Saturday, 31 January 2015
New Work Bench Finished.
This has been on my 'to do' list for some time, and a post Xmas lull has given me the time. This is my take on the classic Scandinavian bench with a shoulder vice, there is nothing better for dovetailing!
I owned an original bench made by Lief Carlsson who's father made James Krenov's bench http://www.workbenches.se/en/index.php and it was wonderfully made thing. Although there were a number of niggles I had with the design and so after 4 years I sold it to a friend.
The main change I made was to make the shoulder vice much smaller, it's opening capacity is halved to 4" which is plenty for any work I do and it brings me much closer to the work. This also meant that the reduced overhang didn't require the support of a fifth leg which was always getting in my way. Instead I just reinforced the leg and added some nice curves.
The other changes I made were to greatly shorten the vice handle, make the frame flush with the edge of the top, lower the main rail so I could work seated and raise the overall height to a much more comfortable 37".
You'll also notice the construction was greatly simplified by not having any cross grain timber requiring large dovetails. I just simply went for 4" timber all the way through which makes it as solid as a rock. I decided to stick with the tool well, not so much for it's usefulness, but to reduce the weight of the top as I intend to take this bench to shows.
Instead of the traditional hugely complicated tail vice, I installed a very neat inset vice made by HNT Gordon http://www.hntgordon.com.au/bench-vices.html This took less than an hour to mark out and fit. Having a 1/2" router with spiral bit certainly speeded up material removal. Personally I don't use a tail vice but this will be useful at shows for customers trying out my planes.
An article on the making of this bench will be appearing in Furniture and Cabinet Making magazine and I'll be doing a YouTube video on both the bench as well as the vice in the near future.
It took me 30 hours to make spread over 2 weeks and measures 5' long x 27" wide x 37" high. The main top is 20" wide and the working area is 12" wide x 4" thick.
I put it through it's paces today and it's a pleasure to work with!