Workbench Build - Splayed leg French Bench #21: The Finish

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Blog entry by Mauricio posted 02-25-2013 01:50 AM 5351 reads 5 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 20: Final Top Prep and Tool Tray Assembly Part 21 of Workbench Build - Splayed leg French Bench series no next part

Hello again friends. Ok I know this bench build has been a little anticlimactic because you have seen the bench put together a million times. But this should be my final post on this bench build… maybe…

I got the finish applied, added leather to the vices, and put a hand wheel on the wagon vise.

After testing out the finish on scraps I decided to go with 1-1-1 (MS, Poly, BLO) on most of the bench. I sanded it into the top with 220 grit sandpaper to fill the pores some.

Just one coat on the bench.

I found 3-2-1 to be a little slicker and a little lighter in color so I used that on the walnut leg vise chop only. I put two coats on the leg vise just because I felt it needed it to look good. Slickness isn’t an issue here.

I didn’t find glossiness to be an issue using this clear poly, especially since the finish was sanded into the top.

I’ll spare you pictures of the wipe on wipe off routine and just show you many pictures of the seexy new bench!

Here you can see the quarter sawn rays of the red oak.

The QSWO stretchers also have a lot of nice rays showing!

The #4 placed on the bench to give you an idea of scale.

I’m really happy with how the vise chop came out.

The grain is centered on the board and kind of flows around the screw hub.

The kids have been having fun playing on the bench which is why they are in many of the pictures. I clamp a board in the wagon vise and they use it as a track for the “trains” (planes) to ride on. I retracted the blades of course. This is a dream come true for me because they have never wanted to hang out in the shop with me before. Now they ask me every day if we can go play in the garage!

Oh, and I actually Shellacked the Jatoba deadman and vice garter. I heard that oil finishes can sometimes darken oily woods so I went with just a light seal coat of shellac and wax.

Double stick tape was used to add leather to the vise faces.

I’m undecided about whether this was a good call. It certainly holds the leather securely but it seems like it might be a little gummy and allows the work piece to wiggle a little bit when clamped. This is not really an issue with the leg vise but it is an issue when clamping a board vertically for sawing in the wagon vise. But then again that may be due to me using the pretty thick leather (~1/8”). I’ll try it for a while and see how it goes. I can always pull it off and use contact cement or just use thinner sued leather.

Finally, I’m very excited about the hand wheel PurpLev hooked me up with. You got to love the generosity shown by so many Lumberjocks on this site. Thanks again PurpLev! He even turned me a nice mahogany handle for it!

Besides looking cool I really think it was needed. I’ve found that there are some situations where the T handle sticks out in front of the bench and hits your leg when you are planing. Also there is a lot of moving in and out on a wagon vise (more so than on a leg vise) so the small hand wheel is faster to spin in and out. The hand wheel works great and provides plenty enough clamping leverage accept one part of the wagon travel that is a little tight. I’ll need to work out those kinks.

I’ll work on doing a video so you guys can see how everything works.

Also, I’m thinking of putting a wheel on the leg vise that will ride on the floor to make the movement in and out a little smoother. Not absolutely necessary but I think it would be a nice touch. Thanks to Boatman Jim for hooking me up with some plastic wheels that are going to work perfectly for this.

Thanks for following along on this long journey folks. I really appreciate everyone’s encouragement and support along the way. It’s been challenging, fun, and very educational.

Look for my bench in the future in action shots as I put it to work!

In conclusion I’d like to share an excerpt of a poem from my LJ Buddy Andy (aka Brit). Clearly a man that was brought up on Shakespeare. LOL.

“I’m sendin’ this out to my homeboy Mauricio,
He ain’t no rapper, but his bench is bellissimo!
This ain’t no fiction, it’s built with conviction,
Them splayed legs help the coefficient of friction.”…

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

35 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30462 posts in 2882 days

#1 posted 02-25-2013 01:57 AM

I couldn’t work on a table that nice. That’s nicer than some folks dinner tables. :-)

Beautiful work. Please teach your children all you know.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 3142 days

#2 posted 02-25-2013 01:58 AM

You have out done yourself Mauricio. Tell the truth, working with that oak left you with the “black hand” many times. One of the downsides to oak and walnut. It is really nice, enjoy it, as I know you will.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19371 posts in 3111 days

#3 posted 02-25-2013 01:59 AM

Well done. Definitively one of my favorites.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 2497 days

#4 posted 02-25-2013 02:18 AM

That…... is one sexy looking bench! I have been lurking and following this build for a while and it is great to see it finished. My hats off to you sir!

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View luv2learn's profile


2979 posts in 2847 days

#5 posted 02-25-2013 02:21 AM

That is one very fine bench and a very well documented build. This is truly a family heirloom. Now that you have your shop anchored with this fine piece of equipment I am looking forward to seeing the projects you and your bench produce.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3019 days

#6 posted 02-25-2013 02:23 AM

That came out sweet Mauricio, congratulations!

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3234 days

#7 posted 02-25-2013 02:39 AM

I’m with Monte. Put that in the house and build a less fancy version for the shop!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2505 days

#8 posted 02-25-2013 02:40 AM

You finished the bench within a year with small children, that’s very impressive. I have to agree with Monte, it looks so nice I’d have a hard time using it. When the next project beckons though…

View Mosquito's profile


9935 posts in 2836 days

#9 posted 02-25-2013 02:42 AM

It looks really great. The finish seems to have worked really well

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3695 days

#10 posted 02-25-2013 02:58 AM

Thanks for all the wonderful comments guys.

Shane, you know, I’ve never had the Black Hand? And I’ve worked with Oak a lot. Wonder why?

Don’t worry guys, I’ll be putting it to use and beating it up with love.

Tim your right, having small children doesn’t help the productivity at all!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View jjw5858's profile


1135 posts in 3146 days

#11 posted 02-25-2013 03:13 AM

Looks awesome! Congrats and enjoy it!

-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 3142 days

#12 posted 02-25-2013 03:27 AM

Really, no black hands? The stuff makes my hands black, and it is difficult to get off. Walnut gets me too. Maybe it just effects people different. I really haven’t had problems with dust of any type, like some do. But there are woods that discolor my skin.

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8547 posts in 2526 days

#13 posted 02-25-2013 03:40 AM

Never had the ‘black hand’ either. Maybe a little black glue residue. Much is made about oak and walnut that I don’t get. Guess that’s why my bench is oak and walnut as well.
Also, I applied watco danish oil to my roubo today. I think it’s pretty much made of the same ingredients you used. Guess I just saved the mixing.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16244 posts in 3162 days

#14 posted 02-25-2013 03:42 AM

I don’t have a poem, but the build is truly inspirational. The transformation of wood and worker over the past months has been a sight to behold; thanks for taking us along!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3019 days

#15 posted 02-25-2013 04:13 AM

The stuff makes my hands black,

The tannin in the oak reacts with your sweat, do your tools “rust” after you use them? You probably have acidic sweat… :-)

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

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