Sunday, April 5, 2009

Travel Bench Part 7

Here's a view of the vise end of the tops with the cavity complete.

This is the cavity for the "lefty" side of the bench.

These are the two end caps showing the layout for the mortise. The mortise is curved on one end to match the cavity profile on the top's tenon. The mortise is about 3/16" longer than the tenon, at the square end (the back edge of the top) to allow the top to move. I milled the mortise with a plunge router and fence. The mortise about 1/16" deeper than the length of the tenon to allow the end cap to seat nicely on the tenon shoulder.

Testing the fit of the end cap.

Good fit. The end cap has not been cut to length yet.

It's important that the shoulder on the show side be tight. I don't worry about the shoulder fitting perfectly on the bottom. It should seat against the top nicely, but cosmetic issues are not important underneath.

Both end caps fit to their tops.

Here I'm placing the front laminate in position, fitting it to the dog hole strip, and preparing for laying out the dovetails that join the front laminate to the end cap.

Before cutting the dovetails on the front laminate I drilled for the bolt and captive nut that joins the end cap to the top. The holes in the endcap are a bit oversized to allow the top to move. I used 3/8" x 5" bolts. I also counterbored for decorative plugs that will cover the bolt heads.

View of the underside of the top showing the mortises for the captive nuts.

With both end caps bolted in place I began the layout for the dovetails. The joint between the dog hole strip and the front laminate has already been fit. I slide the end of the front laminate into the inside face of the end cap and after making sure the slot for the dog block is parallel, I mark the end cap for length.

I lay out the dovetails on the end of the front laminate.

Here's the joint compared to the original on my Ash Roubo bench. The dimensions are the same.

I've seen some bench end caps and vises with really skinny half-pins at the top of the joint. Some tapering to as thin as 1/8". I like the look of skinny pins, but I never understood why on a bench. Leaving only 1/8" of material here means that less than 1/8" of an inch can be removed from the top of the bench before compromising this joint. I prefer to leave more material here for this reason. This is about 5/8".

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