My 18th Century Workbench in progress 18


Last night I sat down to design the chop of the leg vise. I wanted to come up with something fresh that I have not seen before, yet without compromising on the function of the chop. The pictures below show my freehand concept sketches. You will have to wait until we build the chop to see how we create this appearance. I still do not know myself, but time will tell. I will add the photos of how the chop develops to this post as it happens.




Here you can see how I processed some beech using my band saw and planer. I am aiming for a chop that is about 2″ thick after laminating these strips.


In order to lose as little thickness as possible I hand planed one edge of each strip flat and used that as a reference surface to guide my Festool Domino. The dominos help to keep the reference edges flush during the glue-up.


I arranged the strips as pictured with attention to it’s end grain.



In these pictures you can see how my assembly table and a few clamps assisted to hold the strips while cutting the domino slots.



My skill to and method of lamination has improved significantly as a result of the shear volume of lamination required during this project. I use my shop made proletarian sanding contrivances loaded with a range of different grit sandpaper (120, 150, and finally 240) to remove machine marks from the glue surfaces.



After flattening one face of the laminated stock with a range of hand planes it was used as a reference surface in the planer to flatten the opposite face. I then marked out the curves, drilled the holes for the vise screw etc etc.



Here I removed the bandsaw ripples with my Lie-Nielsen block plane followed by some attention from the proletarian sanding contrivances (aka sanding planes).



Then I started shaping the chop as pictured using my late 19th century Buck Bros. drawknife followed by a series of rasps and files.







A quick dry fit with the bench assembled.


Here I prepared the tenon for its two wedges.


I shaped the top of the jaw at an angle. I thought I would first use the vise for a while, before trimming it flush to the top of the bench. That way it has some time to settle.


The toe was shaped as pictured.


I chose Namibian Skeleton Coast seal bull leather to add grip to my leg vise. It is incredibly tough stuff.


This is officially my first attempt at carving.


The chop was glued into position using the pictured method to ensure that it is lined up absolutely spot on.


Now this next process took some time to find a solution for. I decided to add leather to the leg as well, but wanted it to remain flush with the rest of the front of the bench. Therefore I needed to remove wood (about ¾ of the thickness of the leather) in the area where the vise jaw touch the bench and leg. It was quite a mission, but I finally managed to do it with the help of my router plane.



This way the leather becomes flush with the front of the bench once some pressure is applied by the jaw. So far so good.




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