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I’m happy to report success. Using a single clearance hole through both the rear face and the small side pieces I was able to get everything into place with no splitting. I used thin one inch screws to put the front liner on using pilot holes before screwing it in place. To position everything it really helped to double stick all 4 pieces together. Despite (or perhaps because of) the difficulty I had, I feel quite good about getting this done and I’m happy with the results.
Thanks for the suggestions. I eventually figured out that the small side pieces should have clearance holes. I had already countersunk them. I think my wood is dry–I’m using mahogany off-cuts I’ve had in my shop for 9 years or so. Though I am in Houston, where low humidity is around 50%. The other issue I’m having is that I am adding this to a Sjoberg bench, not Paul’s workbench design with the wide aprons. The bottom most screws for the inner liner extend below the apron of my bench. You can see how much the vise extends below the bottom of the bench in this photo with the bench upside down. As a result, the bottom screws on the inner jaw liner can only bite into the short end pieces. My last attempt split one of these.
So… watching Paul’s older vise installation videos I saw that he used only one screw on each side of the inner jaw that goes all the way through both the inner jaw liner and the side piece. I am going to recut the inner liner and side pieces and then create clearance holes through both then drive a single screw through and into the apron.
This has been one of those things where I never expected something that seemed so simple to cause so many problems. My installation is now over a week long, but most of that was because I had to repair the poorly designed workbench top to leg connection and flatten the top of the bench. I was tempted to put the top on my Shopbot CNC for flattening, but in the end I think I was better off with my jointer and jack planes.
I will be sure to post a followup with photos in case anyone else runs into this snag.
One thing I finally realized after using the Glen Drake joinery saw is that I’ve been grasping my saws way too tightly: like a firm handshake or even harder. For some reason, the joinery saw taught me to loosen my grip way up, especially at the start. It works best starting a cut when I just use my hand to lightly guide it. I would not even call it a grip. If I grip it tight I find my cut is off. After I establish the cut I can move faster with a slightly firmer grip.
Just an update on this. My daughter took right to the Glen-Drake joinery saw. She spent about 30 minutes cutting with it until she decided to make a track for a car. On the weekend I walked her through creating her first dovetail of the very first box in the small boxes video here. She insisted on doing all of it herself, including chopping the waste with a chisel and mallet. With her schedule and mine, we have not been able to finish the box yet, but she had a blast with the project so far.
That’s a great suggestion. I just rewatched the Glen-Drake DVD last night and he also recommends starting with finger joints. In addition, his YouTube video has three nice exercises on sawing without lines before moving to a line. There seems to be very little out there on woodworking with children. I have the Beginning Woodworking with Children book that I bought at the Woodworking school that Paul used to teach at in Waco, Tx: The cover is a photo of him helping a young boy with a spokeshave. My daughter has done a few of those and I think I need to have her do some more.
Glen-Drake’s Using a Joinery Saw video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfBvQEih5BE) has a lot of good information and three practice exercises. I just got one of his joinery saws and like it better than my LN dovetail saw. Also, the scooping motion he shows while sawing really does help. A useful companion video on saws is also available on his Youtube channel.
This looks like a very comprehensive article on sharpening scrapers: http://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/a_better_way_to_sharpen_scrapers
I actually get pretty good results by just burnishing the faces, then burnishing the edge. I suspect that filing and honing the edge and faces don’t need to be done as often.
Thanks guys. I may make a pencil box out of the aspen that I have left, but before I even start I will determine which way the grain goes and then mark it through the entire construction process. The tiger stripes came out when I planed it smooth–it felt and looked glassy, even without shellac. But one false move, or a slightly dull plane and you’ll get really bad tear out.
I am happy with the current pace. I don’t have much time with my busy work and travel schedule, plus I do all the stock prep by hand. I had to use my 6 ppi handsaw to resaw some stock for the bottom of the first box. I just started stock prep for the second last night. I was hoping to finish prep tonight, but work intervened.
No twist or cup. I don’t have a known straight edge long enough, but I suspect that my bench may have a slight dip across its length. It is so slight that it wouldn’t affect shorter boards, but since this board goes across the entire length of the bench top, planing near the center of the bench causes the board to dip down, creating the problem. I’s still not sure this is it though because the dip really is quite small.