Thursday, January 26, 2017

Workbench update for January 2017

As I've mentioned before, I spent a lot of 2016 neglecting my workshop. I did the shop stool and the cutting board, along with a few other small things, to get my motivation snowballing again. Now I'm starting to dig in (literally) to the workbench again. The top is still upside-down, generally presenting an inviting surface on which to put clutter, and not being very useful as a worksurface without any workholding.

Here's a look at most of the setup for routing these dead-man grooves. Annoyingly, the aluminum guide was slightly curved until I forced it into alignment with a clamped-on batten (not shown).

But while it's in this position, I want to do as much as I can, to save flipping it over multiple times. This means cutting one side of sliding dovetails for the endcaps, without being able to fit the endcaps on. It means cutting sliding deadman slots (plural, because I put one on the back too, in case I want to use the back), but not having anything to slide in them. Soon it will mean partially installing an end vise and partially completing leg joinery. I think the lack of immediate reward is part of the reason I've been procrastinating. But I got going again, and this time I don't plan on slowing down until it's got all the necessary features and finish on it.

This 3/4" spiral upcut bit is just the ticket, as long as you wear a mask and don't leave any containers open.

I think another reason I have been procrastinating a little is that the scale of this project makes certain power tools almost indispensable, but I really don't enjoy all the dust. But the router really did make the sliding dead-man grooves practical (since I forgot to cut them pre-lamination).

I actually convinced my circular saw to do a stopped plunge cut so it wouldn't have the final say on the ends. It was almost accurate, though.

Cutting the ends square was greatly aided by my circular saw, although I did cut the ends (where it will show) with a sash saw for better accuracy. I did manage to get the circ saw reasonably perpendicular, though.
All my workbench reference materials, in one place.

Despite all the procrastination, and delays, I seem to have regained my momentum. There were two things I did that seemed to help a lot. One thing was to get my notes organized. Each task gets a full page containing drawings, and any notes or concerns. This has helped me avoid wondering what I'm missing. A couple of workbench books act as appendices, because my notes contain page numbers.

This 3" thick slab of maple was acting as a dedicated sharpening area, even while I was temporarily without a workbench. How did I not think of drilling dog-holes in it sooner?

Another thing that helped me want to be in the shop was some temporary workholding. I turned my dedicated sharpening station into a temporary bench by clearing it off and drilling a row of dog holes. This plus appliances I already have makes it easy to do whatever work comes up, whether for the workbench, or a small side project to keep me motivated. This is the thing that really made me feel like spending a lot of time in the shop again.

That's what's going on in my shop. I hope something's going on in yours, too.

...and for no reason at all, here is a picture of my dog during the 1.5 seconds in which he tolerated my sunglasses.

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