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Archive for September 2013

  • Aprons On

    Saturday 14th September 2013

    All of a sudden the bench has some form. I cut in the cross members that will add extra support to the top. I went for a dovetailed joint here because as long as I cut it sweet it will hold and clamp itself in place ensuring the aprons are parallel. With the aprons on I can also start using the bench in a limited fashion.

    It’s rather sad to say but I’m really looking forward to making the tongue and groove boarding for the shelf. As I have dropped the concept of a “how to” I’m going to take the timber from rough stock to finished tongue and grooved board using hand tools. If you watch the video sorry about the noise in the background, there was quite a heavy shower of rain when I was filming!

    Wide Workbench Aprons

    The dovetail joint worked well and I ended up with a nice straight apron. This is important as the edge of the bench will be a reference face because there will be no vice cheek fitted to the side of the bench. In addition to being dovetailed the cross members are glued and nailed in position. With making most of this by hand you quickly learn how much hard work winding in massive screws is. I had to wind 24 of them in to attach the aprons, that combined with the pilot holes took some time. Luckily for me I have many buckets of old hand made nails at work which I could delve into to.

    Hand Made Nails

    What a revelation compared to screws, a few firm blows followed with a nail punch and it’s done. I know nails are not good for all applications and I would of screwed the aprons no matter what, but if you enjoy hand tool work nails are very rapid and should not be forgotten as an option.

  • Preparing The Aprons

    Monday 9th September 2013

    Bench Aprons

    If there is one thing that defines a typical British joiners bench it’s those wide aprons. These aprons provide extra rigidity to the bench, reinforce the typically thinner top and provide a location for bench pegs or holdfasts. I have reflected Peter Nicholson’s pattern for bench pegs on the apron.

    I did a little experiment on some scrap wood using an 18mm bit to bore a hole to see if the Richard Maguire Tomes Holdfast would work well in the 38mm – 1.5″ apron and bench top. I had my concerns as nearly all holfasts I have seen have been used in thicker French style tops. I need not had worried, they clamped down very hard hard indeed.

    All the holes were bored with an old Stanley brace and bit. Nothing special, plastic handles, pitted chrome, still worked like a dream though. Kinda tool you can pick up for next to nothing on e-bay or at a car boot sale.

    Workbench Build Aprons

  • Wedged Tenon

    Monday 2nd September 2013

    Wedged Tenon

    The leg frames of the workbench have been glued up today. On joinery like this I don’t think you can beat a good old wedged joint. In my mind at least it creates the Holly Grail of joints. A fully enclosed dovetail. I like to drive the wedges into the tenon. My reasoning is that the wedge has two faces of long grain to bond to whereas when driven against the outer edges of the tenon there is only one long grain bond. The wedges on the outer faces also, in my mind at least, only create a tight joint whereas the wedges in the tenon make the tenon actually part and fit the splayed mortice.

    Needles to say I’m a fan of wedging and it is how we secure the joints on just about all of our external doors.