Holtzapffel Workbench – The top comes together!

August 27th, 2008

So it’s been a long time since my last post, had a bit of down time where I went on vacation and did odds and ends but I’d been making slow and steady progress on the top.

I can’t believe how much trouble I had gluing a bunch of sticks together :) All my issues stemmed from the fact that I didn’t have a good way of surfacing such long pieces. My 6” jointer just wasn’t up to the task so I faffed around trying to do it other ways. I eventually used a huge 9 foot straight edge clamp thing that I use for cutting ply to run the strips through my table saw which got me one reference edge, then I glued a bunch up and used a router on a sled (the white piece of melamine in the background is the sled) to flatten the resulting slab.

Anyway, here’s the top, it’s still in two pieces here, just getting ready for the final glue up but you get the idea.

Holtzapffel Top

So I have to glue the two halves together, trim the ends and then complete the joinery for the base, but I now feel as though there is light at the end of the tunnel :)

I also have to trim my short stretchers a bit because the depth of the top is about 3/4” less than I’d originally planned.

Holtzapffel Workbench – Building the top

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…. :)

Google Groups KillFile 3.5.1 Released

May 8th, 2008

There was a bug in the new script that messed things up when you drilled into a thread, Tim caught the bug and I’ve gone ahead and updated the script, so please update to Google Groups KillFile 3.5.1

Google Groups KillFile 3.5 Released

May 7th, 2008

So Tim has been kind enough to address a number of bugs and add some great new features to the KillFile.

When you bring up the KillFile you can now

“Click X to reanimate the dead”
“Click Y to edit the filter”
“Click Z to edit regular expressions (experts only)”

He also added “Add Address” and “Add Topic” options as well as making it update automatically after pressing ‘X’, ‘Y’, ‘Z’

You can download the new version of the Google Groups KillFile right here. So give it a whirl and let me know how it goes.

Thanks again Tim!

Holtzapffel Workbench – Slow Going

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

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

Google Groups KillFile 3.4.4 Released

March 19th, 2008

Tim kindly posted a fix to a bug whereby if multiple entries in your killfile matched a post then it wouldn’t display any posts below the multiply blocked one.

You can download the updated script here Google Groups KillFile 3.4.4

Holtzapffel Workbench – Yup, that’s sharp!

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 – Time to head to the sharpener

March 12th, 2008

So this afternoon I tried to shimmy my blades around a bit so that the notches in my jointer blades would offset one another. Here is a pic of the knives in question.

Nicked Blades

Well the results were less than satisfactory (this was taken in raking sunlight)

Stripey Board

So I’m going to head to Standard Saw Works in Oakland to get them sharpened on Monday.

Holtzapffel Workbench – Lumber Acquired

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 :)