Trestle Table Leg Mortice

My flight back on Friday ended up being delayed 2 hours so I got home after midnight.  As a result, Saturday was a bit of a wash woodworking wise but progress was made on Sunday.

For cutting the tenons on the verticle components, my Moxon vise raises the height just enough to make the cross cutting easier. 
One leg assembly is ready for final fitting and smoothing (the bridle joint for the cross piece will wait until smithing is done).  The main joint is complete for the second assembly but the half lap socket still needs to be cut.

Leg Vise Costs (and some table work)

Last night, on the bus ride home from work, I was reading Bill’s recent post on his Slightly Confused Woodworker blog regarding the virtues of leg vises.  I agree with him they, are awesome.  One point he mentioned was how cheap they are to build so I decided to calculate the hardware costs for the one I built; and because I purchased some of the Moxon Vise hardware at the same time I calculated its cost as well.

Acme Hex Nuts $   10.50
3′ Acme Rod $ 16.00
Total Hardware $ 26.50
Acme Cost Per Vise(2) $ 13.25
Leg Vise Acme $ 13.25
Bronze Bearing $   5.44
Total Leg Vise Hardware Cost $ 18.69
Moxon Vise Acme $ 13.25
Bronze Bushings (2) $ 10.40
Total Moxon Hardware Cost $ 23.65

As you can see the cost is pretty darn reasonable.I purchased my parts online (Amazon and eBay) so I’m sure the cost would have been lower from a metal working shop and you could really do without the bronze bearings.  I don’t remember what the maple cost (the rest of the wood was scrap in my shop) and you would need to include the cost of the 5 minute epoxy used to attach the acme rod to the hubs but overall they are very reasonable.

Try doing that with a metal vise.

Last night I ended up using my leg vise to true up one of the table edges and then cross cut the ends to be perpendicular to that side.  The ends will need some block plane work before I start cutting the breadboard tenons and the opposite side needs some adjustment but that will wait until the stand is farther along.  Now that I know the width is 34.5 inches, I can start work on the legs.

Harvey Ellis Saw Till – Part 3 – Cutting Tails

I strained my back at the gym on Wednesday so I decided working on the bench top would not be the best idea therefore this weekend was all about cutting pins. By sneaking in a few minutes after work I head already sized and square the case top and bottom, all that remained was planning them to their final width. I decided to jury rig a panel gauge using some scrap and a clamp which worked well enough for what I needed.


After plowing the groove for the back it was time to mark and cut some pins. Since the case sides are longer than my bench is wide and my bench is not easily moved due to its lack of attached legs, I decided to relocate my Moxon vise to the end of the bench. This gave me room to lay the case side on top and trace the tails with my marking knife, and then I marked out the face lines and got cutting. The end results were pretty good for a first attempt at free hand dovetails, there were a few gaps but the joint is structurally sound.

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Saturday we decided to walk to the SF Zoo (it’s a 3.5 mile walk) and we cut through Golden Gate Park to get there. For those of you who don’t know Golden Gate Park has a small herd of Bison (commonly called Buffalo) which is where we noticed this sign.

Oddly Specific
Oddly Specific

Saturday night I cut the second set of pins and these were atrocious; gaps everywhere and the front edges of the boards did not line up meaning I had to make the gaps even bigger in order to get them close to flush. In the end it was unbelievably loose and will need wedges/shims to be structural.

Luckily this was followed by an excellent bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Luckily this was followed by an excellent bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sunday I managed to cut the two remaining sets of pins; set three was about the same as set one but for the final set I decided to use a mechanical pencil instead of a knife making it easier to see the lines and adding a bit more of a buffer zone; this was the best of the four.


Since I still had some time I decided to pick or a board for the divider between the drawer and the saw area. This board needed to be a quarter inch longer than the case top/bottom in order to have the through tenons stick out and it needed to be around the same width to make layout easier (I will plane down the front edge after joinery is complete to make a consistent 18th inch reveal). Unfortunately there were no suitable boards and any glue-ups would have required a ripping a narrow strip. Instead I decided to use one of the case side cut offs that had a rather nasty knot on the edge which I chiseled out before planning the board to width. This knot void will only be visible from the back and from inside the drawer space, plus this is garage storage/practice piece so better to be economical about things.


Then I plowed a groove on the top and bottom of the board to hold the back pieces. This is one of the design elements from the tools box inspiration that I really liked.


Harvey Ellis Saw Till – Part 1

Sometimes it feels almost impossible to get some shop time in. Over the weekend I attempted to make some headway during Henry’s afternoon naps and both times I ended up receiving a phone call that turned into hour long conversations. Since the weekend was mostly filled with cleaned and home improvement projects, I decided to not finish milling the bench top as I had planned (I had even sharpened up my 6, 7 & 8 in anticipation); instead, I decided to get started on my saw till.


I cut out the sides slightly over-sized and jointed one edge with my #7 and then squared up the edge with my #5 & attached Miller Falls jointing guide.

As you can see from the undersized shaving, I was a bit out of square.
As you can see from the undersized shaving, I was a bit out of square.

I then used this as the reference edge to square up the ends and adjust the length with the shooting board and did a mediocre job planning them with width (I really need a panel gauge). Since this is just shop storage I did not get to picky on smoothing the surfaces but I spent a few minutes flattening the surface and then plowed a groove for the back pieces.


Next it was time to inaugurate the Moxon Vise and gut some tails. I alighted the reference edge (which will be the front face of the carcass) and clamped them together with the outside faces touching in an effort to minimize visible damage. Next I laid out the tails using the dividers method and marked my tails using my old Veritas Magnetic dovetail guide as a pattern and started cutting. It is amazing, I have owned my BadAxe saw for almost a year and these are the first dovetails they have cut.

I thought these looked a lot better in person than they do in this picture
I thought these looked a lot better in person than they do in this picture
Waste sawed out.
Waste removed.

At this point there was just enough time for a shower before Game of Thrones started so chopping the waste (and testing out my “new” dovetail chisel) will wait until one day after work.


Moxon Vise – Part 4 or How I Learned to use a Pilot Hole with a Jennings Auger Bit

My part of the proposal is out the door so I made it home at a reasonable hour and managed to make some progress in the shop. Dino got a light sanding and a light coat of primer followed by black on the handles and tail support piece. This weekend he is getting a full coat of paint so I wanted the black to have sufficient cure time so I could tape them off; most of the evening was spent on the Moxon vise.

I ordered a 12”X24” piece of split leather from Amazon last week and while it is not enough to cover the entirety of the inner jaws, it will be enough for most woodworking (I have not tried but I think the jaws are wide enough for sharpening full size saws). I split the leather lengthwise and laid out where the leather would go on each jaw.


I then smeared liquid hide glue all over these areas (using my gloved hand), laid the leather out on each side, and pressed the pieces in place with the vise itself (with parchment paper in between).


Once that was clamped up, I took one of the clamping notch offcuts and sawed off two squares which were slightly thicker than the Acme nuts. After planning them smooth I split them down the middle which gave me two rectangular blocks the same thickness. These I then clamped on either side of the nut and then clamped to the vise itself creating stop blocks to keep the nut from turning. These blocks will then be capped by a strip of maple which will hold the nut against the rear jaw.

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Unfortunately, I ran out of clamps after the first one so I decided to rough out the strips and use one as a clamp for the second set of blocks. I have some maple left over from the Rocking Dinosaur rockers and one of those strips was a little less than a quarter inch thick and slightly wider than my stop blocks. I grabbed my ¾ inch auger bit and my 8 inch brace and went to work. The feed screw had not even gone half way into the wood before it split along a grain line; since my maple strip was thinner than the length of my auger feed screw I decided to try something different.


First I drilled a pilot hole in the wood using a standard twist bit (it’s the bit that happened to be in the drill). Then I placed a piece of scrap pine under the maple and locked it down hard with a holdfast. The pilot hole was slightly smaller than the feed screw so the base of the screw started to catch on the maple and the tip of the feed screw dug into the pine and pulled the auger bit through the maple. I doubt I am the first person to try this but it sure worked well for drilling large holes in thin material.

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Now that I had my top piece I was able to glue my second set of stop blocks into place. I will trim up both top pieces tonight and glue them into place.


Brief Update 2015-02-24

It was a nice weekend in the mountains but we did not get home until late Sunday night and unfortunately work has kept me busy the past two nights putting together a pitch for an interesting project. I did sneak down to the garage for a bit last night (after a 4.5 hour conference call that ended at 8pm).

I started to make the chamfer on the front of my Moxon vise. These will be stopped chamfers with lamb’s tongues at the transitions. The Alaska Woodworker and Chris Schwarz have nice tutorials on pulling this together. After laying out the curves I made the first but with my backsaw and then chiseled out the first part. Chis uses a cooping saw to remove most of the waste but unfortunately mine has died and the replacement has not arrived, Alaska Woodworker used a draw knife which I don’t have, I decided to just use a spoke shave (this was a mistake); it is going to take be a long time to remove the material.


I also added so filler to some defects that appeared on Dino after applying the primer. Hopefully I will sand these down tonight and apply a bit more primer to those areas.

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Moxon Vise – Part 3

The Moxon vise is almost functional. When I milled up the front and rear jaws at TechShop there was a large cutoff piece from the front jaw.  I decided to split this piece on the band saw to use as the rear support/hold-down point. Yesterday I squared these blocks up, smoothed them with my #4, and used some liquid hide glue to attach them to the rear raw.

The Veritas Wonder Dog is great for holding small parts.
The Veritas Wonder Dog is great for holding small parts.
I need better clamps
I need better clamps

After that I sanded the African Teak handles with 100 and 120 grit sand paper and applied a coat of BLO which gave them a beautiful color and a pleasant tactile feel. I have a large block of this stuff left (you can see it under my work bench above) which I plan on using for other handles in the future and a smaller piece that I plan on making into a panel gauge if I ever get caught up.


I also managed to drill screw holes in Ralf’s rockers; the new Franken-drill did a great job and it is much easier to work with than my old #2A. This is going to be my last post until sometime next week as I have a work even tonight (drinking and woodworking do not mix) and then tomorrow we head up to lake Tahoe for the weekend.

Moxon Vise – Part 2

It was a beautiful sunny President’s Day here is San Francisco so we decided to make a family trip to the zoo, unfortunately so did several thousand other people and that plan was changed to a hike through Land’s End which is a hidden gem. Long story short, no progress on anything during the day but I did sneak in an hour working on the Moxon Vise before bed.

After checking the epoxied handles it became clear that the screws and wood were out of alignment so I checked each facet against the bench top and marked which end needed to be shaved down.


This is the first time I have used African Teak so I am not sure if this is normal but this stuff loves to tear out and there are a few places with severe grain direction changes so the oscillating spindle sander got some more use (have I mention how much I love this thing?). I squared up the facets by eye then measured each one to ensure they were all close to the same size; then I made a line along each one with my marking gauge, adjusted the sander top to 45 degrees, and added a nice bevel to each facet.


I then slid the handle threads through front jaw and then threaded them through the nuts held on the rear jaw (these are not attached yet) and tightened the jaws together. I then marked out the edges of the front jaw so I could cut the clamping notches. My Bad Axe carcass saw is filed with a hybrid tooth which should work well for both ripping and cross cutting and while it cross cut the hard maple like it was butter, it bogged down a bit on the rip cut. I laid out the notch to be half of the height of the rear jaw however; the height of my saw plate is slightly less than that meaning I had to finish the cross cut with a backless pull saw. My sawing skills are still developing, the first notch went a bit out of square but the second is dead on, I think I saw better when the line is on the right side of the saw.


The top edge of the front jaw did not line up exactly with the rear jaw so after using the newly cut notches to attached the vise to the bench-top I planned down the front jaw until they met up perfectly. Now I need to attach the back support blocks where the holdfasts will eventually be used to secure it to the bench-top; cut the bevel on the front; attach the nuts to the back; and put some suede between the jaws.


I am very pleased with how the handles came out. I had planned to bore a ½ inch hole through each one for a cross piece but I think I will leave alone for now; I can always add one later if I change my mind. Also, planing the top edge showed the limits of the my sawhorse supported bench-top and the milled legs along the wall are practically begging to be finished.

Rocking Dino – Finishing Part 1


I had a long Sunday morning of sanding and shaping and Dino’s rockers have a coat of oil and the body has a coat of primer (on Friday we named the pair, Dino is the prototype and Ralf is the second one).

First I trimmed the throat plug and did one last test fit to drill the tail blocks attachment holes.


Then after sanding by hand from 100 down to 180 I applied a coat of boiled linseed oil and set them on the shelf to cure for the next week.


After a short break I tackled the body shaping. I had applied a bit of filler in the low spots the previous night so I pulled out my rasps and smoothed the transitions between the various body parts and then sanded everything down to 180 (unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the neck transition before primer). After a coat of primer it is clear I have a couple of areas that need some extra filler and some sanding so I will let it cure for a couple of days before sanding it down.

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I still had a bit of energy left so I did some work on my Moxon vise handles. I decided the cut them a bit shorter and make them into octagons rather than making them round.

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Then I epoxied them in place.


Project Interlude – Sharpening Station & Moxon Vise

Unfortunately no progress was made over the weekend or over the past couple of days due to work so I decided to play hooky from work yesterday and run some errands (got the car serviced etc.); I also decided to make use of my remaining TechShop membership and make some progress on a couple of other projects.

I finally got around to unpacking my sharpening gear so I am taking Chris Schwarz’s advice and putting a hardboard base within a boot tray as a sharpening station. A few quick cuts on the table saw and I had a fitted base and a few strips to hold the stones in place. Now I just need to buy a new bottle of TiteBond III.


The main purpose for the trip was to get started on a Moxon Vise; I have had some hard maple sitting in my garage for the past 3 or 4 months along with some ¾ inch acme threaded rod and some bronze bushings. I also decided to use a chunk of African Teak (which was given to me by the same friend who gave me the white oak from the coat rack project) as the handles.  After some quick milling I had my handle blanks (I have never had wood smoke so much and it’s pretty foul smelling smoke at that) and the front and back vise jaws. I also finally used the liquid cooled metal chop saw to cut 12 inch chunks of acme rod.

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The plan is to imbed the bronze bushings on the inside face of the rear jaw and attach the Acme nut to the back. Since the bushing has a flange and a main body, I needed to step down through three sizes of Forstner bits: 1.25 inches, 1 inch, and finally .75 inches for the rod itself. I also drilled the corresponding rod holes in the front jaw.

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Next I took my handle blanks and drilled a socket in the end for the shaft; unfortunately I mucked this up and the socket is not square to the sides so there will be some extra work getting the parts together.

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I will put together a Moxon Vise centric post once I am finished and have taken the tome to photograph everything.