Sunday, January 29, 2012

Leg Vise Complete - Part 10

At the close of the last post, I had just started in on the guide wheel brackets.  This week was all about finishing the last piece to the leg vise.  Because of what I wanted to do with the brackets, there needed to be a specific sequence to the process.  After cutting the slot for the wheels, I cut the curves for the wheels and a 1/4" slice off the front of the brackets.  I then cut the front profile.

After that, I adhered the off-cut back on and that allowed me to cut the side profiles.  Again, I repeated the "chevron" pattern.  Some time spent with my 2 inch chisel and some of my rasps and files and the brackets were cleaned up.

Next I tapped for the set screws for the wheel pins, installed the Orange Osage pins I'd made and put a slight bevel on the round.
When I went to tap for the bolts that hold the brackets to the legs, I spaced and used the wrong tap.  I went too big and messed up the holes.  Luckily, the world makes a product called PC Lumber that set up in about an hour and let me re-tap for the bolts.
From here is was a matter of assembling the vise and adjusting the glide for smooth movement.  After I'd achieved a fairly smooth action on the leg vise, I mounted the leg vise's screw bushing.  This fits the screw like a glove and keeps everything precisely tuned.  I used my router plane to inlay the bushing and it is purposefully not a tight fit to allow adjustment.  Sorry, but I didn't get any photos of this procedure.  I always have too much fun using the router.
Here are a few photographs of the completed leg vise.

I'm extremely excited to know that this week I'll finally be getting rid of the sawhorses I've been working on as a bench for the last couple years!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Number 9, Number 9, Number 9...Everyone must build Roubo

If you've been paying attention and you know the bloggers I do, you know that for one reason or another workbenches are "it" right now.  Kari Hultman of the Village Carpenter has started her version of the Andres Roubo workbench.  Erik Gilling of Better Living Through Woodworking and Chris Adkins of High Rock Woodworking are just two off the top of my head that are building along with me and we're building along with The Woodwhisperer Guild, headed by yet another bench builder and entrepreneur, Marc Spagnuolo.  It seems everyone is taking slightly different approaches to the bench, but the one thing they all have in common is they are the Roubo workbench that Chris Schwarz popularized in the woodworking community with his books on workbenches.  Be sure to check out their blogs, you can even view Marc's progress on his woodworking blog that is housed on his free site The Woodwhisperer.

This last week I finally got back into the shop.  I'm now in the process of building the parts and assembling the Benchcrafted leg vise.  The first step was after I finished fitting the glide to the roughed out chop, was to figure out the location of the of the hole for the vise's screw and the mortise for the guide rail.  I just clamped everything in place, leaving about 1/16" on the top of the chop that I will flush after the complete install.

I transferred all the marks to the chop and drilled for the screw.

For the glide mortise, I started by using my Triton router with an edge guide to make  the initial slots on either side of the leg.  I drilled the waste between the two slots with my drill press and cleaned everything up with my chisels.

After checking alignment, I drilled the hole through the leg for the screw and laid out the design on the chop, which is a continuation of the design used for the glide.  The design is based on the chevron design found in the art deco style.  You can barely see it laid in this picture of the chop.
The wheel and screw are actually fastened to the chop with machine screws and required tapping.  Luckily, my Grandpa had given me his tap and die set.  It was nice to finally be able to use it.
I mounted the hand wheel and tested the clearance of the glide in the glide mortise.  After that, I cut out the design for the chop and cleaned it up with my chisels.  My chisel of choice is my 2".  It's probably the most used blade in my shop.  The weight and size make it very easy to yield for many operations.  

I made some 3/8" dowels on my Woodrat from the Osage Orange, drilled the holes to pin the glide and drove the dowels home.  Since Orange Osage is so hard, it should do well as a pin for this purpose.

Late last night I posed the question to my social media friends, should I inlay this nut or not?  Was there any reason I should other than that seems to be the thing to do. The overwhelming response was to do the inlay, but no particular reasons why it may be better to do so, in terms of integrity.  I decided to go ahead and do the inlay, thinking that besides being slightly better looking, it would put less stress on the machine threads that are only holding in Fir, which is considered a softwood.  Today, Marc Spagnuolo saw that I had decided to do the inlay and concurred on the possibility of this being slightly better in terms of strength.
The operation was again at the drill press using my large diameter forstner bit to hog the majority of the waste from the recess.  I cleaned the perimeter with a chisel and got to the final depth and a clean bottom with my router plane.  Here is the nut after the inlay process.  
This morning while I drank my coffee, I decided to do some detail work on the chop and glide.  The glide "stub" sits proud and rather than cutting it off flush to the surface, I decided to facet it, as well as cleaning up the final edges of the chop.  This is a detail I later found will need to be changed.

The last thing I did today was start to rough out the glide wheel brackets.  Once I get these done, I can finally glue up the base and set the tops on!

I'm pretty close to wrapping this project.  I still have dogs to make and the lower shelf.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

TWW Roubo Build - Part 8: Builder's Block

I'd like to say I just haven't had any time in the shop this week, but the truth is I hit a wall.  Earlier this week I milled the stock for my leg vise, deadman and parallel glide.  All was going extremely well.  I had routed the groove that the deadman needs in the bottom of the top of the bench.  As you can see, I even had a knot explode on me.
No problem.  These things happen.  It wasn't catastrophic, just an annoyance.  No one is ever going to look under the bench and I believe the leg will cover the transgression.  I proceeded to figure out the design I wanted to incorporate into the leg vise and the parallel glide.  I cut the design out on the bandsaw for the parallel glide, cleaned everything up with my chisels
 and then proceeded to layout and drill the holes that are used to keep the leg vise from racking.  CATASTROPHE!!!
  I had horrible tear out.  Luckily, I have many friends on Twitter and other social media sites and I ran the situation by them.  Some felt I should just be OK with it and move forward.  "It's just a bench!".  My buddy Chris Wong of Flair Woodworks and Time Warp Tools thought I could simply do another, thicker glide and plane off the offending tear out.  My Hand Tool School teacher, Shannon Rogers, explained the forces that the glide encounters doing it's job and suggested that maybe Fir was a bit too soft to handle the situation.  My first reaction was to follow Chris' suggestion to go thicker and stay with the Fir.  A little background might help here.  I'm a bit obsessive compulsive in certain things of my life.  I really wanted to build the entire bench out of Fir.  If I was to introduce a contrasting wood, I would have done the end cap of the wagon vise in that wood.  I envisioned me sawing apart the end cap from the bench, which is now glued in place, simply to appease a compulsion that would gnaw at me endlessly until I succumbed to the somewhat psychotic demand.  Ultimately, I am choosing to move forward with the glide being made from some Osage Orange I have on hand, which over time will fade, but is fairly close in color to the old growth Fir I've used on the rest of the bench.
While I had the part dimensioned and the mortise fit, I laid out the cuts I need to make on the leg.  
I will wait to do those until I have the new part, just in case the dimensions change a bit.  Only time will tell if I have to start tearing things apart to make them either match or properly contrast.  YES, I'm weird, but I'm OK with that.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Woodwhisper Guild Roubo Build-Part 7

It seems some parts of this build go quite fast and others, not so much.  The fitting of the tenons is something you really want to sneak up on.  So, I tend to cut everything a little fat, then pare, test, pare, test, pare.  Except for the haunch for the long stretcher that was cut deep enough to accommodate the extruded "V" shape that the deadman runs on, all the joinery was originally cut using my Excalibur for the tablesaw.  That particular cut was going to take me outside of my comfort zone on the tablesaw and the litmus test on anything you do on power tools should be, "if it doesn't seem safe, DON'T DO IT!"  There are many ways to accomplish the same thing. In this case, I got to use my Doc Holliday saw from Bad Axe Toolworks.

In this first shot, you can see I used a flip-stop to enable repeatable cuts and I drew a line on the fence to make it easier judge to where I needed to cut after the initial shoulder. 
This next shot is the view of the nibbling out of the waste.  Again, I didn't find the time savings of installing the dado blade to be worth it.  I'd rather cut the shoulders of the tenon with my Freud Fusion blade and so made a series of cuts, broke off the waste and pared with my 2 inch chisel. 

Although I don't want to fill the splits in the legs with epoxy, you can see here that it may prove inevitable.  When I go to glue the ends with the short stretchers, I will use the West System epoxy and make sure they are set to dry with the split upward.  I'll also use some blue tape to keep any epoxy from coming out of the split.  After the glue up, I'll reassess whether I need to fill the cracks.  Most of what I'll be concerned with is the aesthetics.  If I get too much epoxy visible in the crack, I will fill it completely.

Once all the short stretchers were cut and were a snug "slip fit", I did a dry fit and squared them up to enable me to take the measurements of the long stretchers directly from the piece.  
If you are a follower of Marc Spagnuolo's The Woodwhisperer, you'll be familiar with this process known as relative dimensioning.  

These two final shots are a couple views of the base dry fitted.  Although the entire project is built to be "knock down", it is quite the feat to both assemble and disassemble.  The mortise and tenon joints on the long stretchers will be mechanical held together with hardware that came in my Benchcrafted kit.  Therefore, these joints were slightly more loose than a "slip fit".  

After the first assembly, I checked for square and found I needed to slightly move the position of the tenons that let the top sit on the base by about 1/16 of an inch.  To do this, I had to get on the bench and lift each end out of the mortises and carefully slide each long stretcher from the legs, all the while trying to avoid letting anything crash to the floor.

After seeing the piece as a whole, it seemed to me to be beefy enough to not need a fifth leg.  Luckily, there is the The Sagulator.  I entered the dimensions of the bench with 200lbs of dead weight in the center.  Even with that, the bench should only deflect by .003" and the threshold on The Sagulator is .020", so I'm well within engineering tolerances.