(Part 23 of a series)
It’s been well over a year since I took a break from the workbench, I had no idea it would be this long before I got around to finishing it. It’s not quite finished yet, but the end is much, much closer than the beginning. The reason it took me so long to have this next update is that I was scared. Scared of the technique used to flatten the top. It turns out I shouldn’t have been that afraid to do it, but perhaps it was best until I was truly comfortable doing it.
The shop has seen some changes since I left the project, and some of those changes were the impetus for working on this again. I have once again become proud of my shop, and having a flat and fine workbench to do assembly and handwork on is key to that. I followed closely what Marc Spagnuolo (The Wood Whisperer) did in his video, and used runners clamped to the bench and a router sled. Where he used 2x6s, I have not had great luck with those so I bought a pine board and jointed then ripped it. Figured it would be more stable. I attached those to the bench with clamps, and oriented them to be 1/4″ above the surface on three corners. I then attached string and adjusted the final corner to be in plane. For instruction on the technique, check out video 174 on his website. I didn’t have as big of a bit, but 3/4″ worked fine.
Long process summed up, the flattening went well and I only had one screwup where I let one end of the sled slip off of the runner. I can attribute that to trying to go too fast. Also, I developed lines on the bench where I inadvertently applied pressure in places. A healthy application of 60-grit helped, but they are quite visible. More visible than tactile, thankfully. I also accidentally polished up three of the vise bolts, thankfully no damage to the bit.
Top flat (or very close), I got to work on the dog holes. I decided to space them 3″ apart on center along the line of the vise dog. I got 12 of the 23 planned first row done before the sun and my energy ran out. Here are some pics, this would be Saturday.
The first two holes are restricted from completion due to the vise, and I’ll have to remove it to complete them I think. Careful application of a forstner bit (if I can find the 3/4″) might work. While I won’t be able to use my Gramercy holdfasts in these two holes, I should be able to use dogs if needed.