Thursday, February 23, 2012

Twisted Timber and the Dogs - Fini

That would be a good name for a band!  Next up was the gap/stop.  The Split-Top Roubo has a few, what I consider, advantages over a solid slab top.  Mind you, this is from someone who is mostly knowledgeable from reading and a bit of doing.  The main and most advantageous aspect to building the split-top is being able to handle all the operations without help.  That's not to say help wouldn't make the job of flattening the top easier, but it is less convenient to have to schedule the help.  The other aspect is that the gap/stop can be flipped from the flush position to being proud of the top and acting as a stop for planing.    We'll have to see how much I really use that.  I tend to want to do the major stock removal, which is where one would employ the stop, at the machines.  I really believe the forefathers of woodworking would have gladly used machines to do the "menial" tasks.  But, then what would have happened to apprenticeships and how would that have impacted the future of woodworking?  Something to ponder.

I was getting my gap/stop from a twelve foot 2" x 12". After setting up the support at the bandsaw, I ripped the 2" x 12" in half.  I had to be careful feeding the board to avoid binding or stressing the blade.  

After ripping, I used my custom made winding sticks to evaluate the twist.
They're simply two pieces of 1" x 4" mdf.  One has an edge painted black with a Sharpie and the other is the factory white.  I have another piece about ten feet long that I use for setting up infeed and outfeed support.


I find if you use and place infeed and outfeed support correctly, it's not that hard to get the twist out of a board without loosing a lot of thickness.  

If you can have one of the supports at the crux of the twist you can begin the cut with the downward pressure at that point.  

I was a little off from the crux of the twist, but not too bad.  You can see the progress in these photos.

Once jointed, I set up and sent the board through the planer.  The entire process only wasted 3/8" of the thickness.  I went from           1 13/16" to 1 7/16".  
That left me enough to get the entire gap/stop from this half of the original 2" x 12".  I went back to the bandsaw and resawed the board and again ran the two halves through the planer.  I got to each being 5/8", which was perfect.  There was enough material to get the five center dividers from this board, too.  

This shot is from the next evening before I started working again.  The old growth Fir is dry through and through.  That has really been the joy in working with this old wood.  It just doesn't move.  

Here you can see what I find so special about old growth Fir.  This old tree experienced some good droughts in Eastern Oregon.  There is one section that had 4 growth rings within 1/16".  

To keep things aligned during the glue up, I used the method I'd seen David Marks use on DIY Woodworks.  For each divider, I tapped in two small brad nails and clipped them, so a nib was sticking up.  Before applying glue, I aligned and pressed the assembly together, so when I did apply the glue the pieces fit and stayed in place as I applied the clamps.

The final step in the build for me was to make the sliding dog hole and all the dogs.  The sliding dog hole was made the same way I made the other dog holes.  After gluing up the board, it was simple to cut and fit to the Benchcrafted vise hardware on the bandsaw.  

This seemed to be as good a time as any to go ahead and do the final flattening on the top.  The finish I'd already applied made it easy to see my progress.
After creating a bunch of shavings, I had a dead-flat top.  I took six passes diagonally and six more with the grain.  I didn't worry about tearout, and there are still some planing marks, but it is flat.  
I'm really happy that I installed the floor sweep on this side of the shop.  Most of the mess I make on this side will always be able to be swept without putting dust into the air. 

The process I used to "mass produce" dogs was first milling some stock to be close, but a little oversized for the holes in the bench.  I ripped the stock first at the band saw, jointed, edged and thicknessed at the jointer and planer, then crosscut to length with the tablesaw sled.  

A stop block on the bandsaw stopped the long cut on the dogs and the little "chin" was cut using a square piece of plywood for a guide.

I had some of the dog stock left and ripped some strips at the bandsaw.  I only needed one side to be smooth for gluing, so I left the other side rough, figuring it would help keep the dogs in place.  I cut the spring pieces to length with my 2" chisel and also put the inaugural chisel marks in the top at the same time.  By clamping the dogs in the vise at an angle, it was extremely quick to put the angle at the bottom of the dog where the spring would be glued and screwed to the dog.  A one man assembly line later and the dogs were done.
 And THAT, my friends, concludes my participation in The Woodwhisperer Guild's Roubo Bench Build.  This was, as always, more time consuming than I originally thought.  I'm still getting the processes of building more efficient within my shop.  This build changed the location of my bandsaw and opened up some other idea for changes.  I'll get into those when I make a firm decision.  

This is the completed bench:
 And this is me actually using the bench to build my Br'all.  A full tutorial can be found on my friend, Chris Wong's website Flair Woodworks.  After all, EVERYONE needs a Br'all!
 The beautiful wooden plane pictured is made by my buddy Scott Meek.  He's a very talented plane maker.  This smoother is heaven to use.  Be sure to support your boutique tool makers.

If after following this blog for the last few months, you're still jonesing for more of that bench building fever, check out these other fine people doing their versions of a woodworking bench.  If I've missed anyone, my apologies.  Contact me and I can add your site to this list.

And, of course, you can sign up for The Woodwhisperer Guild and learn from Marc Spagnuolo.  Marc is taking the Guild through the building of this lifetime woodworking bench.  With his usual easy delivery and thorough understanding of the process, he makes this very large project easy enough for the beginner, who has a very basic tool selection.  

I hope you have enjoyed the building process.  Woodworking is what I want to do until I die. It is what gives me peace and is my passion.  If you think you may be interested in woodworking, contact me and I will try to get you pointed to a resource near you and/or online.  Thanks for taking the journey!


Bobby Hagstrom said...

I've been wanting to build the "ultimate" bench for years now, and it's just never made it to the top of my "to do" list...but this just makes me wanna hit pause on everything and dive in.

I just took out my notes and sketches I did awhile ago. Time to update them. I know you'll get that proud feeling every time you use it.

Kari Hultman said...

Excellent tips, Vic, and your dog-making set up was very efficient. That's a beautiful bench for a beautiful shop!

Bobby Fiedler said...

The bench looks great and so does your shop! Thanks for the detailed photos. I've been following a few of the other split-top Roubo bloggers as I'm making my own version of the bench (and am a bona fide beginner) and it's nice to see how everyone has their own style to getting things done.

Eric said...

Way to go Vic! You bench looks awesome.

Eric said...

I can't wait to get mine finished although it is nothing as grand as yours. You did a really nice job on that monster

Shannon said...

I can't wait to hear from you again after you complete the next project and have spent some time working on this beast. I remember my first project on my Roubo well and how the bench just blended into the background allowing me to do anything I wanted with no effort. Truly the sign of a great tool! You did an outstanding job on this Vic and will smile every time you see it!

Marilyn in Seattle said...

Thanks for all your posts on the bench build and all the tips. So glad we have the web to share all this good information.

I need an excuse to come your way and see your awesome bench and shop in person.

Brian VanVreede said...

Vic, the bench looks AWESOME!! It must be a little bittersweet to have it finished. What references did you use, besides Schwartz's workbench books, as inspiration for your bench? I hope to build my bench in the next year or two so I would like to educate myself as much as possible on the subject so that when I am ready to build, I can be confident in what I'm doing. Also, if you don't mind me asking, how many hours went into it and what was the material cost (not including the hardware) ? Again, it looks awesome Vic! Thanks for sharing!

-Brian VanVreede

Woodcanuck said...

This is just awesome Vic. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching your build. I have no doubt that your pages will be dog eared over the next few weeks as I try to catch up.

Jeff Branch said...

I envy your new bench and that big honkin' jointer you have.

Vic Hubbard said...

Bobby - thanks. I hope you make that bench soon. I know what it's like to constantly be building the shop. The bench is the real start of using it.

Kari - You're too sweet to me. I AM happy with the bench and, of course, with the shop. I'm spoiled and very aware of that fact.

Bobby - Thanks for noting that. With as rustic as it was going to be with the reclaimed timbers, I wanted to introduce a bit of my take of Art Deco.

Eric - Thanks! You'll kick butt on your bench.

Shannon - Thank you! You know I'll be using it! I have a bunch of small parts I'll need to mill for the lamps I'm gonna make. I still need to design them, but I'm thinking most will be done on the bench.

Marilyn, you and your partner are always welcome here. We have a nice spare guest room. I'd love your company.

Brian - As far as reference, yes I read and thoroughly enjoyed Chris Schwarz' book Workbenches and had decided on a Roubo style at that time. When Marc said The Woodwhisperer Guild was going to build a Split-Top, I thought it to be the perfect opportunity to start. I was ahead of that build to start with, but Marc quickly started catching up after he got the whole new Dad thing down. The Sketch Up plans that Aaron Marshall had made were invaluable to me. I don't care much for the Benchcrafted plans. Seeing things in 3 dimensions helped a lot.
As far as hours, I had 12 posts and most of those were a week apart. On weekdays I was able to get between 15 and 25 hours in and between 12 and 20 on the weekends. My wife is very supportive of my goals. All told I have somewhere between 325 - 500 hours into the build. Probably smack dab in the middle of those numbers. So, somewhere around 400hrs.
Material was basically free. I bought a bunch of wood from a 100 year old barn almost 15 years ago for $1.00 a running foot and less.

Ian - I forgot you're building the bench, too. I'll add your blog to the list. I'm sure your's will be spectacular!!

Jeff - That big honkin' jointer is sweet! It is a nice machine. The entire shop is set up to work in 12" width.

tom buhl said...

Well done Vic.
Can't wait to see you and the bench in action.

ChrisHasFlair said...

Hi Vic,

Another great article on your magnificent bench. I was pleased to see you making a Br'all and can't wait to see what you make next.


TheWoodWhisperer said...

Well done my friend, well done! I just love the varying wood tones in your bench. Gives it that "instant classic" look. I hope it provides you with years of excellent service!

Vic Hubbard said...

Tom - Thank you, my friend! Me either!

Chris - The Br'all, while being rather hilarious is really a great idea. I'm fitting mine with a handle, so it houses on the bench. It's much more efficient than my hands.

Marc, Thanks! I'm really excited to have a great tool like this in the shop. It's already proving a staple in my processes.

Tom Stephenson said...

Very nice Vic! I'll bet that Fir is pretty hard too! Great use of old timbers and a wonderful bench. I'll be anxious to see the furniture you make on that great bench.

ChrisHasFlair said...


I'd like to see what changes/improvements you make to your Br'all design. (Does that make it the first project to be built on your bench?)


Vic Hubbard said...

Tom - I guess the winter growth is very hard on the Janka hardness scale. Much of the lumber for this has very tight growth rings, so it does fairly well. I did have to introduce a hardwood for things like the chop's glide and guide wheel brackets.

Chris, the first thing was the deadman, but as a finished bench, yes! My Br'all will be very simple and have a bit of a handle on one end that has a shoulder and so can rest in the gap/stop.