Saturday 8 March 2014

My New workbench begins

Well we all have loads of books about woodwork
(Well the sort of people who read this blog do I guess)
So what I thought I would do is get the best of the best,
By this I mean the best design elements of workbenches
From my favourite, or most respected makers.
These books above have some great workbench related ideas in them,
got to condense the info in this world, too much..

So here is my list of needs, wants, observations and specifications:

1. I hate planing workstops flat - been doing this for years what a bore...
So the top must be flat and stay flat. (ish)
So based on Robert Inghams idea of using 30mm MDF for his bench top,
I will use 2 pieces of 25mm MDF for a 50mm MDF top.
I will sit this on a solid 40mm Beech top giving me a 90mm thick
and very heavy but stable worktop, I hope...
2. I have never found tail vices useful - had one for years and having used
a traditional cabinet makers bench with end vice and
dog holes I have come to the conclusion it is not for me.
Not now anyway, so...
My bench needs the option of adding an end vice and dog holes later if needed,
but not now as I have the luxury of having more than 1 bench to work on.
4. What is it with the Roubo worksbench?!?!
This French craftsman Andre in the 1700's has a strangle hold lately on the type
of bench everyone is using, he has some top name advocates,
but for me it is the cost - I cannot afford to buy or make one!
Boy do they look nice, I love there simplicity, stability and proportions 
and yes I just answered my own question,
but for me I just want to fulfil my wish list, cheaply!
I am sure I will make another workbench one day anyway...
I would love to live with one, making with it for a month or so
to see what the fuss is about but that is not going to happen.
Anyway I digress back to my list
5. My new workbench must be HEAVY, stable, tall, and thin.
6. I need to make it by adapting an Emir workbench I have already.
7. I want a reinforced centre section - I always thought this was a failing of the
 traditional woodwork bench, strong on the sides but use a mallet in the middle
is never a good idea, something I always teach,
(I am a secondary school design and technology teacher)
is that you must work over the leg area.
It certainly helps keeps the volume down when you have
25 students working in a room!
8. I want an apron at the front with a sliding deadman OR some way of
supporting long timber lengths when planning as this will really be a
planing bench - or elaborate Japanese planing beam! (sorry joker to self)
9. I need a large quick release vice with a big wood jaw on it, flush with top.
10. Finally I want full length planning stops on right and left hand sides of the bench.
Again this is inspired by Robert Inghams bench.
Note I already have adapted my other workbench following ideas
gained from David Charlesworth and have 2 vices mounted in line -
which is so logical I am surprised I have not seen more makers do it.
I also want to keep the option for adapting this bench later,
I do like that Veritas twin screw thread end vice - I could keep one of the
sheets of 25mm MDF clean and drill 3/4 holes in the other
so I can alternate the tops perhaps?

Jim Kingshott tool storage

Ever since I read 'The Workshop' by Kingshott
I wanted a tall set of drawers like he used for his Carving chisels.

I went into work today and a friend said:
'Do you still want some drawers because I have got you some?
Just use some petrol to get of the sticky tape...'

There was LOADS of sticky tape...
Somebody during transport obviously was in charge
of the sticky tape budget, and wanted to spend it. ALL.

16 drawers with about 6 - 10 chisels in each perhaps?
Well I have to line the drawers next...
Also I like the idea of putting them on wheels - something Robert Ingham does a lot.
I can then wheel them to the bench but keep them stashed anywhere I want.

Thursday 6 March 2014

Tool box is on the wall!

Even though the wall is not finished
I have been waiting for this day.

I feel like it is my workshop now.
Cunningly I tuned up everything before it went into storage,
So they are all just going straight to work...
It was stored in my mums house so nothing went rusty!

Monday 3 March 2014

2 Benches for my wife...

A few years ago I responded to an add to buy a workbench,
£50 he wanted - I got there, took one look and send 'no thanks!'

As I was walking out he really wanted me to buy it!
I was like 'no way - its no good'
Will you have it for £10 he says?
OK then...
So I cut it up to make this:

Solid Beech 40mm Laminated top - nice!

A nice corner for working with Ceramics?

A Coat of paint on the under frame, new 12mm WBP Ply shelf
+ 2 restored stools, reupholstered,
- out of the skip they were...
& Good old Hammerite!

Lathe Bench - Complete

 Found the lathe - not too rusty or knackered.
DML 24 by Record Power.

Time to make some Harry Potter wands for the boys.
It is a sure fire way of showing them the magic of the Lathe.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Workbenches - Lathe Bench

Well I was going to bore the pants out of you all
with how I am building the workshop.
I reliably took lots of pictures of me insulating the hell out of it.
Look - before I painted the floor and look -
how exciting now I have painted it etc
But I want to get on with more interesting topics,
and luckily these have already been done and photographed,
as you can imagine from the previous post lots of time is being spent
in cleaner, anti bacterial hospital environments...
But making the workshop is the ultimate making project in a way.
Anyway here is the start of my workbench fetish , obsession thing.
Home made flat pack - straight out of storage!

Lathe Bench Fittings 27.01.2011
Yes it has been a while since I have had my Lathe up and going.
Can you believe I have had this lathe for 25 years?
I can - and so can my mum.

Well happy I labelled this properly...
Thanks to my son for helping me fit it all together.

So only the lathe missing now,
where in the world did I pack it?


My big brother Darian - he is the one in the middle...
Acting in a play he wrote and performed with his theatre group.

Why is he here on this blog?
Because he is in Intensive care at the moment.
An aneurysm on his Aorta exiting his heart tore...
We are lucky he is still with us, very lucky.
Very lucky we are near a centre of excellence for heart surgery.
Crazy time for the family.
But we love him very much, see him every day
 and want him to be patient with this long road to recovery.
Hand forged sign made by my brother Garrick and his students.
Copper and Gold leaf details - nice work Blood!
Its huge by the way...

In the last house I managed to persuade my wife to let me
build the workshop first.
Then I got someone to do the Kitchen.
This time it was decided to do it the other way round,
because there was no kitchen!
This time I thought 'Hey it can't be that difficult to fit a kitchen?'

A blank canvas...

I put this in to show you why I have been away for so long.
Just been busy making the house habitable - it was a complete renovation!
4 Planks all hand planed and biscuit jointed for the Island Unit.
Hours of hand planing - for I have no planer unfortunately.
But its a good workout.
Turned the stool tops out of 45mm Oak.
Anyway I digress back on with the workshop...