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!


14 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. That tail vice is really cool. I'm looking forward to the video. Why do you prefer the shoulder vice the built-in Moxon?

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    1. Hi James, The shoulder vice has no peg to adjust and no vice screw to get in the way. All the best, David.

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  3. Hello David. I am interested in the HNT tail vice you recently installed. Do you find that debris easily falls into the small cutout in the top plate, in turn clogging the travel (is this why you chose not to screw your plate down, like the HNT website shows). And does the brass dog easily come out to allow a flat bench surface? I couldn't find information on their website indicating how easily it is to remove.

    Thanks in advance,
    Jeff

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    1. Hi Jeff, I haven't had any trouble with debris, a quick vacuum does the job. The fit of the moving parts is so close I'm not sure anything would get in. the dog has the same close fit and comes out easily with a 'plop'. I hope this helps. All the best, David.

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    2. David, appreciate the info and quick reply. Just placed my order. - Jeff

      PS thanks for taking the time to maintain this great blog. It's been a fantastic learning and inspirational resource.

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  4. Hi David, this bench is fantastic! Ticks all the boxes for my ideal bench. I like not having to add the cross timbers in to the shoulder vice construction.

    You mentioned that there would be a feature in an upcoming Furniture and Cabinet Maker issue. Did you happen to know which month? I'm very interested in taking a look at the plans. I'm looking to build a very similar one this summer.

    Thanks David, and love the blog!
    Best Regards,
    Tim

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    1. Hi Tim, I'm glad you like the bench. Not only is the construction easier but it will be more stable over time. The article is in the issue which has just come out, so you're in luck! I'd like to see some pictures when you're done. All the best, David.

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    2. Oh, fantastic! I just didn't wait long enough ;-)

      I'll pickup the newest issue once it's available in my area and will pass along pictures as well!

      Thanks David!

      Cheers,
      Tim

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    3. Finally got my version of your bench design done - came out great and is fantastic in use! http://lumberjocks.com/projects/228698

      Thanks again David!

      Cheers,
      Tim

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    4. Hi Tim, you've done a great job there, you must very pleased.
      Can I post this on my Blog? All the best, David.

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    5. Thanks David, yes - very pleased! It's amazing the difference working on a proper bench and that little shoulder vise is genius.

      Of course you can post it, I'd be delighted. Feel free to send me an email if you'd like the picture files: browntb at gmail dot com.

      Cheers, Tim

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  5. What are the legs made out of? Thanks, Aaron

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    1. Hi Aaron, The whole of the underframe and legs are from 4' square pine. It's cheap, solid as a rock and surprisingly heavy. The finish is General milk paint in buttermilk. All the best, David.

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