12th July 2020, 11:56 PM #1
WIP Shaker Workbench with Split Top
I've finally started building my workbench and I thought I'd share my progress. I don't really have a plan, it's just all in my head. I'm relatively inexperienced and this is the most ambitious and complex woodworking project I have attempted. As such, I'm probably won't be doing things as how things are supposed to be done. In other words, my way is probably not the one to use as a tutorial.
The bench will be an island type (i.e. it won't be up against a wall) and I'm aiming for a length of 2.9m and a depth of 950mm. The base will be constructed of Australian HW (legs are blackbutt, stretchers are ironbark, web frames probably spotted gum). The 4" top will be made of 2 laminated slabs of reclaimed spotted gum. The drawer sides will probably be Tassie Oak and the faces will be old growth fiddleback Tassie Oak I bought from Sapherion.
Here's my progress so far:
Hopefully somewhere in this pile of timber is my dream workbench.
Laminating the legs.
The finished legs. The left leg is 265mm wide and 70mm thick. The right leg is 100mm x 70mm. The left is wider to accommodate the leg vise.
I dropped one of the legs and broke one of the corners of the dovetail tenon. I couldn't find the broken corner to glue it back on so I used a rasp to flatten the corner and glued a scrap piece.
The result. The grain and colour isn't a match but it's going to be hidden by the top so it doesn't really matter.
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13th July 2020, 12:10 AM #2
I decided to use my Festool XL Domino to cut the mortises but the tenons were cust with the table saw and bandsaw and the corners rounded to match the mortises. There was no way I was going to cut 70mm deep mortises in to Blackbutt. I used some scrap pieces as a proof of concept and to work out the layout /measurements.
13th July 2020, 12:28 AM #3
Rear frame all glued up using thickened epoxy (West Systems) and drawbored with 9.5mm Tassie Oak dowels from Bunnings. The bottom stretcher is 135mm wide and 40mm thick and the top stretcher is 75mm x 40mm. The whole frame is about 2112mm long. I'll let it dry overnight and glue up the front frame tomorrow. That's all for now.
13th July 2020, 02:28 AM #4
Just semi curious
will you be fitting the HNT Gordon to the new bench?
if not will both benches fit in your two car shed?regards from Sydney
13th July 2020, 03:10 PM #5
I'll move the HNT tail vise to this bench but the HNT face vise will probably stay on the current bench or I may sell it. This new bench will have 3 vises (HNT tail vise on the back left; a Benchcrafted Classic leg vise on the front left; and a twin screw or moxon vise on the right end). It will replace the current bench in its present location which I will relocate to the back wall to use as a base for my future lathe and/or mortiser.
13th July 2020, 03:45 PM #6
I've taken the rear frame out of the clamps and flushed off the dowels with a Japanese flush cut saw. I was really pleased with how the joints came out and how tight they are. Drawboring really does work. I offset the holes in the tenons by about 1.5mm and I was worried it would be too much but I had no problems driving the dowels in. Below are some pics of the joints after hitting it with 80 grit on my ROS:
The front frame is now glued up and in the clamps. I'm really glad that I decided to use epoxy for the frames because the extra open time allowed for relatively stress-free glue up. I really needed it for the front frame to make sure everything is square and just right.
Next step is to make up the horizontal drawer dividers (not sure of the correct terminology) but that's for next time.
26th July 2020, 08:55 PM #7
I've installed the horizontal drawer divider thingies. Here are a few photos....
No idea what the name of this joint is but it's what I used for the intersection with the vertical members.
Dry fit. It was a bit too tight resulting in the repaired dovetail corner coming off. I didn't notice it until I had taken it out of the clamps.
Here are the dovetails after sanding with 80 grit. The one disadvantage of using thickened epoxy is it dries white and highlights every tiny little gap.
The intersection joints came out a bit better.
The finished frames. Up next are the web frames. Cheers.
12th August 2020, 12:16 AM #8
Dry assembly of the right side frames to check for squareness. Next step is to dimension some of my fiddleback Tassie Oak and resaw some 5mm veneers for the panel to go in to the side frame.
The 25mm thick rough sawn FB Tas Oak came out to around 21.5mm after jointing and planing. This yielded 3 veneers. I would resaw the first 5mm veneer and run the board through the thicknesser before resawing the second veneer so that each veneer would at least have one dressed faced. I then stuck 2 veneers with double sided sticky onto a bit of MDF with the dressed face down and ran it through the thicknesser to get the sawn face smooth and the thickness to about 4mm. I then edge joined 2 veneers using the stretched blue tape trick to "clamp" them together. I ran the jointed veneers through the thicknesser again to get it down to 3mm. I repeated the process and then joined the two to get the necessary width I needed for the panel (410mm). I then stuck the veneer onto 12mm marine ply.
Here's the resulting veneered panel after sanding to 400 grit and a few coats of shellac. I'll top it off with a few coats of Minwax wipe-on poly. If I knew that the joins would be so prominent (it's the grain and not actual gaps in the joints), I would have positioned the seams symmetrically but I was being stingy and trying to maximise the veneers for fear of running out of FB Tas Oak. They're going to be used for the 18 drawer faces and the last thing I want is to run out.
The next stage is to cut the grooves for the panel now that I have it's final thickness (the veneer ended up being about 2.5mm thick). The other side frame is almost ready for glue up. I didn't have to make a centre panel (yet) as it will have a door instead. I just have to rout the mortises for the SOSS door hinges and it can be glued. That's for next time. Cheers.
15th August 2020, 09:28 PM #9
I got some more shop time today and finished the side frames. First I had to make a jig to cut the mortices for the SOSS hinges.
This is what I came up with with some scrap MDF. The gap is 30mm for my guide bushing. The bit of MDF in the centre isn't secured so it can be adjusted for the 2 different lengths of mortises I needed. For the longer mortise, I centre align the 31mm line with the centre of where I want the hinge to go and I move the centre MDF to the 62mm line to act as a stop. This mortice is only 5mm deep. To do the shorter but deeper mortice, I move the jig so that the 18mm line lines up with the centre line of my hinge and move the MDF stop to the 32mm line. I rout this shorter mortice in multiple passes to a depth of 19mm.
Here's the result. It's a tight fit but the hinge can be pushed in and removed by hand. This is the SOSS model 203 hinge for those interested.
One final dry fit to mark the drawbore holes with a brad point bit and to make sure the centre panel fits and that the frame is still square.
Here are the 2 side frames all glued and sanded. The centre panel has been finished with hard shellac and then a few coats of wipe on poly. I'm learning to have a bit more patience and foresight on this project. Finishing the centre panel was something I probably would never have even thought of doing a year ago. Similarly, I'm really pleased with myself that I thought to rout the mating mortices on the door stile. I just have to make sure that I put that piece of timber aside and not damage like did to the left vertical. It fell off my bench and took a huge chunk on one corner. It's why the left frame has a huge white epoxy "infill". I dodged a bullet because it will eventually be hidden by the bottom skirt. The only other mishap I made at this stage was I got the maths wrong when calculating the alignment holes for my jig. That'll teach me to try do it in my head. Other than those mistakes, I'm really chuffed with the tightness of the joints turned out and how square the frames came out. Hopefully the middle frames, which will act as the drawer guides, turn out as well. That's next. Cheers.
16th August 2020, 02:19 AM #10
16th August 2020, 08:31 AM #11I now have 3 sheds
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They look like Wera screwdrivers, 17 of them by my count.
16th August 2020, 10:27 AM #12
16th August 2020, 12:50 PM #13
You do seem to have a very "healthy" collection of yellow handled Wera screwdrivers. Thirteen by my count.
The other four drivers appear to be:
1 x stainless steel -- grey handle
2 x Phillips -- but it might be 1 x Phillips and 1 x pozidrive, given they're located at opposite ends of the rack,
1 x Robertson -- red handle.
would you care to describe which yellow handled Wera drivers you have?regards from Sydney
16th August 2020, 07:31 PM #14
The one furthest left is 3/16" ball hex driver for adjusting my Incra mitre gauge and flip stop. Next to it is a #1 Robertson screwdriver. You are correct, the red handled one is a #2 Robertson (my most commonly used screws). And the one furthest to the right is a 300mm #2 Phillips screwdriver for when I need the extra reach.
Please excuse the off kilter sticker. I find this set gets me by most woodworking situations but when I need the other hex and Torx sizes, the sets below pretty much covers it.
25th August 2020, 07:10 PM #15
I've pretty much finished the 4 middle frames. I've just glued up the last one.
I've taken more care with my set-up when cutting the tenon shoulders in order to improve my precision and repeatability. I can be a bit ham-fisted so I didn't want to rely on the flip stops on the sliding table. A bit of wood double clamped to the fence provides a better registration. I also tried clamping the workpiece to the fence which is something I don't normally do.
Very happy with the end results.
I was a bit worried that I overdid it with the offset for the drawbore holes but the 9.5mm Tassie Oak dowels from Bunnings were pliable enough and I had no issues driving them in. Although I made sure I chamfered the end more than I normally do. This is easy enough to do with an ordinary pencil sharpener.
Here's the last frame still in the clamps. The reason for the 6mm ply infill panels is because it's going to serve as the back of the cupboard on the LH side and I didn't want stuff to fall through the back. The shelf inside the cupboard will probably sit on the first divider from the bottom. I didn't think I needed an infill panel on the top section as it's such a small gap so I left it out.
I should be ready to glue the base together on the weekend. But first I'll have to make up some clamping squares and a couple of very low "saw horses" as I don't like my chances of lifting the assembled base off my workbench if I were to use that. One of the face frames was hard enough. This is going to be one HEAVY workbench.
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