Posts Tagged ‘woodworking’

Sideboard – Veneer delivered

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

So I got my shipment of veneer from Certainlywood last night. The figure is really nice but it looks a bit too pink, must be a freshly cut log, but that will darken up nicely with some time potassium dichromate :) The eucalyptus looked really nice too. Excited to get started on this project

Completed Holtzapffel Workbench!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Okay, well it’s 99% complete and since I started it almost exactly a year ago figured I’d post it (catching up blog posts to pdo – this was actually where I was around March 10/09)

Still have a few dog holes to do and need to trim the end without the vice but other than that we are in business :) The top has walnut strips, and the whole bench is done in maple, weighs a ton and is solid as a rock. I’ve already gotten a ton of use out of it, and I’m looking forward to it giving me many years of faithful use.

Front vise is the Veritas twin screw and the end vise is just a big metal jobby (same one Schwarz recommends) based on a suggestion from one of the other Popular Woodworking editors I just glued the pieces that the twin screw passes through, seeing just how strong these glues are (they are supposed to be stronger than the wood so I don’t really expect any issues) so far so good, but it’s early days.

Anyway, it was a great project and I’m really pleased with how it came out and that I didn’t settle for a store bought one (I was close).

Light at the end of the tunnel

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

So catching up some blog posts here at, this was my progress 10/18/08 getting closer at this point :)

Just need to add the vises, do some final flattening of the top once I flip it et voila :)

And a quick pic of my new pride and joy :)

— I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. – Pablo Picasso

Holtzapffel Workbench – Building the top

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

This post is just to share some top building pics

I’m using a 9’ straight edge to joint the boards for the top. I usually use this for cutting sheet goods to size as I have a jig that locks a circular saw to it but it’s come in real handy for handling these long pieces.

Here you can see how big and unwieldly the straight edge is, as well as my super high end Taiwanese saw…

The blade is a new 12” Freud combo blade, doesn’t leave an edge like my Woodworker II that usually lives on the saw but it gets it smooth enough whereby I can finish off on the jointer.

Slowly but surely…. :)

Holtzapffel Workbench – Slow Going

Monday, May 5th, 2008

So it’s been pretty slow going as of late. The top is proving to be trickier than I’d anticipated. The main issue is being able to effectively mill such large pieces.

I got hung up trying to flatten the faces of the top; I’d been using my jointer to do this but the bed simply isn’t long enough to joint 7′ long boards.

I came to the realization that I didn’t need it perfectly flat along it’s length though, I just needed it flat enough whereby I could clamp it flat during the glue up. So my new tack is to just plane it so that both faces are flat-ish, and parallel to one another, then ‘joint’ it with a rip cut on my tablesaw. I’m using the tablesaw with a 9′ straight edge attached to the fence. Using this technique I’m slowly but surely getting the top built.

I do have the parts for the base milled though but I’d really like to get the top out of the way before doing any more work there.

Holtzapffel Workbench – Making Progress

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

I’ve been making slow but steady on my bench. After getting my jointer knives sharpened I set about milling the stock for the legs. I’d noticed my dust collector wasn’t running as well as it once did and wondered were all the dust I’d been collecting since I bought it had ended up…


Turns out it all goes into that big sack! So after getting that working I face and edge jointed all the parts for the base. Once that was done it was time to glue the two pieces that comprise the legs together. I’m not a man of many clamps so figured I’d crack open my vacuum press to do the job all in one shot.

This is my trusty vacuum press, built per joewoodworkers plans.

vacuum press

Here it is in action..

vacuum press legs

I could really do with some proper breather mesh for the top but I’ve found it works just as well if I throw some rags in there which is what you can see on top of the legs.

The vacuum pressing worked really well, producing a ton (literally) of nice even pressure on the legs. Which you can see at the bottom of this pile.

base components

So now I have all the bits for the base pretty much ready (and I’ve rough cut most of the pieces for the top too). I’m going to drum sand them to final thickness next week (I think) because my initial plan to use the planer was causing too much chip out in this crazy grained maple. After that I can get down to some joinery.

— I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. – Pablo Picasso

Holtzapffel Workbench – Yup, that’s sharp!

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

So I got my jointer blades back from the sharpener, Standard Saw Works, and they did a great job. It’s a cool store too and one of the storefront window displays is full of old wooden planes (I didn’t get a pic)

Once I got the blades back to the workshop I set about reinstalling them. My usual method is to use my dial indicator and twiddle with them for hours on end getting them just right but this time I tried a new approach which worked really well.

After I’d dropped the blades off to be sharpened I swung by Ace Hardware and picked up six small rare earth magnets. The plan was to stick them to something flat and use the magnets to align the blades to the outfeed table. Here is my alignment setup.

Jointe Alignment Gear

It’s pretty low tech but it worked really well, so much easier than all the messing about with the dial indicator. The process was as follows.

First I used my dial gauge to make sure all the magnets were the same width, they were all exactly the same which was nice. I then attached them to something nice and flat. On the far side by the fence I’m using the bottom of my combination square, and at the front I’m using a big allen key.

Magnetic Jointer Alignment

I found top dead center of the jointer head using the dial indicator and then moved the blades to that position. Then it was a simple matter of sliding the magnets over the blade which attached itself to the underside of the magnets. Tighten the screws to keep the blade in place et voila! Perfectly aligned with no messing about.

So that worked really well until I was tightening the final screw, on the final blade when…. I slipped…

Bloody Thumb

A nice deep, clean cut ensued. Luckily the blades were razor sharp so it didn’t really hurt and it hit my nail which prevented the blade from going too deep, still a tad scary, as all shop accidents are though :)

Anyway the final result was worth it.

Smooth Board

Holtzapffel Workbench – Lumber Acquired

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Made another trip to PALS for the rest of the lumber, and seeing as my lumber rack isn’t wide enough most of it is on the floor or just propped up at the moment. Here’s all the 8/4 stock waiting to be butchered.


I ran all my stock through Cutlist Plus and here’s what it came up with, not too much waste which is nice (and I’ll use whatever is left over eventually anyway)


You can click the Cutlist Pic for a bigger view. Some parts are doubled up because I need to glue them up for final thickness (like the legs).

So now I’m all ready to start some actual work :)

Holtzapffel Workbench – Cutlist

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008


One thing I’m awful at is taking a cutlist to the lumberyard and figuring out which boards to buy, I either end up with too little or too much. Yesterday I’d picked up the boards for the base, figuring I’d build that first then swing by and get the stock for the top.

I’d heard some good things about Cutlist Plus so figured I’d use it to see how best to cut the pieces for the base from the stock I’d bought. Turns out if I use the pieces I bought for the base, and then go and get the stock for the top I’ll end up wasting about $200 worth of wood! So looks like I’ll be making my second trip to the lumberyard sooner than I thought… It really does go to show just how important optimizing your cuts is though, and I thoroughly recommend Cutlist Plus.

— I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. – Pablo Picasso

Building the Holtzapffel Workbench

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

So after looking at all the options I decided to just go ahead and build a bench. I really liked the look of Chris Schwarz’s Holtzapffel bench

Holtzapffel Bench

So that’s what I’m going to build, ordered the “24 Veritas Twin Screw vise from Lee Valley for the front and like Chris’ the large quick release steel vise for the tail

Twin Screw Vise

Steel Vise

Yesterday I went to PALS and picked up the lumber for the base which I’m going to build first. Building it all from maple, and it’s going to be a beast, just the 12’ x 5” 8/4 board I’ll be using for the stretches weighed a ton :)

Now for my question (I’ll post this as a forum topic too). Chris glued up the top using pieces that were 1 3/4 wide (so it was all 8/4 stock) to get the 24” width, but I saw that PALS had 12/4 stock, about 8” wide. Would I be better off using three of these huge chunks for the top, or will the smaller laminated strips be more stable (I’m guessing the latter)

Hopefully I’ll get some shop time this afternoon to start building the base :) Will keep you posted with pics a plenty.