Tried and True

Shop, Project

Sawbench - Part 3 (Final)

The finished sawbench.

We’re in the home stretch now!

Since I had the top boards ready-to-go, I started the glue-up.  Each board is held in place by two half-lap joints on the top of the legs.  The short cross rails that hold the base together created a platform to support the top boards across their width.  Gluing up these joints was straightforward; I just needed to ensure that the half lap joints were closed tight and that the top boards were sitting flat on the rails.

Gluing the top boards to the legs.

Boring the holes for the dowels.

I wanted some insurance on all of these half laps since the sawbench will be treated roughly over its lifetime.  So, I decided to peg all the joints with dowels.  I used an auger bit to bore out two holes in each joint.  The auger bit leaves a perfectly-sized hole with no tear out.  I cut the pegs from a 3/8” cherry dowel rod, added a little glue, and tapped them home with a hammer.  I left the dowels extra long until the glue dried and then I trimmed them flush.

Cutting down a 3/8" cherry dowel rod.  I tapered each dowel slightly with a chisel to make it easier to drive it into the joint.

The dowels are glued into the joint to peg it in place.  Notice also that the surfaces have not been flushed up around the joint yet.

Glamour shot #1

Glamour shot #2

The final surface prep was easy.  I used a block plane to flush up all the surfaces around the joints, and I applied two coats of Tried and True Original Wood Finish.  Once the finish dried, the sawbench was ready to work!  This was a fun project to build, and it’s a useful tool to have in the shop.

Project, Shop

Dedicated Sharpening Station - Part 4

The tool tray on my sharpening station is actually broken into two parts:  a shallow tray and a deep tray.  I plan to drill a few holes in the shallow tray to hold my burnisher and some screwdrivers dedicated to disassembling my hand planes.  There will also be some open space to hold small odds-and-ends.  The deep tray will hold all my sharpening jigs, oil, and a spray bottle for my waterstones.

Tool tray components prior to assembly

While both the laminated top and wood top segments are fixed in place, the two tool trays are free-floating, and can be easily removed.  They both hang between the two top segments, which are mounted at the same height.  The deep tool tray is constructed using simple rabbet joints, and the bottom of the tray is held captive in a 1/4" wide groove to allow for wood movement.  I reinforced the rabbet joints with some 1" brads.  The shallow tray has a small ledge at the back to keep items from falling off and landing behind the cabinet.

I debated whether I should put a finish on the tool trays and the wood top.  In the end, I compromised by applying a single coat of Tried and True Traditional Wood Finish.  This product is a polymerized linseen oil and beeswax mixture; it's my go-to finish for shop surfaces.  I like that this finish is non-toxic and non-flammable, which works well for me since my shop is in a poorly ventilated basement which contains a hot water heater with an open pilot light.  It doesn't offer as much protection to the wood surface as a varnish finish, but it's easily renewable, and makes cleaning up glue drips a snap.  Tried and True is the only product I will use on my workbench top.

Wood top and tool trays after one coat of Tried and True

If you want to give Tried and True Traditional Wood Finish a try, you have to understand what you're getting yourself into.  The product has an unusual consistency... it's essentially a paste.  You must apply it in extremely thin coats and use a lot of elbow grease to rub it in.  Also, don't expect to apply a second coat a few hours after the first.  Tried and True takes a long time to dry, which is the downside of a non-toxic non-flammable formula.  The single coat I applied to the tool trays and wood top took almost four days to dry, but I also applied it during a rainy and humid week.  If you're in a hot dry climate, it will dry faster.

In the end, I decided one coat was enough protection for these pieces.  This decision was part pragmatism and part laziness; time will tell how the trays hold up.  In the next (and final) post in this series, I'll show the final setup of my dedicated sharpening station and how I use it.  Stay tuned!