The Holtzapffel Workbench – Day 28

(Part 16 of a series)

This might actually be day 29, since I started on a Saturday. I have no idea at this point.

Another great day in the shop. I started out by beginning the dog holes in the legs. I took my tape measure and marked at 12″, 20″ and 28″ from the bottom of each front leg. I used a 3/4″ forstner bit in my cordless drill to get the holes started. I chose the forstner because it has a nice sharp point in the middle to accurately hit the middle of where I want to drill, and the edges of the bit easily let me figure out if the drill is perpendicular to the workpiece. I used the drill and forstner as far down as I could go easily, backing out a couple of times on each hole to clear the waste. When the hole got too deep, I busted out the rusty brace and 3/4″ auger I bought a few weeks ago. Since the hole was pretty deep and straight thanks to the forstner bit, the auger followed the hole down until I just broke the surface with the tip on the other side. I flipped the leg over and used the auger again to complete the hole. This resulted in a pretty clean exit, although there was naturally some rough parts. I repeated the same process for the other five holes. I put a tall dog hole on the left leg even though eventually it will be covered by the twin vise. But until I get it, I can still make use of a dog here.

Once I got all the holes done, it was time to put a roundover on the entrance. This is my first major screwup of the project, although the end result turned out rather well. I used my laminate router and a roundover bit and did the first hole. I wasn’t happy with how it turned out, so I deepened the cut. Too much, oops. Now it’s a very big radius roundover on a little hole. However, the look isn’t bad at all. Wanting to keep everything the same, I put the same depth on all of the holes. On one hole I got a very interesting pattern with the grain and it looks like a vortex. I don’t think I’ll have any issue with the holddowns, I just can’t do what I did to the top.

With the dog holes complete, I turned my attention to making some drawbore holes. I used a 3/8″ forstner to make the start of the holes, and a twist bit did the rest. I then inserted the tenon and make the hole marks with the forstner, again using the tip as a reference. I removed the tenon, transfered the marks a bit closer to the shoulder (1/8″, perhaps) and drilled again with the forstner. I wasn’t planning on doing the actual drawbore today, but I got a bit carried away. I had a 3/8″ hardwood dowel in my collection, and I saw that it fit, so I used it. I cut enough off the main dowel that I should have had enough to use some pliers to remove it eventually, but I apparent;y can’t sight measure that well. I tapered the end of the dowel, inserted it, and drove it home with my mallet. Not enough to remove. Oops. So, two drawbore M&T joints on the base will be complete, without the use of glue. If I have to, I suppose I could just drill them out, but I think it will work well. I used my flush cut saw to trim the dowels flush and that part is done. Oops. But it really is a strong joint, and it’s a very tight one now. I’m pleased, even though I jumped the gun.

I still had quite a bit of time left in the day, so I decided to process what I consider the front two sections of the top. I ran each over the jointer to get one side – top or bottom – flat in reference to each board, so it could go through the planer. This took some work, as the weight of the glue-ups are deceiving. My arms got a workout. Having successfully made one flat reference side, I put that side face down through the planer and settled on a final thickness just a hair under 3″. I would have preferred more depth, but I had to take it down this far to account for errors in my jointing process. I won’t be dissatisfied with a 3″ thick top, though. I again put the sections in the clamps, applied the glue, and tried to be very accurate in getting the top portions even with each other, as much as possible. I clamped, loosened, clamped and repeated along the line until everything lined up close enough. I can tell there is a slight difference in height with my fingers, but I’m hoping I can take care of this either through the planer or with a plane.

It was a very productive and satisfying day. Perhaps tomorrow I can either glue up two more sections, or add another to the main glue-up. Haven’t decided which way to go here. I’m only a few days away from being able to do final assembly on the base and remove the old table. Very exciting. We’ll get to see if all this effort resulted in a worthy addition to the shop.

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