In my last entry on this build I had finished most of the flat work. That means it's almost time to hit the lathe. The first order of business was to select some straight grained wood to use to turn the dowels for the vise screws. Like chair parts, grain that runs out the side of the screws will significantly weaken them.
I ripped the stock to 1 3/8" squares. Then I cranked the blade over to 45 degrees and installed my aux fence to rip off the corners to make octagons.
Now that I have most of the bench complete it's time to start gluing and cleaning some things up. The first order of business was to glue up the two parts of the bench top. For this I used the same technique I used when I was gluing up the ash 2x4's for my bench top: apply the glue to both sides and then use parallel jaw clamps to keep the two pieces in alignment while you apply the clamping pressure.
If you are gluing up more than two pieces this technique works great. After 15 minutes you can unclamp long enough to add another piece on and re-clamp the stack and keep going. You'll end up with a slab
In my last post I had cut all the pieces for the bench to their final dimensions - minus the end pieces which I intentionally left long. Today it's time to begin cutting some of the joinery for this little bench. The first task was to cut a groove in the front rail and back half of the bench top that will receive the tenons from the side of the wagon vise block.
The grooves are 3/8" deep and 1/2" wide and must be centered in the stock. I decided to use my Whiteside 1/2" downcut spiral carbide router bit for these grooves. Normally I would do this operation on the table saw, but
Today I started out by checking the squareness and moisture content of the roughly milled parts for the workbenches. None of them had moved that I could perceive. The moisture content had dropped about 1% since I brought the stock into the shop. At 9% I shouldn't have any issues with unexpected wood movement.
I re-jointed all the parts and then started planing all the stock down to the specified 1 5/8". As I was preparing to rip the parts to width I noticed
In the June 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking there is an article by Chris Schwarz titled "The Milkman's Workbench". Chris approached me about possibly making one of these benches for someone in need and I gladly accepted. After I started planning for the build in earnest I decided that I might as well build two of these at the same time.