|Removing cup with the scrub plane|
The bench I used initially in my shed consisted of a steel frame with three 50x200x2000 slabs on top bolted to the frame with coach bolts. I mounted a 8" dawn vice on the front and drilled dog holes to clamp larger pieces. When I moved in to my current house all of the benches were inches high with rubbish, junk, tools and miscellaneous paraphernalia. After cleaning it off I discovered cupped, twisted and warped boards. This served as my bench for about three years before I became annoyed enough to want to do something better.
|Small flattening jig|
|Apron glue up|
I bought a jointer at this stage so I used that to true up the top face and edges of both the apron and bench timbers for a glue up. In the picture of the re-surfaced apron you can see the vice jaw glueup in the background. After the glue up I used a jig with a router fitted with a surfacing bit and a pair of jointed boards to surface the top of the bench so that it was dead flat. I will not go into the full technique since that is a topic all on its own and has been covered elsewhere by others including Mark Spagnolo, The Wood Whisperer. I then mounted the end vice to the under side of the bench and secured the sliding jaw to the vice.
|End vice mounted under bench|
I glued the apron to the front face of the bench. I planed the apron flush with the bench top. I then drilled a series of dog holes along the top and side of the apron. Once the bench was complete I used a home made wax blend using 50/50 bees wax and boiled linseed oil with enough gum turpentine to produce a nice wipe on paste. This produced a nice finish on the bench.
|Glueing the apron to the bench top|
|Plane the apron|
|Completed and finished bench|
At this stage my bench was flat and I had the end vice and apron fitted and it was sitting on the steel frame. The weight of the bench is sufficient to hold it in place. Being jarrah it is very heavy. The bench was serviceable but missing a front vice. To get around this hurdle I made a mini bench from jarrah to which I fitted my Dawn 8" wood vice to provide some clamping but this was not particularly convenient.
|Large quick release front vice|
|Front vice jaw|
I wanted the vice screw to sit about half way up the jaw so I bade a spacer to fit underneath the bench to lower the vice mounting to achieve this. I flipped the bench and marked the position of the vice mount on the underside. I then checked that the bottom surface of the bench was square to the apron at this point since if it was out of square then the jaw would not sit flush against the apron which served as the inner jaw of the vice. The bench to apron was exactly 90 deg so I just took a few swipes of the hand plane to clean up the mating area. I marked the mounting hole position on the spacer I prepared and then marked four Xes on the spacer away from the vice mounting holes to drill for screws to mount the spacer to the bench. I drilled and countersunk pilot holes in the spacer and the bench. I glued the spacer in place and secured it with four 14G x 55 mm countersunk wood screws. The vice body has three 8 mm countersunk holes and 4 x 8mm plain holes. I drilled pilot holes for the three countersunk screws very slightly displaced towards the front. This meant that as the screws were tightened they would place a slight pressure into the back of the apron helping to keep it tight. I then secured the frame and used the holes in the vice to drill the holes through from the back of the apron for the screw and the two rails.
|Underside of mounted vice|
I drilled and screwed the four 8mm coach screws, together with teh 8G x 75mm wood screws to secure the vice frame to the bench underside. I assembled the vice then tightened the vice with the jaw in position before drilling and screwing the jaw with three 12G x 75mm wood screws.
|Vice handle blank|
|Finishing the handle|
I need to make a trip to the hardware store to gt some 1" end caps for it.
I finally used the same beeswax, boiled linseed oil mixture to finish the vice jaw.
The vice operates smoothly and slides well back and forth. The jaw is nicely parallel to the apron and applies a lot of clamping pressure. I will finally drill three dog holes along the top of the vice then a series of dog holes in line with those three with spacing just slightly less than the vice opening.
|Finished front vice|