I'm about finally ready to build a real workbench and explore the slippery
slope of hand tools. I've got a couple of Japanese saws, a half-dozen old
and new (Veritas) planes, and am set up to keep them ScarySharp. Over a
year ago my bride gave me a Veritas Twin-Screw vise that's still in the box.
I've been looking at, and planning with, the three workbench books (Landis,
Allen and Schwartz). I'm thinking seriously of a simple Roubo-style bench
with truss-rodded base, the Twin-Screw as a face vise, no end vise, and the
top consisting of two Ikea 24"x72"x1.5" laminated beech countertops
($59/each!) glued face-to-face for a 3" thick top. I'm also toying with the
idea of making the bench double-sided by adding a crochet, sliding deadman
and leg vise to the other side of the bench. Any good reason why not if the
bench is to sit in the middle of the workspace?
I'd like to use simple stops, round bench dogs (which I'll make as needed)
and holdfasts (I already have two of the Gramercy holdfasts) for the vast
majority of my workholding on the top and front of the bench. All three
authors note that holdfasts are tough on the holes they go into, but don't
give any real indication of how long a dedicated holdfast hole remains round
and useful. Is this something I need to obsess over, and somehow plan to
redo periodically as I work with the bench? Or will this be an issue for my
grandchildren long after I'm gone?
Those of you who have gone sliding down this slope and are willing to
share... your comments on any or all of the above are most welcome.
Michael Latcha - at home in Redford, MI
Good for you.
I'm thinking seriously of a simple Roubo-style bench
None that I can think of, other than possibly doing laps around the bench to
get tools if both vises are in use In my shop, the layout is 8 ft of base
cabinets and countertop against the wall, then the bench, with standing
space between the front of the bench and the countertop, then the ts on the
other side of the bench. workpieces go off the ts onto the bench and after
all that's done, I go around to the other side to do handwork. Having the
countertop behind me during this certainly keeps the bench uncluttered.
Don't know, didn't install holdfasts in mine.
If you indeed get to the bottom of this slope, you won't regret it. You'll
wonder how you ever did anything without it after awhile.
I like your workflow, it seems efficient. My own thinking is that work
pieces would start out on the "old" side (with the crochet) for sawing,
jointing, mortising, facing, etc. (perhaps off the bench for turning), then
make their way to the "new" side (with the vice) for dovetailing, sticking,
assembly, etc. Since few people around seem interested in woodworking,
including my kids, it's unlikely that I'll have both sides of the bench
going at once... unless something is glued up and drying in the vise as I
rough-work another piece on the other side of the bench.. which was really
the idea behind two working sides.
I can't answer this question directly, as I don't use a regular
hold fast. For my own bench, which is a home brewed concoction I
got one of the screw-type holdfasts made by Anant. The Anant
holdfast comes with an iron flange that gets mortised into the bench
for the hold fast to go through and anchor to. So there shouldn't
be a problem with the hole elongating. I've had mine for about a
year now and have had no difficulties with it. I especially like
that I can control exactly how much pressure I want to put on
something by way of the acme screw.
If you want to reply via email, change the obvious words to numbers and
I'm not sure what size shaft the Gramercy holdfasts have, but if you can
find some short pieces of pipe or steel tubing that the shaft will fit
easily in, bore a hole or 5 in your bench top and press/glue/somehow
mechanically connect said tubes to top. Be certain to put the top of the
tube BELOW the surface of the bench.
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