stevenbunn Fri, 04/08/2016 - 07:45

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Cut a Notch in the Top Rail


Cut a notch in the base for the tailvise guide rail to pass through.
One more thing to do before saying you're done. Here is a good view of the cleat screwed to the front of the base. The tongue on the front jaw rides along this cleat. With the top screwed back in position, the top and this attached cleat form the groove in which the front jaw tongue travels.
I am about to discover to my dismay that the support cleat is going to get in the way of the vise's cross bar when I attempt to roll the top over and screw it down. I had to unscrew the cleat and then reinstall it after setting the top in position.
This is the fourth tailvise I have built. Seen from the front all appear the same. But due to differences in things like the over hang of the top in relation to the base or top thickness, the supporting structure of the vise has had to be modified each time to fit the bench. On the original Shaker bench I routed a groove in the front edge of the top with a router. A very hairy operation which I didn't want to repeat. That bench top extended far enough past the cabinet base so all I had to do was cut a notch in the base for the guide rail. On the next two benches I screwed a rabbeted cleat to the underside of the bench top.That worked well. On this bench, the large base unit combined with the smaller top limited the top's over hang. I was committed to allowing enough over hang on the left side of the top to install a metal bench vise. This meant that the cross bar the connects the front jaw and guide rail would bump into the side of the bench a prevent the vise from closing. I had to rejigger things and mounted the vcross bar further to the rear of the tail vises's body. You can see this in the picture in the previous post.
stevenbunn Thu, 04/07/2016 - 17:18

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Finish Installing the Tailvise


Think you're done? Noooooo! Flip the top over to install the guide rail, cross bar, and associated cleats that limit the side to side movement of the guide rail as it opens and closes.
This is where things get complicated. The body of the tailvise is held on the bench by the front jaw tongue and the bench screw threaded through the right end cap. As the vise is opened and closed the vise can still wobble wildly. To hold the vise against the front of the bench top, a guide bar running under the top in mortised into the rear jaw. The guide bar passes through a square hole cut in the end cap. The bar runs parrellel with the body of the vise, and is held square to the vise by a cross bar. The whole assembly can still wobble a little so cleats are screwed on both sides of the guide bar to limit it's side to side play. A rail screwed to the front of the bench supports the front jaw's tongue. You can see the support rail extending past the side of the base at the lower left of the picture.This support rail must be unscrewed from the bench temporarily so that it doesn't interfer with the tailvise cross bar when rolling the top over.
stevenbunn Thu, 04/07/2016 - 16:30

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Thread the Bench Screw into the Vise


Pass the bench screw through the hole in the rear jaw. Then thread it through the threaded nut cut in the endcap. Turn the screw until the front of the screw seats in the hole drilled in the back side of the front jaw. The tailvise rests loosely on the projecting end cap, with the front of the vise supported by a cleat housed in a rabbet.



stevenbunn Thu, 04/07/2016 - 16:17

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Mounting the tailvise


A cleat is screwed to the back face of the front jaw. The cleat slides in a rabbet to hold the front of the tailvise level with the top of the workbench. I am testing the fit of the assembled vise, checking for fit and insuring that the threaded end cap has been trimmed back enough to allow the body of the vise to move without binding against the projecting end cap.
Assembly of the tailvise is a complicated process. The body of the vise can be attached to the bench top. But to install the guide bar that passes under the bench top and through a hole in the end cap, you need to unscrew that top and flip it over. Luckily I was able to remove the lag bolts holding the top on at the rear of the base with a socket and a ratchet with a long handle. A better idea would be to not screw the top down until after after installing the tailvise. I got ahead of myself there.
stevenbunn Thu, 04/07/2016 - 07:49

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Locate the Garter Mortise


Set the bench screw in position against the rear jaw and mark the location of the garter. Cut a mortise in the underside of the rear jaw, wide enough for the garter. The garter mortise intersects the hole for the collar of the bench screw drilled through the wide faces of the rear jaw.
The garter mortise intersects with the two-inch dia. hole drilled in the rear jaw into which the bench screw seats. Driving the garter into it's mortise causes the fingers of the garter to  seat in the groove turned in the screw, locking the screw in the rear jaw. Leave the garter long so that you can get a clamp on it to tap it out if you ever need to. After the tailvise is fitted on the bench, I drill a hole in the inside face of the jaw and screw in a wood screw to keep the garter from falling out during use.


stevenbunn Wed, 04/06/2016 - 19:28

What's been happening in the shop?

Based on my recent posts you would never know that my primary focus is building Windsor chairs. Here are two of my latest creations, Fan-back side chairs built for a couple in Connecticut. These chairs are a smaller version of my standard Rhode Island Fan-back Windsor side chair. My customers asked for slightly down-sized chairs to fit a custom made table in their home. I really like the result, and plan on offering this design on my site. Many of the chairs featured on my website started in the same way with suggestions from clients.

Two new Rhode Island Fan-back side chairs ready to go.
stevenbunn Mon, 04/04/2016 - 20:00

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Install the Fixed Jaw


Glue and screw the fixed jaw to the front of the work bench. Cut the dovetail half pins in the left end of the fixed jaw and test the fit with the dovetail tail on the left end cap before final assembly. Use temporary supports to hold the weight of the jaw while clamping the fixed jaw to the bench top.
stevenbunn Mon, 04/04/2016 - 19:46

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Assembling the Fixed Jaw


Create the fixed jaw by gluing notched fill blocks between two rails. Use screws instead of clamps to streamline the process. The spaces between the blocks become dog holes for traditional rectangular bench dogs. Remove the screws before gluing on the front rail.
stevenbunn Mon, 04/04/2016 - 06:49

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Thread the Bench Screw


Use a threadbox to thread the shaft of the wooden screw all the way to the collar. These threads match the threaded hole in the end cap.
Looking for a threadbox? Tap and die sets are available through Wood Craft. My threadbox and tap cut $49.95. Wood Craft offers these in several different diameters.
stevenbunn Sun, 04/03/2016 - 11:38

Build a Shaker Work Bench


Turn a Wooden Bench Screw


Turn the body of the bench screw on the lathe. Finish by cutting a groove for the garter in the collar. The garter locks the bench screw and vise together so that the vise and bench screw move together as one unit.
A quick note: Visitors will see that the garter groove is being cut in a larger diameter section of the screw's shaft, abutting the screw handle. I have built and installed four tail-vises on different benches. I found that cutting the garter groove directly into the 1-1/2 inch dia. screw shaft weakened the bench screw at this point. I have accidentally twisted the head of a bench screw right off when tightening the vise. A real bummer. As the shaft of the screw has to pass through the rear jaw of the tail-vise before being threaded into the nut cut in the end cap, it seemed reasonable to increase the diameter of the hole cut into the rear jaw and increase the diameter of the screw where the garter groove is cut. For my own convenience I call this a 'collar'.