Bench progress -getting close

I made some progress this weekend. On Friday I gat all 4 legs into their mortices and spent a couple of hours getting everything square. The I marked out and glued up the stretchers.

Then I flipped the bench top up and finally installed the end vise and screwed a piece of white oak across the end.  I also glued up three similar pieces to make the new chop which I will cut to size and install once the glue cures.

  After cutting all of the legs to the same length and marking all of the mortices locations it was time to start boring out the waste and chopping/shaving the mortices.
  Looks like I bored one side a bit deep but overall not too bad.  Three more legs to go.

One leg down

Made some progress on the bench today. As I finally cut out the dovetail mortices and squared up the through on the front of the bench.

Then I spent about an hour trimming and adjusting everything to get the vise leg to fit.  Three more to go.

A different kind of woodworking – earthquake safety 

Several years ago I built a Lingerie Chest for my wife to make use of an empty space in our old bedroom.  In our new house it has ended up crammed next to the bed and the 4.0 earthquake last weekend (not to mention the toddler who has started climbing) forced me to finally put some earthquake straps on it.  

Since the piece is so narrow I get to attach both straps to the same stud but hopefully there won’t be and side-to-side movement.

I did not build the bedside table (which is actually part of a desk) which is a high quality Chinese Rosewood piece made in Hong Kong decades ago.  It’s on the bucket list.

A “boring” weekend in the shop

I got some shop time on Sunday and spent most of it angering out the waste from the bench top’s through mortices.  I also finished chopping out the space for my end vise which just needs some minor adjustments. 

I am getting better at making a square hole and I marked the mortice center line on both sides of the bench to see how close the spur came to its mark. Every hole came close and the last few were just about dead on.

It was a hot and muggy weekend (by SF standards) and I should have known better but when I sprayed a coat of shellac on the handles of my #10 they ended up with a milky white color to them.  Hopefully this will go away as it driers so I can avoid sanding it off.

I had also hoped to get the groove for the sliding deadman cut but that will have to wait until next weekend (I’m in D.C. all week for work).

Restoring a Stanley #10 – Part 1

Here is my Stanley #10 which was part of the batch of tool I purchased from a collector early last year (the same one I bought Big Bertha from). He sold it to me as a discounted price due to its poor condition: it was covered in rust, the tote was broken, and the mouth had obviously been chipped and badly refiled. I did not have time to deal with most of the issues when I purchased it but did nuke the rust on the blade, chip breaker, and cap-leaver. I’m apparently bad at before pictures so here is the plane as it looked on Friday:


Most of the Japaning was missing or loose and there was rust all over the plane body. Since I already had the electrolysis gear out for the vise the frog and the body went into the bath for a long soak. 6 hours later I hit them with a brass brush and then back into the bath for several more hours (I’m not sure if my sacrificial iron is getting used up or if it’s because I am using Washing Soda instead of my usual baking soda but the rust removal went much slower this weekend).  After the last soak I used a “between finishes” sanding pad to remove the black residue left on the parts and placed them into a 225 degree oven for 10 minutes, letting them cool inside the oven; this fully dries out the parts in preparation for painting. Once the parts had cooled down there was a fair amount of flash rust that I removed with a wire brush mounted to a Dremmel Multi-tool (I don’t have a bench grinder yet).


For applying the new finish, I followed Rex Mill’s plan using engine paint with the addition of petroleum jelly on the areas where paint is not needed, as recommended by Bob Jones.


Before                                After Flash Rust Removal                                 After Painting

Tonight I will wipe/scrape/sand off the excess paint and access the straightness of the plane mouth.

I also started repairing the broken tote. It’s not a clean break and it had a previous railed repair so I decided to use a compilation of the techniques found on Rex Mill’s site. First I scrapped out as much of the excess glue that I could, and then I drilled a series of small holes in each face of the break (the theory being that this would give more surface area for the epoxy. A quarter inch dowel rapped in tape and coated with petroleum jelly lined up the two parts and I smeared 5 minute epoxy into the holes on each face, squished the two parts together with my fingers, and added a bead of epoxy on the outside to fill the chips/gaps along the break. Once the epoxy was 90% set up I pulled out the dowel and continued to hold the pieces together until the bead was hard to the touch.

IMG_0810 IMG_0811

I forgot to take a picture of the glued up tote but I will make sure to do so before I sand it down.

End vise conundrum

I could use some advise.  Attempting to add the monster quick release vise to my bench as an end vise has hit a snag.  Because this vise is such a beast, the parallel bars are quite long which means the nearest leg is in the way if I use a symmetrical overhang.  Moving the leg out of the way would require it to move nearly 6 inches, resulting in a 42 inch base on a 6 foot bench.  The other complication is my garage floor has a heavy slope for drainage and the end vise is on the downhill of the slope so if I shift the leg the long side will have a heavy vise and be downhill.

The other choose is to shift the vise 2 inches away from the front edge (or do something crazy and notch the leg).

Anyone have any thoughts?

The red clamping brace is where the leg should go.

Vise restoration part 2 

Yesterday I removed the rest of the rust off of the parallel bars using a plastic abrasive disk, as recomended by paul sellers.   It also did a nice job on the faces and integrated bench dog.

I decided the pair was in good enough shape to leave alone.  After a heavy coat of 3-in-1 oil on the threads and bars I ran through the operation a few times and was happy with how smooth it worked.   Hopefully on Sunday I was start the mounting process on the end of the bench, one I lay out the leg mortices.