Mongo: my first real workbench #4: My Springfield Trip

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Blog entry by TheRiflesSpiral posted 04-05-2017 03:34 PM 677 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: A look at joinery Part 4 of Mongo: my first real workbench series Part 5: Completion of the ribs and a start to the aprons »

First the project update:

Sunday afternoon I laid out all the lines and milled the dovetail grooves for the ribs on the table. I started with a 1/2” straight bit, taking two passes to get to depth (1 1/8”) then following behind with two passes of the dovetail bit to make a 1.25”x1.125” 14° groove. (My phone died before I had a chance to take a picture of the dovetail completed… that will be in my next update)

If you don’t have one of the clamping edge guides, I highly recommend them. Mine is a cheap Pittsburgh model from Harbor Freight. If I had been satisified with a 1” wide dovetail groove, I could have made one pass and been done with it but I decided I wanted it as wide as I could get it so I had to take two passes.

In hindsight, I should have made a jig with perfectly parallel edges on either side of the router. The way I did it, I had to set the clamp to the line, make a pass, then re-set the clamp to a different line and make a second pass to widen the groove. All four of my grooves are ever-so-slightly tighter on one end compared to the other. This means I didn’t re-set the clamp accurately. It’s not enough to matter, really, so I’m not going to re-cut.

I can’t say enough good things about this Bosch router; It might just be that the features I’ve never enjoyed are blinding me to any negatives I’ve experienced but I can’t really find anything I don’t care for… Here’s the highlights:
  • Captive collets and dedicated cinch nuts (no more dropping the collet when changing from 0.25 to 0.5)
  • Good quality cast iron tools for bit changes
  • Predictable adjustments, even when changing latch positions
  • Soft start
  • Speed isn’t affected by load!

I can’t wait to use the plunge base later on.

Unfortunately none of the fixed base mounting holes lined up with my Craftsman router table so I transferred the bit to the Craftsman router and attempted to make the detail on the ribs using that. One rib came out reasonably good with only a tiny bit of tear out around some figuring but the other was a disaster… I’m going to try again on the table saw instead.

My trip to Springfield:

I’ve ordered quite a bit of Grizzly equipment in my day… I have a table saw, band saw, shaper, jointer, drum sander, dust collector, two dozen shaper heads and a bevy of router bits/jigs/etc, etc all from Grizzly. But strangely enough I’ve never actually been to the showroom. I remedied that this past weekend and visited the location in Springfield Missouri.

Guys… it’s massive. Huger than I could have guessed.

And greeting you at the front door… you guessed it:

Big bear!

So as you can imagine there’s pretty much one of every piece of machinery they offer in the showroom. I don’t often peruse the non-woodworking section of the catalog, but they have an impressive number of mills/lathes/etc for metal working. Interesting stuff…

I picked up a hand full of things and inquired about a riser kit for my ‘99 “Z-Series” 14.5” bandsaw (not available, sadly) and spotted this:

I was impressed though I realized I shouldn’t be… This location has been open for 18 years now and Grizzly equipment is fairly ubiquitous among woodworkers of the Midwest.

Since the wife was along, we had to visit every flea market and “antique” store Google could locate in the city. Since I haven’t had any interest in hand-tools to this point, I never payed any attention to what might be lurking in the recesses of these perpetual yard sales. Boy was I missing some good stuff.

Amongst the estate sale rejectamenta I found a mid-twenties Disston D-95 hand saw with the plastic handle. I don’t really care for the plastic handle itself and I’ll probably make my own wooden one (it’s not in great shape) but the blade itself is in incredible shape. ($3)

I also found what I think is a Craftsman 6CBB #6 plane made by Millers Falls. ($8) It’s also in really good shape with the exception of the iron which is cut at an angle. (The angle lever has to be all the way to one side to square it to the sole) I’ll spend some time at the grinder later this week and square it up. I did sharpen it, though, and managed to get some shavings from the bottom of my bench… that’s a quite addictive sensation.

This weekend I’ll be finishing up the ribs, cutting the details on the legs and aprons and hopefully attaching the aprons.

-- Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

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