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I had recently been conversing with Jim via e-mail where he had revealed to me that he saw a short story about my workbench project in Wood Central's Shop Shots. Jim told me in his original e-mail that he liked the design and was going to build a bench from those same plans and that he had a question about the ability of the bench dogs to hold fast in the plan's thickness for the top of 1 3/4".
The longer story made shorter is that I developed a relationship with Jim and learned about his bench project. The end results of that project was extremely interesting to me and I asked Jim to allow me to publish a page about that workbench poject. He obliged me with the following dialog and photos. Thanks Jim!
In 2009 the local school was torn down to make way for a new one. This school was built in 1885. I managed to salvage some of the old rafters and some maple flooring. I knew I wanted to build something special with it, I just wasn't sure what. The wood was stored away until this spring when I decided I wanted a nice work bench for my shop and the "Old School Wood" had found its new purpose. After looking at many different workbench plans I settled on the plan in Wood Smith No. 173.
I contacted Dave and asked him about his experience building this bench. With his encouragement I was off and running.
Original plans call for Maple but the Red Oak looks like it will serve quite well. I didn't have quite enough wood from the school but a little creative cutting and gluing solved the problem. The build went quite well, with only a snag here and there. It did take me many hours to build, including some extra hours since I was working with recycled wood.
If I had to make one suggestion it would be in the construction of the tail vise. Don't cut out the notch for the mount for the screw. Instead carefully use a forstner bit to drill out the opening. This leaves more material for the mounting screws. The notch is just simply too large. I used the vises recommended in the plans.
finish off the bench I used my Carve Wright cnc carver to put the information
about the school on the front stretcher. On the back stretcher I put my
name and date.
The four photos below show some of the process of gluing up and clamping the top for the bench. Obviously this was all done in Jim's shop as you can see. Having gone through this myself, I can tell you that the work is not easy and sometimes heavy lifting!
Jim sent me some photos of
the finished project and here are a couple of them (shown below) that shows
the engraving he was talking about that was made with his CNC carver. I
think it was really neat to give credit to the salvaged lumber, don't you?
The primary difference between Jim's bench and my bench is that I used hard maple and Jim made his with the reclaimed oak (and of course the engraving). Jim's bench turned out fantasic and having been using mine now for a couple of years, I know for sure that it's going to help him down the road a bunch!
Take a look at the finished product below.
It looks to me like this bench will hold up to any task that Jim would want to use it for, don't you think? I think it's awesome and I'll bet his material costs were much less than what I had in building mine. Nice job Jim!
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