Workbench TWO – Day 13

The objective for today is flattening the bottom and milling the 6 rails. Lot of hand work with my planes. Been out of the shop for a few days.  It was good to get back to the workbench build.

The first task was to get the top out of the clamps.   I had to lift the top to put support blocks under it to free the clamps.  This thing is heavy.  I can lift one end at a time.  Once the clamps were free I had to turn the top over.  I had been working with the top side up.   I needed to work on the bottom side.   Well, one person !!!  I clamped some stop blocks to the side of the workbench so I could lift one side without it sliding off the bench  ( Sorry no pictures ).   This worked by really showed me how careful I need to be moving this slab of maple.  It is now just under 26″ wide, 88″ long and 3 11/16″ thick ( call it 3 3/4″ .)

The bottom was planed flat with a  LN #8.  Diagonal passes several times, using a Veritas Aluminum Straightedge. This took about 1 1/2 hours.  Not bad.  It is not perfect finish, but is flat.  I had purchased the LN #8 two years ago, knowing I would need it for this project and lots of future projects.  I was going to purchase a #7, but my friend Steve Quehl ( former Woodcraft Atlanta store owner ) recommended that go to a #8.  “Why not ?” he asked.  I am very happy with the decision.  A little longer and heavier it just works great.  It is a pleasure to use and a lot of work !!

Next, I got the plans out to find dimensions for the front, back and end rails.   These are all 1 3/4″.  Front rails are 4 1/4 and end rails were 3 1/2.  This was a process of  cutting stock to rough length and doing a four square process on them.

After machine milling, I wanted to plane all the machine surfaces to be ready for the final finish.  This was a hand plane adventure.  All of this “soft” maple has grain going in both directions on many of the surfaces.  So the LN 5 1/2 and 4 were really tearing into some grain.   I then remembered by LN # 4 1/2 55 degree frog.  WOW, did it work.   So using all three planes I was able to get these parts milled and finish planed.

Nice shaving from 4 1/2.

There are a few pictures showing my planer setup routine.   I can now set this up in about 2 mins.

I did discover a small problem with the tail vise and a dog hole, but thanks to good engineering my Hovarter, I think I have a solution.


On to day 14.

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Please enjoy the full set of day 13 pictures with detailed comments:



  1. ralph boumenot says

    Hi Bartee,
    you are going to have to explain the fix for wagon vise to me again. Isn’t the bar still going to cover the dog hole? I can’t see the fix you did?
    Plane shavings are nice until you get knee deep in them. Then they aren’t so cute.

    • Bartee says

      The problem was the bearing base was sitting on top of the hole. In this picture you can see the space between the bottom of the dog hole and the shaft. I think that will be enough for the dog to be able to drop all the way down and me to be able to reach it and push it up. Worse case I would have to get the shaft cutoff.

  2. Jonathan Howe says

    I don’t recall if you’ve explained this in a previous post, but what’s the reasoning behind the custom planer base you’ve got running through the machine? Is that more about trying to ensure flatness all the way through the machine, or creating a longer infeed/outfeed area?

    • Bartee says

      The extended base on my DW 713 planer accomplished two things. A little less snipe and the ability to handle longer boards. I knew that I was going to be pushing very heavy 8 ft sections of the workbench top through the planer. I wanted the extra length and the absolute flat continuous surface from start to end. I know now from experience this helped tremendously. I still had to have extra out feed stands but overall effect was accomplished.

      This project is documented here.

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