Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Few New Things

Last week I finished a new work bench, made from pressure treated 6x6s. I had them laying around, so I used them. This bench is super massive. The top felt it weighed 80-100 pounds alone.

I don't have any vises, but I installed a plane stop and I bought a couple clamps that can traverse the width of the top with room to spare. This allows me to hold wood adequately in the three major planes of orientation. In the photo I have a piece of scrap pine clamped for edge planing while I was tuning my planes.

The difficulty I'm having is clamping a piece flat to the top of the bench, such as when I want to chisel a mortise into the face of a piece. The trouble is that my clamps are too long to orient the excess bar below the bench, and orienting the excess bar above the bench puts them right in the way of my mallet. I drilled dog holes that will accept traditional holdfasts, but haven't decided whether I actually want to shell out for a pair or deal with what I have.

After I finished assembling my bench in my basement room, I started getting my planes in shape. I have had these for quite some time, but without an effective way to hold my work, they were almost useless (except for trimming a door once). With the bench, though, they become very useful. I got a piece of glass, some spray adhesive, and a bunch of cheap sandpaper in 100 and 220. I also picked up some 400, 600, and 1200 wet/dry. I polished the soles, lapped the blades, sharpened them up.

The knob on my Bailey #5 is broken, and the screw is bent, so I need to make a replacement and try to find a suitable screw. I haven't got around to it yet, but I have been using it without any problem. I put a slight camber on the blade, and I have it set heavy to try to take the place of a scrub plane. Using it is a bit of a workout, but it does the job. I have one of my block planes set as a heavy smoother, and the other block plane set as a fine smoother. I polished rubbed some paste wax onto all the polished metal to try to reduce rusting caused by my grimy mitts.

With these three planes I can take a rough hewn board down to a glassy smooth, square board.

Leevalley is running a great deal on some mortise chisels. Only through the 15th, so if you want some, get on it quick. I lightly flattened the backs, polished up the bevels, and they cut great.

I felt a hankering for a couple of longer knives, so I ordered a Mora #2 and a Lauri 4.8" blade from Ben's Backwoods. I love the Mora #1 blade shape and length, but the handle is too small to be comfortable for heavy cutting. The #2 has a nice big handle.

1 comment:

  1. Now that is one meaty bench!! I really like. You may want to consider adding a moxon twin screw vise that you can put on and take off. That will improve your work holding rep by a lot. And as far as holdfasts go, I was skeptical myself for a long time but dude, you gotta try them. They quickly became my favorite bench accessory. If you want to give them a try on the cheep they sell a cheep cast iron one over at Harbor Freight Tools for around 3 bucks. It's where I started and now I don't know how I lived without them. And I'm thinking of upgrading to some better ones.