My bench is on the home straight now:
Made from a mix of PSE wood from Wickes, and reclaimed wood from Oxford Wood Recycling. The top is laminated from 75×47, the aprons are glued up from three 100x47s. The legs are all recycled wood, as is the well board. Total wood cost about £70. It’s just under 1.5m long, and 94cm high.
It’s been a fairly long process – I began back in April. For me, the hardest thing was preparing the rough, twisted reclaimed lumber, using only a #4 plane and no workbench or good method for securing my work. Probably spent 50% of my time on this. Things got easier when I bought a 5 1/2 plane. I had planned to use reclaimed scaffold boards for the aprons, but by the time I’d planed out the twist and cup in them, they were far too thin. One of them has ended up as a wellboard instead.
My bench is going to be disassembled and reassembled a LOT – I have no dedicated space for working, so it needs to be collapsed and put away every time. With this in mind, I’m planning to install some threaded inserts in the underside of the worktop, to allow me to secure it with bolts from the underside of the bearers, rather than using screws. Also, I am going to add a 10cm worktop to the back apron, and do the same there. This will avoid having to rely on lag screws in the back apron going in and out every time. With this in mind, I made the bearers 6 inches wide, and cut them narrower where they are directly over the leg, so they fit into the apron housings.
Like Tejin,I find that my wedges do not drop much of their own accord – in order to make the bench rigid I need to hammer them down. I’m going to glue on some wood to the inner faces of the wedges to allow be to do this.
Still need to straighten the face of the worktop before glueing it to the apron, then I’ll be fitting the vise later in the week.
(In the background is the kitchen I made 2 years ago – using screws and powertools – this was what really got me into woodworking, and set me on the path to eventual hand tool enlightenment!)
- This topic was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by Tom Davies.
- This topic was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by Tom Davies.
Well done for both projects!
I can’t imagine squaring the OWR reclaimed timber by hand. I fortunately had a planer thicknesser, and even then that was hard enough!
Someone replied to my query about the wedges with some useful tips. I can see the logic in them, and I’m hopeful they will help.
I also added some recesses (like on a pencil case lid) to the wedges so I could get in there with a small hammer and a thick punch and hammer the wedges down.
I’m also going to order something like this and recess them into the end of the wedge:
Hope that helps.
Minor disaster today, as I was attaching the vice, one of the lag screws that goes through the face snapped 🙁
I’ll have to drill it out, plug with a dowel and go again. Was not expecting that, I really didn’t over tighten that much.
For the wedges, I did what you describe Tenjin, and cut a notch in them, that’s allows me to hammer them down with a bit of wood inserted into the notch at an angle. Works great.
I have a bit of an issue fixing my vice. The holes on the face of my Eclipse 230mm vise are 7mm and so accept M7 coach screws. I put two M7x100mm coach screws in, but unfortunately one snapped due to over tightening. So I had to drill it out, plug with a dowel, and put another one in. Thing is, I have no more M7 bolts, and I can’t find anywhere that sells them. What’s the right thing to do? Use an M6 bolt or drill through the hole in the vise with an 8mm bit, to expand it enough to allow an M8 bolt?
@thomashenry 7mm is just a bit over 1/4″. Would a 1/4″ lag screw work, plus washer to distribute the load on the vise casting? 100mm is 3.9″, so it would be 1/4″ by 4″ (double check my math).
As an aside, I had a box of #10 1 1/4″ wood screws from Home Depot and was having trouble with the philips heads stripping out when driving them. I had the opinion that they seemed soft, so I bought some new ones from a different hardware store who stocks a different brand. The new ones went in without any issues. I suspect the first box of screws is low quality and threw the whole box away. I think I may find a reputable fastener supplier and buy a supply of various fasteners in advance rather than relying on the local suppliers who are driven by “cheapest possible” mentality. Anyway, I wonder if your failed fastener was doomed to fail by the manufacturer vs. failing because the work was not prepared properly or fastener driven properly?
Well, I drilled through the holes on the vise to enlarge them to 8mm, then went back with two 120mm M8 coach screws.
And again, one snapped halfway through being driven. Wasn’t even driving it very hard.
So once again I have to try and sort out this mess. Really making me mad now. Putting the vise one was meant to be the crowning glory of the bench build, its turned into the most difficult part.
What size pilot hole are you drilling Tom? Are you using lag bolts with an unthreaded upper shank or a fully threaded lag screw? Do you need 120mm long hardware for that and won’t the bottom ones go all the way through the top? I looked at the drawing and what Paul used for the vise was much shorter.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by harry wheeler.
Now that there are dowel plugs, you are driving into end grain rather than face grain. I’ve had trouble with screws breaking when driven into end grain. I suspect the mechanics / friction is different.
Are there any spacer blocks between the vise and the underside of the bench top? If so, how thick?
I’ll just say: If there is a spacer block of adequate thickness, or if there could be, then cut a new, wider/longer spacer block, bolt the vise to the spacer block, and then lag screw the spacer block to the bench. This lets you put the lag screws in a new place so that you have a fresh start and don’t need to fish out that broken lag screw. You will probably need to counter sink the heads of the bolts so that everything can mount flush. The down side to this is that you must get those bolts tight because the heads will not be accessible for retightening without dropping the vise out completely (by removing the lag screws). Of course, don’t go so tight that you break the vise! It may be more a matter of a double nut with a spring washer between them to maintain tension.
I don’t have the details of Paul’s bench in mind at the moment, but as an ultimate fallback, could the apron be cut free, the top rotated 180 degrees, and then the apron reapplied? This would get you to a new location.
It would seem prudent to mock up whatever your next situation would be and drive a few lag screws to see if they work. You may get different results from a socket wrench, a drill-driver, and an impact driver. Of those three, the impact driver may actually reduce the chance of breakage because each “impact” is so small in twist, but you’d need to find one to borrow. Again, you would need to test on scrap first. Anything could happen, worse or better.
I really don’t know about driving into end grain. I’ve not had luck and avoid it. I’d like to hear what others think about that detail.
- This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by Ed.
I have a spacer block that’s an inch deep. The bolts do have an unthreaded part at the top, and one of them went in fine.
I’ve had to chisel out around the snapped bolt, and twist it out with it pliers. That’s left me a large hole, that I will tidy up and plug with another block (not end grain facing).
Next time I’ll use a shorter bolt, 80mm or so. And hope.
Just be sure that you’ve drilled a clearance hole (8mm or even a little bigger for that 8mm bolt) and deep enough for the unthreaded portion of the bolt. Then continue with a pilot hole (6.5mm or so) for the threads. If you have calipers, measure the minor diameter of the thread and be a least that large with your pilot hole.
Got there in the end. Chiselled out a inch Square hole, about 2inches deep that allowed me to grab the bolt. Cut a block to fill the hole, hammered it in, and re attached the vise using a shorter bolt.
All good now!
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