My bench was made mostly with handtools following the general principles from the Workbench books by Christopher Schwarz. The legs are 6x6s from Home Depot, the top is 8/4 Beech and 8/4 Maple, with an additional layer of pine 2x6s for added thickness. The stringers and the shelf are pine 2×6 or 2×4.
Overall it has been a success. I definitely learned a ton doing making it, but that will be the subject of another post.
The leg vice uses the wood screws that I made earlier, all total it can crush something about 6″ thick before I run out of threads.
Like all major projects this one is pretty much never ending. I’m going to finish drilling the line of bench dog holes as I need them. Also I’m going to put on a planing stop just past the leg vice on the end.
The bench has not had any finish applied as I live in a wintery state and until I can open up the windows it will stay unfinished.
I decided that my old “improved” Harbour Freight workbench no longer was up to the task.
The first step was to build a Roy Underhill designed “Portable Workbench”. I made one from Poplar with the folding legs, tool tray and it was a success. I used this as a trial run for the height, my previous bench was roughly 36″ tall, the new one is about 32″. My secondary use for the portable bench was to be able to demo and teach off of something that I was comfortable with.
I found this worked so well that I was able to use it during the process of the workbench construction. Pictured below is the old one, I move the drawers so that I could use a holdfast, added a new vice (removed and put on the new bench) and added a planeing stop (too small to see in this picture) and a hook to work edges with.
I tried to make a manual screwbox but had some issues, so I resorted to making one that used a router bit to cut the threads.
You can see the alignment holes for some large bolts to keep the front plate on and a large hole that was made for the cutter.
In the end I mounted it vertically in my mill, put a 60 degree taper router bit into a collet fired up the mill and slowly turned the screw into the threads. In effect I made a clumsy Beall thread cutting tool that cuts to whatever pitch my nuts come out to. There is a little blow out on the threads but not much worse that I got when I manually chiseled them out.
So far I have two matching screws for the moxon vice, one for a leg vice on my current workbench project and another if I want to make a wagon makers vice. Also there is my first sample that I chiseled out the first 3 inches of thread in about 3 hours and decided that was way too painful.
If I was to make any more external threads I think I’d look at re-working this tool. Part of my issues come from the mill operates at 2700 rpm so it cuts slowly and pretty rough.
I was a little amazed at how much slop in the threads and it all still works, the moxon vice grabs well and I have not put handles on it to gain more leverage.
This is the tool that is used to make nuts. First you bore a hole that is the minor diameter in the block of wood that will become the nut. Then slide the block on to the “reamer” the light colored thing with the grooves and the little metal cutter. Then pound the block into the 4 little metal studs that are sticking out.
Then the fun part begins, advance the cutter a tiny bit and twist it in taking a fine shaving. Rinse and repeat till you have a nut. The results are pretty amazing.
I did learn that you need to use a hard wood, poplar is about as soft as I could get. Ash worked well and I’d assume that maple would work good also.
Now you have a limitless supply of threaded nuts to what ever pitch you cut the groove into, I used 1/2″ pitch. The cutter can be swapped out so that I could cut any thread angle I have tried both 45 degree and 60 degree cutters.