Its quite amazing how wonderful it can feel to finally have a workbench top to plane on and a shelf to lay tools in. Trying to plane and chisel on rickey saw horses was making me go prematurely white headed, and I nearly lost a toe to a falling chisel once. Now with the bench top sitting on its legs, I had at least a flat surface that was relatively stable, and the shelf paid for itself the first minute of using it.
Enough gloating in having a bench shaped object, onward to the finish! My wife has learned that any project will take at least twice as long to complete as I first guess, and I really need this bench ready to go ASAP.
This bench was the first ever time I have used many tools bought in the last years and stored while I worked and saved pennies. My simple garden variety wedge arm plow plane was no exception. I generally start a new tool out by only doing what is really necessary to get it working, and progress the restoration along as needs be. This plane took chattery bone jarring cuts after a simple honing of the iron, so a nice long flattening of the skate sole with a 12″ mill file was in order. She cuts quite well now, even against the grain. Here I am plowing the groove to accept the sliding deadman.
Here is my very simple deadman, which slides in grooves top and bottom and can be easily taken out when in the way.
The tool well bottom was six sided, T&Ged, rabbited, and banged together. Really makes a man appreciate when entire 4000+ square foot houses had their entire floors made by hand with Match planes, in oak!
One change I made on the bench was a much larger tool well, and more substantial end caps. Roy had a 4/4 skirt rounding a single board on his tool well that simply pinched a stubby nubbin like tenon thing coming out from each end of his bench top. I went with a two board well bottom, 4/4 back wall and two 8/4 end caps draw bored onto tenons basically like large bread board ends. To appease the woodworking gods more than to ease my mind of wood movement I elongated 3 of the 4 peg holes on each tenon with a rat tail file, letting any travel of the bench top do its worst.
My first ever dovetails ended up being these on the end caps. I went with wedges driven into the pins to maintain my “no glue nor metal fasteners hold her together” rule set down at the beginning of the build.
Everything went together quite well, and with a first bench dog made from 3/4 dowel and clothes hanger wire the bench is mostly usable. I hope anyone who made it this far enjoyed the process, I know I did! Please check back with us as many more things are coming down the pipe!