit for the 3/8″ bolts. I elongated the two back bolt about 1/16″ and 1/8″ respectively. Nothing fancy, just some paring away with a chisel.

Once it was all said and done and the end cap was mounted, I installed the vise hardware completely and cleaned up the top and edges. I used a 1″ dowel pegged with a 5/16″ dowel on both ends for the handle. Here she is closed…

And open…

In summary I would have done a lot different. First would obviously be to account for the size of the hardware before building. There won’t be too much flattening of this bad boy since parts of the hardware are almost already flush with the top. I would have also like to use up more of the vise length. There’s about four more inches of unused rod that could have been nice to have. Also, I don’t like how close the left bolt is to the edge but so long as it holds, I guess I’ll try to not let it bug me. Aesthetically, I may go back in a square up the elongated holes. You may or may not be able to tell but they are quite funky in shape.

Other that waxing the sides and runner grooves, I’m calling the wagon vise complete! I don’t have any bench dogs made yet but I did test it out by placing a piece scrap in the middle and clamping it down and boy does she hold. I couldn’t even budge the board! Next is getting the base assembled…

Well That Didn’t Work How I Intended…

When I first thought about building my bench, I didn’t intend on buying any vise hardware. My original plan was to just use a bar clamp on the leg vise and a spreader for the wagon vise. Well if I’m putting so much time and effort to build this bench by hand then why not spend the extra money for presentable hardware?

A couple of weeks ago I went ahead and ordered both the large single screw vise and scandinavian vise screw from Lie-Nielsen. Now if I were building the bench larger and of higher quality materials then of course consider I would consider something like Benchcrafted but since it’s just some construction grade pine, the Lie-Nielsen will do just fine. There was only one major issue…

Since the vise hardware was an after thought, things didn’t quite fit with my current wagon vise set up. The installation would have been impossible without another modification. The other piece of mounting hardware was also an issue but more of being able to drill out the holes for the screws.

There was no room to get anything in there so I was left with one option…

After I cut out the spacer I brought the wagon vise forward and clamped it so I could drill out the holes for the screw holes.

Actually mounting this piece concerned me also due to the fact that since it was going into the block with the dog hole already cut. No matter how I angled it, the left side looked like it was going to pass through. I opted for the top left since it would give me a little more room because the top is angled more forward. The screw just barley broke through but not enough to matter.

Next was getting everything square and ready for the tenons.

I know how I wanted the mortise and tenons to fit but not exactly how to reinforce (I’ll get to that in a minute) so I began the layout. First I knocked out the single tenon with a combination of my sash saw and a flush cut saw. I needed a smaller saw that could get in between the top. After that was done, I started on the shoulders of the larger tenon. When I started to cut the cheeks I had to stop because I kept going at an angle. I didn’t want to stand the bench on end and cut so I tried sideways and that didn’t work. So I began chopping it all away.

I went all the way down to about 1/16″-1/8″

and then crept up on my line with a block rabbet plane.

I flipped it over and when all was said and done, here she is.

Now here are my issues with reinforcement. First, I don’t want to use any metal fasteners. I’ve seen many benches with lag bolts on the end cap and I just don’t want to do that. Unless absolutely necessary, lag bolts are a last resort.

Next, my tenons are 1″ long. Does that offer enough space to insert 3/8″ dowels? If they were centered on the tenon, there would be 5/16″ on each side of the dowel. That just doesn’t seem like enough of the tenon for proper reinforcement. I’m not planning to clamp boards with enough force to bow them so maybe it would be enough?

Lastly is the design aspect. I went with a shorter shoulder on the side more near the wagon vise because I wanted to get a dowel in as close to the wagon vise as possible for better strength. Probably doesn’t matter but I went with it anyway. Here’s what I’m thinking…

As for dealing with expansion, I plan to glue the mortise and dowels on the left side of the vise for a solid foundation. Now I’m think that gluing just the dowel on the right would be okay and then opening up the dowel holes laterally for the last two would allow for any movement.

The total width of the end cap is about 11″ and I know there are formulas to figure expansion and contraction but I think it’ll be fine. Anyone disagree?

On a personal note. On Wed I’ll be leaving to AZ for 9 weeks for some training. My goal is to at least have the end cap and wagon vise installed as well as the left side of the bench fully assembled. Wish me luck!