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The Holtzapffel Project

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Blog series by kem updated 07-09-2008 10:29 PM 9 parts 74486 reads 71 comments total

Part 1: Design

03-21-2008 05:59 PM by kem | 8 comments »

After reading Christopher Schwarz’s excellent “Workbenches” book, I was inspired to build a bench. I am a novice woodworker with only a couple of big projects under my belt: a mobile clamp cabinet and a 4’ x 4’ outfeed table. I used a workmate for those projects and am completely dissatisfied with its workholding abilities. But being a little more seasoned, I’m ready to take on a workbench. I was originally all set to build the Roubo bench in the book, b...

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Part 2: Spending money

03-27-2008 04:36 AM by kem | 10 comments »

After three trips to two different Home Depots over a week and a half, I think I’ve found enough decent boards for the bench. I ended up with (8) 2×12x12’ and (4) 2×8x12’ boards. I started looking through the 2×12x16’ boards but they were too unmanageable for me to pick through by myself. Most of the 12’ boards had the pith running in the middle of the board. I tried to pick the ones that were clear on both sides of the pith, so I could at least ri...

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Part 3: A shop tour

05-19-2008 02:24 AM by kem | 4 comments »

It’s been over 7 weeks since my last entry, but it took about that long for the wood to dry out enough. For the first 3 weeks, the wood was drying very slowly probably because it was still cold out here in Denver. In the mean time, I spent some time adding dust collection to the shop and also built this sweet sawbench/sawhorse from Chris Schwarz's design. This gave me some good practice milling up the lumber and also with some finishing. I used the natural Watco Danish oil on ...

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Part 4: My first laminations

05-19-2008 04:46 AM by kem | 4 comments »

I decided to start out with the legs, so I could get more practice milling the lumber and in gluing the pieces up before tackling the top. The idea with the legs is to sandwich a longer board in between two shorter boards to make a ready-made tenon. Here are all of the pieces for the four legs milled up. You can see some dark streaks in these pieces. Those are where I ran into sap pockets in the wood. I don’t know if that’s bad or not, but it is annoying. I th...

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Part 5: The workbench top, part I

05-21-2008 07:06 AM by kem | 7 comments »

As you can see in the picture below, Douglas fir comes in a wide range of colors. These are the boards that I selected for the top. The boards with the wild figure are more quartersawn. I kind of like the straight grain lines of the rift sawn and plain sawn boards. If I had to do it over I might have paid more attention to this, but as it is it’s not too bad. Since there was such a wide diversity of colors, I tried to arrange a kind of gradient from dark to light to dark again. We’...

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Part 6: The workbench top, part II

06-01-2008 03:33 AM by kem | 7 comments »

I’ve done a lot of work on the top since the last entry. I started by roughly flattening the bottom side of the top. This was my first big opportunity to use my handplanes and I learned a lot from the experience. First, this took a lot of time. Part of it was my own inefficiency. I started by going diagonally across the surface but it was so uneven that it was just riding on the high boards. A more efficient way to start with the roughness caused by an uneven glue up is to plane leng...

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Part 7: Constructing the base: lots of big mortises and tenons

06-23-2008 12:08 AM by kem | 11 comments »

With the top in good shape, I went back to constructing the base. I previously milled and glued up the thick (3.5” x 5”) legs. Milling and gluing up the stretchers was more of the same, so I didn’t get any pictures of that process. I made the long stretchers by gluing up two boards, one of which was 3” longer on each end to make a ready-made tenon. For the end stretchers I decided not to use the ready-made technique since I wanted to try out a new Freud dado stack for ...

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Part 8: The end vise

07-04-2008 07:42 PM by kem | 7 comments »

Happy Independence Day! I’m looking forward to the three day weekend to put the finishing touches on my workbench: adding the twin-screw face vise and a shelf underneath. Since the last time, I flattened the top and applied some Danish oil to the bench. I also installed the end vise and have really enjoyed using it. Here’s a look at the bench while planing the chop for the end vise. You can also see the slotted tool rack in the upper right from a design in woodworking ma...

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Part 9: Veritas Twin Screw Face Vise

07-09-2008 10:29 PM by kem | 13 comments »

Over the holiday weekend and in between rain delays of the mesmerizing Nadal-Federer final, I finished up my Holtzapffel workbench. The last two things to do were the face vise and a shelf under the bench. For the face vise, I decided to use the Veritas twin screw. It’s about the same price as wooden screws and I liked the prospect of one-handed operation due to the chain drive. This vise requires two support blocks and a chop. Here are the finished pieces: I made them out of ...

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