Archive

Author Archive

Packing Up

November 17, 2019 Leave a comment

Some recent changes that will have a temporary impact on woodworking. I spent time over the last several weeks packing tools and sorting through items that I don’t need to move.

As we look for a new home near San Antonio, Texas; it’s clear that the tools will remain in storage for a period of time.

Moving always brings potential opportunities. New friends, places to explore and the chance of a new woodworking shop. Like many of you each move brings the hope of having a shop that is not shared with cars, lawn mowers and shovels. I’ll be in touch.

Categories: Uncategorized

Roubo Bench Top Attached

October 11, 2019 2 comments

Travel has gotten the best of me this year and projects that should take hours are taking weeks. I’ve put woodworking aside to spend time with family and my furry friends. Hobbes is sleeping now so I’m slipping out to attach the bench top.

With both sections of the top complete, I only have to cut the mortises to attach the top. A small task that took surprising little time. Again careful measurement was the key and handling the bench was a struggle. The weight of the bench is one of the reasons I gravitated towards it but it does present building challenges.

Categories: Uncategorized

Roubo End Cap

October 5, 2019 Leave a comment

The end cap on the Roubo Bench creates anxiety for most bench builders, I’m no different and procrastination built a simple dovetail into a crescendo. Although cherry is a soft wood, its beautiful color led me to using it for accent parts (chop, cap, pins, etc.) putting aside my fears I spent a long time marking out the various mortises, holes and finally the dovetail. No pictures for the blog, just pure focus. A couple of hours later and it was complete.

Many of you used hand drills to auger the holes. I used my drill press and was very thankful for the accuracy. Glad to have this behind me its time to place the top on the base.

Categories: Uncategorized

Bench Top

July 27, 2019 Leave a comment

The hardest part about this bench is maneuvering the lumber. As more and more parts are pieced together it becomes heavier. I think the photos below tell the story.

Joint, plane glue, repeat.

Categories: Roubo

Dog Holes and Mistakes

July 23, 2019 2 comments

When choosing a new bench design the dog holes and integral dogs drew me to the Roubo. Planing boards is a pleasure except when you don’t have a great method to hold them on your bench. Paul Sellers’ is adept at using his front vice, and I admit it has worked well for narrow boards. I’ve also used boards positioned across the end of the vice as a planing stop. However the ability to use a tail vice and adjust to any board length has great appeal.

Most of you will notice that a router and template was used in this process. Before hand tool woodworking I did most of my work by machine and I still have most of them. You can’t beat machines for repetitive processes. Except when you stop paying attention and oops.

A little plug will take care of that. I routed one dog hole too far.

Categories: Uncategorized

Workbench History

July 12, 2019 Leave a comment

Let’s be clear in the first sentence, if you want a complete guide to workbenches, find Chris Schwarz. If you want plans and a video on how to build a simple effective bench see Paul Sellers’ series (I’ve used his bench, it is excellent). This blog is about my brief workbench history and what has worked for many years as an essential tool in my shop. It confirms that a workbench can be cheap, simple and very effective. There are no plans, but it’s simple enough that none are needed and it’s a little embarrassing how sloppy I’ve been with upgrades. It’s also a story of why I want to move on to a new bench.

The bench is built from a single sheet of 3/4 plywood and 2×4 pine. Lag bolts hold it together and screws keep the top and cross members in place. My father helped me build it when I was in my early teens. The top is a single sheet of plywood, doubled over and glued. It is screwed to a 2×4 frame with cross members.  The legs are single 2×4 and attach inside the top and bottom frames.

When Shannon Rogers began his Hand Tool School I quickly moved most of my Joinery to Hand Tools and recognized that the bench needed to be stiffened, grabbing some scrap I cut it to size a hammered it into place to stiffen the ends. I added a 2×4 to the legs at front which fit in between the upper and lower rails.

The small vise on the side was originally on front of the bench but now sits on the side and is perfect to hold my leather strop close by my work area. It also works as a planing clamp. Next I added a 2×4 under the bench to provide added depth for hold fasts. It’s a simple solution for a bench without the necessary thickness for them to work.

After attending Paul Sellers’ fundamentals of woodworking class I recognized the value of a larger vice so set about making modifications to the bench. This consisted of a board at the front, a couple of cross members and the vise became part of my tool set.

Many years later I admit that there is little that my current bench does not provide. The desire for a new work bench is purely for the challenge of the bench. So I began a journey to build a new bench and you will see it in the next several blogs.

Categories: Uncategorized

Stanley #7 Blade Change

June 26, 2019 5 comments

Using my Stanley #7 plane last weekend to clean up the face frame for the new workbench, it became apparent that the blade must be chipped. This is not the first time that this has happened with this blade and it’s becoming clear that it must be something in the metallurgy.

A year ago I tucked away a Veritas PM11 blade and chip breaker and the time has arrived to install it. First, the plane bed needs to be modified to accept the larger width blade. A quick line with a straight edge and work with a file and in 10 minutes its ready to go.

Some of you will be asking my opinion of the PM 11 blades, and having them in one other plane for a couple of years I can say I have been happy with their performance. I have not used any blades apart form the original Stanley and the PM 11 so I cannot compare them to other newer manufacturers.

Categories: Uncategorized