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  1. #16
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    Nov 2019
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    Default

    Any progress reports on the bench Tom? I'm looking forward to it. I've been mostly silent on these forums, and my bench is perhaps a week or so away from being oiled - that weekend project will come to a close.

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  3. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Éire
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    37
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    @SiggyKC I've not got any woodworking done this year, been too fatigued to even get my bandsaw fixed,
    While I'd like to get back to this bench within a few months, there's a big list of things that needs doing first.
    I've not got the space yet to use a second bench, so need to sort out more logistics in the workshop and get rid of some stuff like lawnmowers and such.

    Love to see some pics of your bench when you're ready.
    Tom

  4. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Melbourne
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom trees View Post
    Love to see some pics of your bench when you're ready.
    Tom
    No worries Tom, I hope you're doing better. It must be cold and damp over there where you are.

    I had a rather big health scare (the sort where one collapses unconscious and is rushed to hospital due to the old ticker), which threw me off...scary as I am only 34 and thought that I was fairly healthy. I had to rest and rejig my whole regular work schedule etc. It did throw a spanner in the works with the workbench (which i worked on a couple of evenings each week after dinner). But I'm happy to say it's back on track and I hope to finish it within the next week or so.

    The most complicated part is my tail vise, which has a lot of hidden joinery as I didnt use the published designs that most folks follow (typically the Klausz tail vise). I actually went quite in depth contacting folks all through Europe and Scandinavia regarding historic benches. I found quite a few things that I liked, and that I didnt like, and essentially started from scratch understanding why they did certain things and orientated certain things to cope with the forces that come from clamping.

    This is the tail vise block as it was yesterday. The guide bar is Cocobolo, and is actually held in with some hidden joinery, which I'll take photos of when I do my final assembly of the workbench. I have focused mainly on the alignment of all the parts and the squareness to ensure smooth and consistent operation of the vice. I did also design a couple of redundancies as secondary supports in the case of one of the primary supports flexing or (god forbid) failing.
    IMG_7287.jpgIMG_7286.jpgIMG_7292.jpg

    Once all the components are done, I'll go around and refine the shape and put radii on everything so that the edges dont chip off

    Stay safe!
    Cheers,
    Siggy

  5. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Box Hill
    Age
    65
    Posts
    175

    Default Workbench

    Great work Siggy, did you cut the wooden threads for the vise yourself? And by chance do you have plans for the bench ?

  6. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Bne
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    354

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    That is craftsmanship!
    Well done

  7. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Melbourne
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    35
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenjd View Post
    ...did you cut the wooden threads for the vise yourself? And by chance do you have plans for the bench ?

    Hey Steve!

    I was working for several weeks with Frank Wiesner, and one Sunday whilst at RAAF Oakey checking out the aircraft museum, we decided to cut a couple of chunks of Silkwood in 4x4 sections to turn up some screws. I had already made the end blocks and so we took those and tapped them.

    The bench I designed myself after quite a bit of research into benches from the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. I researched quite a good amount of documented info and photographs from benches built in the past 150 years, and put my engineering/design cap on and concocted my design to use the available materials as best as I could. The overall layout of a shoulder vise and a tail vise is nothing new - thousands before me have used it, but I did design the specifics with regards to the technical details and joinery. I'm old fashioned in that sense, as I simply brought out my notepad and started with conceptual designs, which i then refined at times by making rough mockups from cheap radiata, before settling on finalized full sized set-outs on some 6mm plywood i had left over. I think it's important to have a physical manifestation of all dimensions and the design rather than a CAD rendering and digital printouts - a person most definitely has a much deeper understanding of the design they have concocted by doing that, as opposed to generating it completely on CAD which prevents the intent of the design really sinking into your psyche....atleast for me!

  8. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Melbourne
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    35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siggykc View Post
    Hey Steve!

    one Sunday whilst at RAAF Oakey checking out the aircraft museum, we decided to cut a couple of chunks of Silkwood in 4x4 sections to turn up some screws.
    I must correct myself. We didnt turn the screws up at RAAF Oakey, nor did we steal some Silkwood from the airforce and cut it up on location. We had concluded the museum tour, misplaced the car keys and sat in the sunshine drinking a ginger beer when we decided that would be the next thing to do when we finally returned to the workshop that day.

    Fortunately a historic Ford club were doing a cruise and some 60 cars and their owners arrived, found our situation funny and helped us start the Frank's landrover and get on our way home.

  9. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Box Hill
    Age
    65
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    Sounds like you had a fun time. In regard to the work bench i get totally where Frank is coming from. You use what you have and that’s it. But workbenches have become pretty impressive looking pieces of gear and can be pretty expensive to make if you don’t have access to any stocks of timber.

    I’m in two, three or four minds with the whole thing. To me steel can do a much better job on certain parts of the bench for example, timber threads as opposed to steel acme or similar threads but…….and there is always a but…..I think you just do as you please, Steel legs instead of timber, metal stops instead of timber…who knows and for that does it really matter I have no idea.
    Steven

  10. #24
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    Nov 2019
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    Melbourne
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    35
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    Hey Steven,

    Absolutely, I understand. Use what you have, what is available to you and the tools and time that one has to as great effect as possible. If MDF and structural plywood is all one has with perhaps a hand held circ, a bag of screws and a drill, then that person should not be put down for making something "basic" like a torsion box with a cast iron vise bolted to the front.

    For Europeans, the continentals especially, a workbench was typically a tool they took pride in building because they understood that they typically had it for their entire career, and it had to be 100% tailored to their needs/ergonomics to help them perform tasks quickly and efficiently. Of course, it wasnt journeymen cabinetmakers who made them, as they often shifted shop and the master was usually the one who provided the tools and a bench they needed, but it was moreso typical of a master who ran his own workshop (as to open/run a joinery of whatever nature, traditional and to this day a "master's" qualification is necessary). Then from offcuts and timbers collected from various jobs, they were able to produce a bench for themselves. Some "Altgeselle" or senior tradesmen who essentially settled working for a single master and weren't moving workshops also built their own benches. My father explained to me how more often than not, they did built in stages (as they worked full time during the day), and it was common to build legs maybe with an apprentice to show them how to do certain joints instead of demonstrating on paid/exhibition work, give them a coat of varnish and perhaps have them set aside for a few months, and then build a top when the time and excess timber/resources were available. So for me, that's just one of the formative ideas I had in my woodworking experience - a good workbench to be proud of is essential. Much like a suit at a wedding is totally not necessary, and that a tracksuit would be more comfortable for the first dance, but it's so engrained in our culture that we wouldnt have it any other way!

    I think our cabinetmaking culture here in the English speaking countries tends to have a slightly different focus, especially with the more contemporary training. It's funny, I speak to English cabinetmakers and joiners all the time, and often they think "that's silly to spend more than a few days building a workbench", yet the same folks will gladly pay a king's ransom for an infill plane, and have many infill planes. I don't dispute the love of hand tools, but I just often ask such folks to empathize that the workbench is not just "a flat surface that you do your dirty work on top of", in actual fact at the height of its evolution, it was purely a well maintained, greased and functioning work holding devise for components of whatever you were building, and the assembly, glue up and dirty work took place on a sheet of plywood/old door/flat surface on some saw horses at a slightly lower height beside the workbench.

    When i see some people using their track saws on their "workbenches" and then critique the older folks who have beautiful benches as being unecessary, i think it simply comes from a loss of the definition of what a workbench is - as a tool.

    Perhaps the modern definition of a workbench to the amateur as the do all raised surface comes from the fact too that an amateur has a much smaller workshop that has significant spatial constraints that prohibit the use of a workbench and an assembly table.

    Oh, i actually had some really interesting thoughts too, and was going to try build one using welded RHS verticals for legs, and then wooden sled feet assemblies. The rails between the legs could also be RHS and would be ideal for hanging small clamps from during glueups for ease of access as they would never dint or wear out!

    You're right, nothing can be beat for durability and stability through the seasons than an ACME thread. Since I started working on wooden screw equipped benches, I realized the main advantage was the tactile feedback you get with a wooden screw. It has a far more sensitive feeling with regards to the initial "soft" clamping of items. Typically a wooden screw is made with just enough slop that it is not affected by the seasons (id say the guide bar system in a vise is far more effected by the seasons), and it wont do a "freewheeling" spin like the Benchcrafted screws do in the videos, but I still find the feel of them to be (qualitatively) nicer.

    But then again, we revert to the initial idea of use what's available. A wooden screw really isnt anywhere near as easy to find as a metal one, and so no one using a metal screw should be put down - only encouraged!

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