My 18th Century Workbench in progress 28


This was one of those weekends in the shop were I did not feel I got much done despite working almost 2½ days. I am still busy with the two sliding deadmen for my bench. One of them will double up as a sliding leg vise, a la plate 279 of “L’Art du Menuisier” (pictured below). Mine however, will be on a smaller scale and retains it’s deadman anatomy too. The point being, this is slow and fiddly type work.


Cutting the thread for the wooden screw.


One Assegaai wooden screw being cut. This antique German screw box is frighteningly sharp. It felt like I was cutting custard.


Here I started working on the leg vise’s jaw.


Each deadman has a base which slides on top of the bench’s long stretchers. The joinery is a complete overkill (as per usual). It includes, through mortises that were wedged and draw bored. As you might gather from the pictures, I experimented with slow setting epoxy and normal PVA wood glue for the draw pins. The epoxy, which has a consistency similar to vaseline, certainly improves the ease of clobbering them home. I think it has to do with the fact that it acts as a lubricant and also does now lead to immediate swelling of the dowel, which is the case with the water based glue.


The protruding tenons and wedges were worked flush by passing it over the table saw several times followed by paring. The surfaces which will be in contact with the top of the stretcher were then covered with sealskin.


I simply do not have the technical vocabulary to describe what I did here. The pictures will have to tell the story.


Just to be different, I decided to use an eggbeater drill as inspiration for an alternative looking sliding-deaman-leg-vise. With a bit of imagination, you will probably be able to deduct where this is heading.


This is a very handy idea if one wants to shape and sand small round parts. This piece is destined for the eggbeater-leg-vise-deadman.



OK, one more clue dressed in sealskin.


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