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· Registered
67 Posts
Benchop legs, and free mulch... Sort of.

After my screwup with the pine legs, and the fact that pine 4×4s are a royal pain in the butt to find in Houston, I opted for a trip to Lowes to grab a couple of Aromatic red cedar 4×4s. Their so called "select" which I guess is supposedly select grade, but knottier than I would expect.

So I get home with the 4×4s and notice that they are, well actually 4×4, and my plans call for nominal size lumber (3.5×3.5), so it was off to the jointer, and planer to mill this stuff square, and parallel, and 3.5" thick in both dimensions (minus the 1.5" of snipe at each end, but that is what I get for having a cheap planer…)

Now mind you, I have the Thien baffle out of the HF DC, and the trash can cyclone for the DC is not yet done, I have yet to fire up my HF DC without some sort of separator, and I am not about to start now, so it was back to the Ridgid vac and Thien trash can cyclone… Through 15' of hose, while it kept up with the chips, it did NOT keep up with the dust. Respirator time! I should have put it on to begin with, but I like sneezing Cedar dust, reminds me of my pet hampster when I was a kid… (just joking.)

For those of you that do not know what a Thien cyclone, or the Thien baffle is, here is a link to P.hil Thien's cyclone site
Now this was only 2 4×4x8 pieces of lumber I was milling down mind you… Not exactly like I was jointing and planing hundreds of BF of lumber right? Well… Mind you the dust bin wasn't empty, but rather about 1/4 full from previous sanding, sawing, dadoing, etc… operations

About 3/4 of the way through planing I heard it through the muffs, Tttttthhhhwunk! The motor on the vac got MUCH louder and suction stopped… Turn the vac off and look…

The vac was full. Go figure. So I empty the vac, and look in the dust bin (trash can). Full, I mean over the baffle, overflowing, what was I thinking full…

Now I have had a Thien Cyclone for almost a year now, and this is the first time I have done this. Note to self, check dust bin OFTEN…

As quickly as this filled up, I WAS working on a Thien cyclone for a 30 gallon trash can, Now I think I am going to have to change those plans and try to find a 55 gallon barrel to convert to a Thien Cyclone… 30 gallons fills up too fast, I bet 55 gallons will fill up quick. And with shavings / dust it is awfully light, might as well get as much in it as I can at once…

So with the milling done, and the dust bin empty it was time to do some drilling. I still need to rig up some some sort of dust collection for this… Open the garage door, set up the filterless box fan and blow chips and dusty air out of the shop… I measured, marked, remeasured, verified and then verified again before the bit started cutting. EXACTLY where I want it to be… No worries… Counter bores right where I want them, holes drilled perfectly straight where I want them, and then verified with the all thread through all 4, and then they get set square to each other. The through holes are 1/16" oversize, so no worries about minor miscalculations in hole location. Enough slack that when the all thread pulls it together, I can convince it to go straight and square…

Tomorrow, weather permitting will bring another trip to Lowes. I am REALLY liking the look of the Cedar, and want to replace the rails / stretchers with cedar, so I need some cedar 2×4s… If these are rough cut like the 4×4s, I guess I am getting more free mulch for LOMLs flowerbeds to boot!

I still need to find the S-clips for mounting the bench top. I believe Kilgore's Lumber Company in League City Texas should have them…

The poor bench top is sitting there being all lonely right now. The mounting pad for the vise is mounted up, the holes drilled for the lag bolts, The vise faces mounted up and dog holes drilled. I just need to mount it to the base, drill the bench dog holes, and either buy, or better yet, make some bench dogs, and a planing stop. I have some 3/8" ply scrap just aching for use…

I did deviate from the plan that I got from Fine Woodworking as their bench top is 24" x 62". I am using a larger vise than they are so my dog holes will be wider spaced, and my bench top is 24" x 72". This was as big as I wanted to go in my shop. I had initially considered edge banding the bench top, but an LOML induced slip with the router when flush trimming changed that plan… I have done some testing on the oil / beeswax finish on exposed edge birch ply, and to be honest, I like the look… I am going with it and just using the edge as a feature instead of a drawback…

Well the lights are out, the timer for the air cleaner has tripped off, and the shower has been taken. Looks like the shop is closed for now. If I am granted the honor by my creator to still be here, there will be more to come…
Thanks for taking the time to write your post. It was very interesting. Looking forward to seeing your finished bench.

· Registered
67 Posts
Found the floor. Need to rest, and try again tomorrow....

Well, I found the floor, at least the parts not covered with fencing material (still).

Tomorrow is another wet and dreary day, so back in the shop I go with the heat on, and get back to cleaning, discarding junk, and organizing…

I grabbed my measurements for the space the lathe cabinet / ballast cabinet needs to be in, and am taking that into Sketchup during slow time over the next few days. The cabinet is going to end up made out of 3/4" and 1/2" Birch ply, because that is what I have in my stash big enough to make the pieces. I would almost rather go buy some 3/4" and 1/2" MDF just to get the additional mass for ballast, and I intend on painting the cabinet hunter green (to more or less go with the HF lathe looks).

I had been able to get by with just moving my lathe tools off of the lower shelf and onto the table saw up until Christmas. All I had was the Benjamin's Best 8 pc HSS set, which is nice, and easy to move after you glue the wooden case which they couldn't be troubled to do at the factory. (That is another story all together…) and my Wood River Chuck. Well Christmas morning saw the full set of Benjamin's Best roughing gouges, and Versa Chisels under the tree for me. While not my entire turning wish list, it certainly did put a good size dent in it… But that also means a LOT more turning tools to move around every time I want to use the lathe… And I have been looking for an excuse to add ballast to this thing.

I believe I mentioned here before I needed to take out the hot glue, and replace it with adhesive silicone sealant. I have done so, using clear sealant. What bothers me is that the sealant came out of the tube white, but the label CLEARLY states clear. We'll see. The problem is that the plastic lid flexes, and the hot glue, well… doesn't. Once it fully vulcanizes, I will put the whole Thien Cyclone back together, and put it in place.

There's so much work to do here, but every step gets me that much closer to having my shop set up, equipped, and organized according to my ideal shop (okay ideal given the limits of finances, and land…).

I really do hope that my posts and discussions on this are at least somewhat helpful or inspiring to other woodworkers. I am just a regular guy, with a small house in suburbia, pretty average income the whole nine yards. I have gotten my shop to where it is by a LOT of creativity, aggressive bargain hunting, and being blessed with helpful gift givers… I put off even starting collecting any woodworking tools for too long, and want to inspire the younger guys to go for it!

Many "clear" sealants and caulks come out of the tube white and only become clear once they have cured. If you have already discovered this, then ignore this post.

I too have accumulated some nice shop tools be going the "gift" and "secondhand" route.
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