My 18th Century Workbench in progress 11


At this point in time I took a break from all the mortising, to build a monster Panel Gauge. Look out for a post entitled “Makeshift Panel Gauge”, which is soon to be released. I need one for the next major hand planing war that is about to break out in the previously peaceful surroundings of my workshop. I need to flatten the edges of the two parts of the twin-top. They are too big to fit through my planer, so after flattening one edge I will need to use a panel gauge to mark out the opposing side and hand plane that parallel to the reference edge. The mortises below are only one step away from being finished.




In the meantime I realised that I need to start squaring up the two beams of the twin top. As they are too wide to fit in my planer upright I will have to do that (planing to width) by hand planing. Once I get one edge square to the face side I will need a panel gauge to mark out the opposite side. Problem is, I do not have a panel gauge of that size. The idea was to build a makeshift panel gauge as I wanted to get onto the next step with the bench, but my tool design-OCD kicked in and it led to a protracted design and manufacturing hiatus. The end product is featured in the pictures below. I wrote a post on the process entitled “Makeshift Panel Gauge”.


This past weekend the process of hand planing these monster beams started with a vengeance. I like starting off by hollowing out the face side ever so slightly. I used the short straight edge to check all along the length of the face side. If it does not pivot on the edges, it is not hollow yet.



Next I check for wind using my truly makeshift winding sticks. This is why I start by hollowing out the face side from side to side, otherwise you get the wrong reading when using the winding sticks. If there is a bump at any point across the width, the winding stick can adopt one of two different positions. Once the winding sticks make contact with the face side’s edges only you get the true reading and can therefore proceed to fix the twist. In this case I had minimal work to do as I removed (by hand planing) most of the twist prior to feeding the beams to my planer about 6 weeks ago.



Once the face side was slightly hollow and twist free, I could square the face edge using the face side as reference. You can see how my shop made jointer came in very handy.



Then I used my newly produced panel gauge to mark out the opposite edge to be parallel to the reference edge.



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