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Project Information

A few years ago a medium-sized oak in our small yard blew down in a storm, falling towards the city park next door, causing no damage to persons or pets. The city workers were kind enough to leave the trunk in 8 foot lengths in my driveway. We hired a sawyer with a motorized band saw to turn it into slabs for about $300. That air-dried wood is most of this bench. I do not know if it is white or red oak. The lower reddish shelf is flooring scraps that I may replace later with more wood from the same tree.

The bench needed to be small to fit my tiny basement workshop. The bench is 6 feet long and 21 inches wide. The height is 34.5 inches from the floor and the top is close to 4 inches thick. The top is glued up into two 10 inch sections so it can be broken down and hauled up the twisty little stairs if we ever move. My son Will helped me with some of the heavier milling.

Tenons extend up into the slab from the front legs and the back slab has a lag bolt underneath, with an elongated hole in the stretcher for wood movement. Loose dominos keep the slabs coplanar. The lower stretchers are held into the legs with Rockler bed bolts, which feel very solid. The trestles are glued with liquid hide glue and pegged with 3/8 inch oak pegs. For a finish, one coat of Watco tung oil went on pretty easily.

The milling was done with machines and the mortices excavated with a drill press or brace and bit, and chopped square with chisels. I hope to do more hand tool work now that I have a bench. It will be nice to stop trying to clamp things to my table saw.

The vise is the Benchcrafted Glide M which feels very nice. It opens more than 3 inches with one hard spin of the hand wheel and has a tenacious grip. I recommend using the criss cross retro, which would have been easier to install. I used the criss cross 14 inch so as not to interfere with the bed bolts in the leg. (Not sure if retro is available with the 14 inch version). The vise still opens plenty wide, so I am happy.

Next comes the installation of the planing stop (Benchcrafted) and a buttery smooth little inset vise from HNT Gordon. I will probably get the Crucible holdfasts. Maybe make some end caps? The shop upgrade is my retirement present to myself and the lovely wife likes it when I make noise down there.

Inspiration credit goes to the Lumberjocks in general, you know who you are, and to Christopher Schwartz, Richard Maguire, and LJ Lysdexic.

Gallery

Comments

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13,228 Posts
That's a fine looking bench and looks really solid. I did do breadboard ends on my bench, they add a nice touch but did complicate adding an end vise.

Again really nice job and welcome to the club. Lysdexic sets a high mark for craftsmanship, you chose well.
 

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257 Posts
Thank you, sir. I have your bench in my favorites and I really like your contemporary side table.
 

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11,156 Posts
Awesome looking bench, looks like it will work hard for you. The build is made all the better with the use of the salvaged tree fall. Good on you for going after it, and housing it while it dried.

You will love that Glide.
 

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696 Posts
a lovely bench
there is something special about building with wood from your own property
 

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4,330 Posts
That's a great bench Pax! Will serve you well.

I put end caps on mine, not sure they are necessary, though they are a nice visual touch.
 

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1,557 Posts
Very nice and I wouldn't call that a small bench. Looks like it has feline approval too which is important!
 

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1,563 Posts
Beautiful bench. You should really enjoy using it after this great build.
 

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8,109 Posts
Looks like a great bench. Nce work making it from windfall wood.
 

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352 Posts
It's too nice for a work bench, more like a piece of furniture. Lovely. Retirement is a good career, enjoy.
 

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88 Posts
Awesome bench - and a nice story to go with it!
 

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4,402 Posts
Sweet bench! That's definitely something to be proud of. Like CL810, I put caps on mine, but I really like how yours looks without them.
 

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17,881 Posts
Very nice bench, Pax.
 

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5,369 Posts
Haven't been on LJs in a while and discover this. Damn nice bench! I am sure it will serve you well. Happy and surprised that my bench would offer inspiration. Infact , I thought all our pics from photobucket were deleted and assumed all my project posts would be useless.

Congrats
 

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257 Posts
To all of you, thanks for all the encouragement. I love the positive vibe of this place. And good old Lysdexic pops up again! I assumed you had gone pro and were teaching somewhere. Cheers.
 

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518 Posts
I'd keep the shelf wood the way it is. Sets it apart from the rest of the tones on the bench. Looks nice.
 

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211 Posts
Beautiful and elegant, congratulations!
 
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