Auxiliary Bench: Finished (Mostly)

A few final steps after glue-up remained to move the new bench to this state:

Those steps were:

  • Trimming the ends. I used a long-ish panel saw because it had the finest tooth pitch, in theory. Then I sanded coarse-medium-fine to get a smooth finish on the endgrain.
  • Flattening the top. This was the easiest thing I’ve ever done a flattening job on. Wish it were always like that.
  • Applying a quick finish, a varnish and tung oil blend. Yes, the tung oil is real tung oil, and yes, it takes forever to cure. I didn’t have any boiled linseed oil, and I didn’t care.

The two pieces of soft maple that I chose for the sides of the top are curly. I didn’t anticipate that, but I guess it looks fine. In this case, I only really cared if the grain reversed or not. On the front, it did not. On the rear, it did a little, but it doesn’t seem to be of much consequence.

This is the first somewhat large thing that I’ve made with southern yellow pine. I might post my thoughts on that later.

The size is a departure for me. I knew that it wasn’t going to be very long, but I also made it 33″ tall, which is a bit tall for someone my size. Well, at least for planing, but I don’t plan to plane much on this thing (I think it would work fine for small pieces, though).

Another note on the frame is that I made the side stretchers offset from the long ones on the front and rear. This allowed me to use longer tenons because they don’t meet in the middle of a leg, which I like. Wearing illustrates this in “The Solution At Hand,” though he uses through tenons.

I slapped on a temporary shelf and immediately loaded it up:

I hated this situation under my main bench, because the shavings and sawdust were always getting into the nooks and crannies of the planes. I’ll have less of that going on over here, so it should be a little better. I don’t expect the shelf to be there forever, though. I’d like to put a box of drawers in there, albeit one that doesn’t go anywhere near all the way to the top.

But I still don’t like it. I’m doing it now because these things were getting in the freakin’ way all of the time, but my thoughts are turning to the tool chest idea. It seems there’s a lot of merit in that, but I don’t have the time right now.

I probably won’t be working on much of anything wood-related for at least a week or so. There are some other things to take care of, but after that, I do have some plans to use this bench on a few diverse tasks.

Auxiliary Bench: Leg Joints

Now I don’t know if it will be 12 joints or 16. Do twin tenons count as two joints? Something tells me no.

Of course, both of the joints on the front just happened to land on the two areas near the shallow knots on the only board of the top that contains a little bit of resin. Yuck, but I guess the one upside is that most of parts that are a little tacky will be covered by the leg.

Here’s what we’re looking at now:

In the end, the legs will not be this long, but I’ll trim them to length just before glue-up.

Now for the stretchers. 8 joints. For sure this time; I’m not doing any more twin tenons, and if I do double tenons, those probably only count as one.

Auxiliary Bench: Top Halves Glued

It’s been nothing but milling and glue-ups here. I’ve got the front and rear stretchers laminated, waiting for final dimensions, and the side stretchers are also nearly complete. I tackled the big task of jointing the two halves of the top and gluing them up today:

Huh, this is not looking too much different than my past post.

As was the case with my main workbench, this was a bit more painstaking than gluing up a bunch of narrow pieces because you can’t really count on any flex from the two halves. So there was a bit of back-and-forth of checking to see if the surfaces were mating, plus the annoyance of the jointer plane’s blade being not quite wide enough to swipe the whole edge at once. Oh yeah, and I don’t think my “straightedge” is as straight as it once was. Maybe I ought to do something about that.

I still have to slap on two pieces of maple on either side. I’ll probably leave this top in its current place while I do that. That should be a lot easier, as the maple is a lot thinner and more flexible.

In any case, we’re almost ready to do some legs and essentially get this project done. How long can 12 little ol’ mortise-and-tenon joints take, anyway?

Wait… don’t answer that.

Auxiliary Bench: Lamination Station

Though I’ve done a couple of shop-oriented things, most of the work I’ve been doing in the last couple of weeks has been milling and laminating stock for the new bench/table/thing/whatever it’s supposed to be. I’ve only done a little bit at a time, but at this point, I have all four legs milled to size, and the top mostly together. The top is currently in two halves, and I glued up the second half today:

The clamp situation still stinks, but I think I’ll be able to manage getting the two halves together with what I’ve got by using single clamps midway through the thickness rather than the doubling up that I’ve been doing up until now.

There’s still a bit more to go on all of this laminating, though–I haven’t started on the stretchers yet. I’ve also nearly emptied another bottle of glue, but that comes with the territory.

Auxiliary Bench: Legs Glued, Top Pieces Ripped

So it’s come to this:

I’ve got the legs glued up (laminated) and close to final dimension, and started ripping boards for the top today. And I almost apologize for the horrible lighting in the front. One of these days, I’ll get an additional light or two for this side of the bench.

I have decided to aim for a thickness of 2.5″ (65mm or so) on the top. I do this with some trepidation; I’d prefer a little thicker, but I just don’t have the wood on hand. My main Roubo-style bench (also shown above) is about 3.5″ thick. But I figure this will be OK, because I don’t actually plan to do much handwork on this thing. I don’t see a reason why I wouldn’t use my main bench for planing, and on the off-chance that I decide to mortise or something on the new bench, I’d do it over a leg anyway.

I have not decided on the width. I was considering around 20″ (510mm or so), but I could go wider, again because this is not my main bench and the problems with wide benches will not matter on this new one.

Another note is that I will likely use a strip or two of hardwood for the front part of the bench, as I did with beech on my main bench. I have some soft maple on hand that should fit the bill.

I’m almost out of glue. I ordered more liquid hide glue, but I do not know when it will arrive, given current circumstances. If that does not ship soon, I do have a backup: hot hide glue. For now, though, I’m going to let those pieces for the top destress a little before I flatten and prepare them for face-jointing.

Auxiliary Workbench: Getting Started

With the coffee table in the finishing stage, it’s time to move on to the next thing. I haven’t quite figured out what the next furniture project will be, but I do have a fairly immediate need in the shop for something to help out with a number of tasks, including assembly, storage, and miscellaneous kinds of work.

There are a few partial solutions to this problem, including framing up a wall to add some shelves for storage, but due to current events, I don’t think I’ll be getting the help I’d prefer with the framing down there.

So I think I’m going to make another workbench, meant as an auxiliary to the Screwbo. The reasoning is that it will solve the immediate organizational problems, and then when I get around to framing the wall or something, I can move the new bench to another part of the shop, where I already know it will be useful.

To that end, I picked through my hoard today to get some wood to get the frame started:

This is southern yellow pine. I don’t have a good source of it here (apparently the closest big-box source is in Richmond), but the borg nearby has “project wood” that happens to be SYP. The catch is that, due to bad planning, it’s cut into three-and-four-foot lengths.

The length should be OK, because I’m imagining something perhaps around three and a half feet (1060mm or so) long. I haven’t decided on the benchtop thickness yet.

This will be the first “big” thing that I’ve done in SYP. I made a stand with it about a year ago and was happy the way that turned out (even if it was sort of a quickie).

In any case, it’s a fair amount of wood to mill. Time to get rolling.

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