Friday, 27 November 2015

Roubo Bench with BenchCrafted Glide Vice

At the Handworks show in Iowa this year Mark Hicks kindly lent me a bench with a BenchCrafted glide vice with criss cross. I was so impressed I brought one back with me (the vice not the bench!) All I needed to do was to build a bench. This one is as simple as it gets with 4" square legs and frame and a 4" thick beech top. The top was laminated from stock from an old bench as well as new material. Above is half the top being glued up, the laminations were done one board at a time to ensure no glue lines.

Here are the parts for the criss cross with the main waste being excavated on the drill press.
Below you can see evidence of the salvaged parts complete with dogs holes and cut off dominoes. Most of these will be hidden underneath or inside the top.

With the two halves lined up I'm checking for flatness to eliminate too much flattening afterwards.

they lined up well but the there was a gap in the middle which was too big to clamp up. After a fair bit of hand planing and checking the gap was small enough to clamp up

I only need to clamp in the middle as the ends were pulled tight on their own.
Note the two clamps on the end to keep the parts level.

Back to the Criss Cross mortises which were finished off with a 1/2" router and up spiral bit.

The frame was built from 4" square beech and pine and the only thing needed to hold the top firmly in place was a couple of dominoes. They were dry fitted on one end and fitted to the end grain of the front legs to keep the top flush with the frame. The weight of the top does the rest.

Unfortunately I couldn't avoid some of the salvaged wood showing some dominoes on the topside. I was going to leave this but just couldn't bring myself to, so it was patches to the rescue!

I cut 3 mm (1/8") thick diamonds from some off cuts. I used the disc sander to put a 3 degree bevel on each of the edges which meant that after knifing the patch and removing the waste it could be hammered home to a really tight fit.

The patches worked well although some were a better colour match than others.

And here's the finished bench, simple robust and a joy to use. The Glide Vice with the Criss Cross was actually much easier and quicker to fit than the mark one version with the peg board that I installed a few years ago. All it needs are a few dog holes and it's ready to go to work.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Arts and Crafts Cabinet at Auction

 A short while ago this small stationary cabinet came up for auction and I was really taken by its proportions and small size. It's a beautiful little thing, measuring 43 cm wide x 24 deep x 31.5 high (17" x 9 1/2" x 12 1/2")
 It is made from French walnut which has faded over the years to a nice colour. The corners are through dovetailed in true arts and crafts style.

The lower rails also features wedged through tenons.

The drawer has nice done drawer slips and a curved front lip. The auction estimate was £100 - £150 so I thought I would have a go, but in the end there were obviously plenty more admirers and it went under the hammer for £650. After adding on the commission and carriage charges etc that totalled about £850, far too much for me. The good news is that given the dimensions, I was able to scale off the main photo and get all I needed to build a version for myself, watch this space!!

Friday, 20 November 2015

New Work Bench Finally Arrives!

My new work bench made by Leif Karlsson in Sweden has arrived
The carriers in this country lost it for a week but thankfully found it again!
It the smallest of the benches he produces at 1600 mm long (53") but this is an ideal size for the way I work and is still a pretty hefty bench. He made it taller than normal at 37" which suits me.

It is a traditional Scandinavian bench with a hefty tail vice and very useful shoulder vice.
Considering the work involved they are very reasonably priced, even with the shipping costs from Sweden.

There are five sets of large scale dovetails..........

........both through and half blind.

The top is mortised and tenoned into the cross rail for added strength.
It's no wonder no one is making this style of bench any more.

The tusk tenons lock the frame firmly together, such a simple and effective joint.

Leif kindly signed the bench for me, this was to be the last he was going to make before retiring. But he's since told me he's turned 8 more vice screws, so if you are interested in one of his fine benches I'm sure he can be persuaded!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Lovely Miniature Toolbox

A friend of mine from Canada has just completed a third scale version of a Tommy Mac tool chest which he built a while back. He has a number of miniature tools which prompted the build.

You can see the webframe construction for the drawers above, and below the finished chest in action.
If you'd like to see the full article please see Richard's Blog

Friday, 13 November 2015

Miniature Chest With Piston Fit Drawers, Alan Peters

Back in 1997 Alan Peters wrote an article for Fine Woodworking titled 'Fitting a Drawer', it was issue 125 and can be read here
I've read this article many times and is a must if you want to achieve a well fitted drawer. The little desk top cabinet in that article really caught my eye and so I decided to make one.

The wonderful walnut was purchased from Alan Peters widow Laura, as was the the rippled sycamore for the drawer sides. The drawer dividers are scalloped, giving access to a finger groove under the drawer front, no fat fingers here!

The through dovetails give a decorative touch which was often used by Alan, although not on the cabinet in the article. An interesting feature is the back of the drawers which instead of being dovetailed, was set in 3" from the back and tenoned with tiny walnut wedges. This gives full access to the contents without risking the drawer falling out of the cabinet, great idea.

I book matched the rear panel with the top, it may not be seen much but is a nice touch.
I've written an article on the making which will be appearing with a full exploded drawing in the next few months. I'll post when it comes out.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

New Batch of Dovetail Knives

I've just completed a batch of dovetail knives ready for Xmas. I've done some Pink Ivory ones which have been out of stock for a while.

I've also made quite a few Macassar ebony which have also been out .

The are similar to the African Blackwood in looks and weight but have nice chocolate streaks running through.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Another High Angled Smoother

After my first attempt at a new plane, I thought I'd have another go, this time in rare Andaman padauk. This was one of James Krenovs favourite woods and I bought a few precious planks from Alan Peters widow a few years back.
I bought some brass M5 bolts for the bridge and I reduced the head in diameter, although they still seemed a bit large. I've got used to them now and I think they look ok.

  Instead of polishing up the bridge and screw head I sanded them to 320 grit which I think looks nice.

This is not a spectacular timber but the colour really seems to glow and I love it. It will darken down in time to a deep red, unlike the African padauk which turns pretty quickly from bright red to grey.

I finished it with two coats of Devon Wood oil which gave a nice Matt finish with just a hint of sheen, just right for this wood.

And here it is next to the first one in Brazilian Tulipwood.