Workbench: Ready for joinery!

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  • #19082
    John Purser
    Participant

    I can’t believe I made it to this point! I’ve got all my laminations glued up, planed down, face and face edge marked, and I’m ready to start chopping and sawing! I’m reviewing the sections on leg joinery from the book, Paul’s blog, and the Youtube videos.

    I did redo one lamination. And I’m not happy with the rest but am resigned to them. I learned that you can over stress a bar clamp and when you do the bar bends and that throws gaps into your laminations. Learn something new every day if you’re not REAL careful I guess. I’m now the proud owner of some pipe clamps. I doubt I’ll be bending them any time soon.

    I am glad I used laminations though. No WAY would I have learned as much about planes as I have getting those pieces ready.

    John Purser
    Hubert, NC

    #19096
    Charles Cleland
    Participant

    Good to hear John! Having your workbench will make things so much easier, and it is so satisfying when you can finally run your hand down the top after you’ve finished it and know that YOU made it, and it will be part of your woodworking for as long as you like. As for overstressing the bar clamps…well I think as you gain skill with preparing your surfaces for laminating (actually it will be edge jointing from here on out, but you will do a lot of it) you will find that if you really have to crank down a clamp you are better off going back to the plane 🙂 I know that my clamps are under a lot less stress these days, as I learn more about how to prepare my joints before glue up.

    Washington State, USA
    My own humble blog:
    http://toolsofourfathers.wordpress.com/

    #19105
    John Purser
    Participant

    Andy,

    The “rest of the story” on the bar clamp lesson is “Buy cheap tools and you pay for them twice!” and “Yes, there’s a REASON Paul did it that way!”

    I got the clamps off Ebay, nameless, Chinese, functional and lots of them which I hoped would compensate for quality. And it wasn’t until the last bench top lamination that I noticed they were bending like a samurai sword! I crossed my fingers, hoped, and learned crossing fingers and hoping don’t have diddly to do with laminations. There doesn’t seem to be an adequate substitute for doing right.

    Also because of my “bench” set up (old Black & Decker Workmate 400 and a warped sheet of 1/4″ plywood) I had all my clamps on just one side of the laminations. Paul don’t do it thataway. I’m thinkin’ I see why now.

    And then there is the old “The first one is the WORST one.” rule. By the time I got done I could do a MUCH better job of planing (as well as planning, and general execution). I won’t say I’m good at it yet but I’m much better and now have a clue when I’m doing it wrong. But when I started I could have planed those 2X4s down into tissue paper before I fixed the lamination process.

    This also highlights the difference I think between just reading and watching all Paul’s done in his book, blog, and Youtube videos and actually having him standing behind you with a clue by four ready to stop you and show you the right way. In short: He just might be selling something of real value in those classes of his.

    So I’ll finish this bench and get to work at “real woodworking” but I’m already collecting material for the replacement bench.

    John Purser
    Hubert, NC

    #19109
    robinhc
    Participant

    Good work John. Way to go!

    Robin ... Richmond, Virginia, USA

    #19111
    John Purser
    Participant

    Thanks Robin!

    John Purser
    Hubert, NC

    #19113
    Ken
    Participant

    Agreed nice work John. Keep it going buddy

    #19114
    kiyoshigawa
    Participant

    Hey John, I am also working on my bench, and I had a similar problem with the glue-up. The top ended up twisted almost 1/4″ out of plane at the worst parts, but with a lot of planing I got the bottoms and sides square and now I just have the top to finish and my bench will be (more or less) square.

    I found it helped to go sideways across the grain first and get it all so that it wasn’t missing anywhere on the edges or in the middle before going with the grain and smoothing it all out. Just be careful about going off the edges, as it can split if you do.

    I’m glad I built the bench the way Paul showed, as I learned much more about woodworking in general on the bench than I realized was possible. Now I feel like I know at least a few of the problems I’m likely to encounter when working on real projects in the future.

    Anyways, keep planing and checking for square (don’t forget the winding sticks like I did), and it’ll get you better at it for when it really matters. Good luck on finishing the bench! I’ll be working on mine right along with you.

    -Tim Anderson, UT, USA

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    #19136
    John Purser
    Participant

    Tim that’s one of the things I learned about planing. Running the iron out a bit and setting the top iron with a bigger gap than normal and using this plane at an angle across the laminations was the fastest way to flatten them. Sometimes I had to reduce one 2X4 that was WAY out of line first but once I started with the diagonal sweeps I just had to pay attention to how the plane felt and sounded. When it stopped vibrating and was smooth across the sweep that lamination was close to flat.

    I checked for twist with a pair of levels. I got one end of the lamination level and then kept sliding the other level up the lamination, correcting any time the bubble wandered off. I trust levels more than my eyes at this point.

    John Purser
    Hubert, NC

    #19137
    kiyoshigawa
    Participant

    John, Levels sounds like a great idea. I have a couple small ones I can use, so I’ll have to try it. Hardest part for me is remembering to check that the board is flat all the way across before I try to use the winding sticks. Almost took off a corner I shouldn’t have because I didn’t get it flat across before I checked for twist, and the winding stick was sitting on a bow.

    -Tim Anderson, UT, USA

    #19175
    Mathbone
    Participant

    John, did you see Paul’s blog about strengthening the cheap aluminum clamps? I added a wooden spline in the center of them, and they are much less prone to bending now.

    #19275
    John Purser
    Participant

    Brandon,

    I did see that one and have long term plans to take that route.

    John

    John Purser
    Hubert, NC

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