This thing is a beast, weighing in at about 220 lbs., including the two vises. The total lumber cost was about US$220 (for kiln dried fir), hardware about $30, glue about $15-20, new big steel vise from Lee Valley $180 (bought a year ago in anticipation).
My bench borrows from the Sellers bench in the leg construction, but it’s different otherwise. No aprons, no well board. The 3 1/8″ thick top is made of four pieces – two massive glued-up sections one 12 1/2″ and the other 11 1/4″, a 1 1/2″ center insert that can be raised 1/2″ as a stop and a 3/4″ back section that can also be raised as a stop or to keep things falling off the back.
To get extra weight and strength, I used glued up legs (2 3/4″ x 4″), lower rails (2 3/4″ x 4″) and stretchers (2 3/4″ x 6″). The upper rails and bearers were single boards.
I’ve been working on this for over a month. The bulk of that time was in stock prep – squaring, laminating, flattening, squaring again. The last couple weeks were cutting the joinery, assembly and vise fitting.
The bench is ROCK SOLID!! Even before the tops were put on, I assembled the base and when I gave it a little push, it went nowhere! My jaw dropped a little, the eyebrows raised and I got giddy with anticipation of using it. When I was fitting the smaller vise to the front section of the top, I had to cut a 5/8″ recess and I did this by overturning that section of top onto the back section of the top (so I used my new bench to help make my new bench). I could tell right then that my hammer blows on the chisel were far more solid than on my old bench.
I have a few minor details still to take care of. Need to do a final flattening of the top as assembled. Need to bore the dog holes and prepare new dogs, need to make some knobs for locking the adjustable back piece of the top, need to work on some storage options to hold shooting board and other things. Need to oil the whole thing, too. Will do that just before we go away for a few days after Christmas so the oil will have time to cure.
I can’t tell you how psyched I am to have this done. Can’t wait to start using it. I’ll put a few construction details in some follow-up replies below for those who are interested.
Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/
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