Lake Erie Toolworks Handplane Blade Update

We’ve added a few more blade styles to our new CPM MagnaCut stainless steel lineup; spokeshave blades and a few more block plane blades. The spokeshave blades are compatible with Lie-Nielsen™ Boggs style as well as their Small Bronze spokeshaves. The block plane blades are compatible with Lie-Nielsen™ No. 60-1/2 and No. 102 planes. Since we’ve just added these to the site, we will extend the pre-order 15% discount by a week, until December 7th.

Other planes that our blades will improve include: Antique Stanley bench planes and block planes, Lie-Nielsen™ bench planes and Veritas™ block planes.

Note: if you’ve already placed an order for other blades, we will refund the additional shipping charge if you order these new ones as well, just leave a note in the order.

Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea – Southern Yellow Pine Roubo

Thanks to Carl Johnson from Minneapolis, Minnesota for sending in this Anarchist’s Roubo Workbench featuring a wooden leg vise. Built mainly out of southern yellow pine, with a hard maple vise chop, Carl did quite the amazing job on this bench.

Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise, Wooden Leg Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise, Wooden Leg Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise, Wooden Leg Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise, Wooden Leg Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise, Wooden Leg Vise

Here, at long last, is my new workbench. I built it according to the plans in the wonderful book, “The Anarchist’s Workbench” by Christopher Schwarz. I built it according to the plans almost verbatim. The only thing I altered was the overall length and opted for a wooden vise screw and parallel guide for the leg vise.

This bench has been my mistress for the last two months. I have only been woodworking for about a year and a half, and although I’ve built many different kinds of projects, this bench pushed me to a new level. Virtually every technique was new to me. This bench was my first stab at mortise and tenon joints, my first time ever using hand tools, and was also a great excuse to buy some new toys and tools!

It is built entirely from southern yellow pine, except for the leg vise which is hard maple with curly maple on the face. I started out with eight 2x12x12 boards and cut them all to rough length before planing them down to 1 ¼” and ripping them to width (this gave me a great excuse to buy a rip blade for the table saw).

The top is 5” thick, around 5 ½’ in length and 22” for width. I opted for a 35” height, so we’ll see how I like that height when hand planing. As per the book, I bought some architect’s lamps for lighting. I made bases for them out of canary wood and pau rosa, which I turned on a lathe to make into thick hockey pucks. I cut a hole in the top of the base for the lamp to slide into, then attached a 1” dowel through the underside so the bases can sit in the holdfast holes.

As I mentioned before, I opted for wooden vise hardware over steel because I just loved the look. I briefly considered making my own wooden screw and nut out of hard maple, but decided it wasn’t worth the time hassle at this point in my woodworking journey. Enter Lake Erie Toolworks. I bought the premium kit, and was not disappointed. All the components are made from single pieces of hard maple and they’re absolutely beautiful. And boy does this thing clamp hard!

The rest of the bench I finished with a 1:1:1 mix of boiled linseed oil, polyurethane and paint thinner. This bench has been a labor of love, and by far the lengthiest project I’ve undertaken. It’s hard to believe it’s done, because for so long there was always something to do next. I’m still waiting on a planing stop, though (the popularity of the book probably resulted in a deluge of orders to the blacksmith that Chris mentions in the book).

The whole reason for building this bench was to have something I can use to build staked furniture, so those are going to be my next projects. Though, I think I may take a breather for a while…
Carl Johnson – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Announcing our new handplane blades!

Announcing our new handplane blades!

After months of prototyping and testing, we are finally ready to build our first production batch of handplane blades. They are made with a new super steel, CPM MagnaCut.  This double tempered, cryogenically treated CPM (powder metal technology) provides the ideal combination of high wear resistance, unparalleled corrosion resistance and the ability to sharpen to an exceedingly keen edge.

We have a quantity of steel on hand for our first full production run with more steel coming in January. Currently we have a variety of bench and block plane upgrade blades available for antique Stanley / Bailey planes as well as modern planes from Lie-Nielsen™ and Lee Valley/Veritas™.

Also note that we are offering these upgraded plane blades now as a discounted pre-order via our website at www.LakeErieToolworks.com.  Orders will be taken through November 30th, 2021 at which point we will manufacture the first batch of plane blades with shipping targeted for February 2022.

Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea – Multi Vise Roubo

Many thanks go out to Bill Cary from Suffolk, Virginia for sending in this fantastic workbench idea.  Bill sent in a complete build portfolio from start to finish of his amazing Roubo Workbench.  We thoroughly enjoyed following his build process and I trust that you will as well.  What a great job!

Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise
Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea, Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise

“Attached are pictures of my Roubo bench that I used your Lake Erie Toolworks Wood Vise Screw Premium Kit on for my leg vise.  I also used a vise that is similar to a Sheldon vise, but much larger, for the tail vise and an Emmert patternmakers vise for the end adjacent to the leg vise.

I began the bench around the end of August, 2021 and completed it on October 20,2021. 

I began with a 6×6 piece of rough poplar which was acquired at a local lumber yard.  I finished it to 5”x5”x32.25”.  The dovetails and tenons were cut with a Japanese pull saw. 

The top was made from hard maple that I have had for about 25 years.  It is 5” thick x 24”x 72” not including the vises.  It was glued in sections.  I used biscuits to align the boards as I glued them.  I ran the first eight pieces that I glued through my planer.  I clamped the last three pieces to each side of the original eight and laid out the dovetails and tenons.  Unclamped the boards, made the cuts and glued each three-piece section together, let them dry, ran them through the planer and glued them to the eight-piece section. 

I cut 5” mortises in the legs and glued 1.5”x 5” stretchers to connect the legs.  The mortises were inset 1” on the legs to allow me to glue a 1”x 5” wide board to the stretchers to bring them even with the outside of the legs. 

I made the cuts in the bottom of the top to accept the Emmert and the slot for the deadman to slide in.  I made several test fits of the top and base before gluing them up with West System epoxy. 

I attached the Emmert and the tail vise to the top before attaching the top and base. 

Next, I made and installed the deadman. 

The Leg vise came next.  I followed the kit instructions for installation of the screw.  I am very pleased with the quality of the screw kit and how it works. 

I next made the bottom shelf from poplar.  It was ship lapped and v grooved. 

I made and installed the vice jaws for the tail vise after which I bored the 3/4” dog holes. 

The bench was finished with 3 coats of an equal mixture of boiled linseed oil, mineral spirits and varnish.”Bill Cary – Suffolk, Virginia

Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea – Split Top Roubo

Special thanks to Geoff Bertin from Big Lake, Minnesota who sent in this latest content for our Lake Erie ToolworksWorkbench Idea” forum.  Geoff built this tremendous rustic looking split top Roubo workbench with a very unique wooden screw powered leg vise. Pretty slick!

Lake Erie Toolworks, Split Top Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise, Wood Leg Vise

“I finished my bench a few weeks back and have some pics to share. The bench is 7’ long and was build using plans from the Wood Whisperer, with a few tweaks. The chop is walnut and curly maple as are some of the other accents. The bench is soft maple. Geoff Bertin – Big Lake, Minnesota”

21st Century Workbench Idea

Thanks to Bill Leonhardt from East Patchogue, New York for sending in this detail regarding his version of the 21st Century Workbench that features a Lake Erie Toolworks wooden vise screw instead of the original metal twin screw design. This is truly one amazing workbench.

Lake Erie Toolworks, Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Wood Vise, 21st Century Workbench
Lake Erie Toolworks, Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Wood Vise, 21st Century Workbench
Lake Erie Toolworks, Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Wood Vise, 21st Century Workbench
Lake Erie Toolworks, Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Wood Vise, 21st Century Workbench
Lake Erie Toolworks, Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Wood Vise, 21st Century Workbench
Lake Erie Toolworks, Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Wood Vise, 21st Century Workbench
Lake Erie Toolworks, Workbench, Leg Vise, Wooden Vise, Wood Vise, 21st Century Workbench

I was attracted, at first sight, to the 21st Century Workbench built by Robert Lang and featured in a Popular Woodworking magazine in 2008.  I finally got an opportunity to build this bench in the beginning of 2020 and, fortunately, procured all the materials just before the Covid pandemic hit.  It took me 4 to 5 months to complete and the final dimensions are 75” long (not counting end vise) x 30” wide x 34.5” high.  The top is 3” thick and the final weight is about 312 lbs.  The bench material is ash, and a nice feature is the fact that the top is in two halves and each half is narrow enough to fit through a normal 13-inch planer.  

One of the reasons I am attracted to this bench is the fact that the base uses both upper and lower stretchers, which means it does not use the top for support or to stiffen it.  That is important to me, because my use of the top is an evolving philosophy.  With an “independent” base, I can reconfigure the top in the future if I choose to and still maintain the stiffness and rigidity the base offers.

I deviated somewhat form the original bench design to better accommodate my space limitations and to incorporate a leg vise in place of the original twin screw. I also changed the method of connecting the long stretchers to the legs so that the bench could be broken down and transported more easily.  I opted for a leg vise with wood screw in place of the double screw vise and I used a quick release vise I had on hand for the end vise.

In building the leg vise, I used a precision shaft and linear bearing in place of the traditional multi-hole plate at the bottom of a typical leg vise which eliminates the need to shift the spacing pin for different material thicknesses.  I chose a Lake Erie wood screw because it has a much coarser thread (than a metal screw) which means less turns for the vise travel.  The combination of the precision shaft and wood screw makes for an exceptionally smooth operating vise.

In applying finish to the bench, I wanted to protect the wood, but, at the same time, I wanted to not have a slippery surface for working.  In the end, I chose to use two wiped-on coats of the following mixture:  1/3 mineral spirits + 1/3 polyurethane + 1/3 boiled linseed oil.  I am pleased with the way this turned out as I got the desired surface.

Note that the tool trays can be reversed to make one continuous top or removed to make clamping on one of the top halves easier.  Additionally, I can saw wood that is held in the end vise “right-handed”. Never had this before since a typical face vise is at the left end of the bench. At this point, I am very happy with the current configuration and I anticipate no changes.  I do however, like the fact that I can easily reconfigure the top in the future if I change my mind.

Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea – March 2021

Our latest Workbench Idea was sent in by Matt Miller from Clear Lake, Iowa who has one of the greatest workbench and workshop setups that we have ever seen.  Matt’s father and grandfather taught him the woodworking craft well and assisted by his wife and son, Matt crafted the workbench and shop of a lifetime.  His massive walnut 2X wooden twin screw vise is also the cherry on top to finish up this functional woodworking paradise.

Lake Erie Toolworks, Twin Screw Vise, Wood Vise, Wooden Vise, Workbench
Lake Erie Toolworks, Twin Screw Vise, Wood Vise, Wooden Vise, Workbench
Lake Erie Toolworks, Twin Screw Vise, Wood Vise, Wooden Vise, Workbench
Lake Erie Toolworks, Twin Screw Vise, Wood Vise, Wooden Vise, Workbench
Lake Erie Toolworks, Wood Vise

I started woodworking when I was just a kiddo. My Grandfather and Father owned a hardware store where I learned about good tools, cut glass, electrical and plumbing. What an education! I worked in the hardware store until I was 28 and went to work as a sales manager for a baking company for the next 34 years, retiring 4 years ago.

My Grandfather made all his own furniture in his house and I was always amazed how well he made his projects with very minimal hand and power tools. I inherited a lot of my woodworking tools and knowledge from my Grandfather and my Father. 

The Cadillac walnut twin screw vise is 8″ x 36″.  It is held together with the two biggest screws that Lake Erie Toolworks makes (2X wood vise premium kits). You guys make our projects look and work great!

My Workbench I built with my wife and son in 2005. It took us 3 years to build. It is built from quarter sawn white oak with some red oak and walnut as accents. Over 8 feet long with a double row of bench dogs along with the Emmert patternmakers vise are a joy to use. The two Record bench screws and the Record vise make woodworking simple and easy. 

I have totally restored all my Delta woodworking power tools and use them daily.

My woodworking shop is truly heaven on earth. I am always busy and my children and grandchildren will pull up a stool to the workbench where we tell stories and share a beverage. It is the place to sit and many a story has been told and embellished at this bench.

Sincerely, Matt Miller – Clear Lake, Iowa

Christmas Gift Ideas

Of course our wooden vise kits make an excellent Christmas gift, but if you are in the market for something a little different, we’ve compiled a list of general tools that we use and highly recommend. We are part of Amazon’s affiliate program and earn a small commission if you click through the links and make a purchase. Just click on the pictures to check them out.

Aerokroil Penetrating Lubricant: Far and away the best kind that we’ve used. If you have any bolts that have developed a ‘vintage patina’, this is the stuff to use. It’s more expensive than the other stuff but it will save you hours of frustration and prevent you from scaring your neighbors and small woodland creatures away while working on your vehicle. If it can’t get a bolt loose, it’s time to break out the torch.

Maximum Impact Bolt & Nut Remover Set: I (Nick) have a ’95 Land Cruiser project vehicle, more project than vehicle unfortunately, and these have been very helpful in removing 25 year old rusty bolts and nuts. When combined with the Aerokroil above and an impact wrench, there are few bolts that I can’t get loose. At $29.95, these are a crazy good value if you do any kind of wrenching on cars.

Bondhus Allen Wrench set: We really like this set because they are top quality and the Metric wrenches are gold and the Imperial are silver. We have several of these around the shop and the color difference helps us keep things organized. Bondhus makes excellent T-handle wrenches as well as torx and other style drivers. Made in the USA as well.

Trusco Tool Boxes: These are quality Japanese made steel toolboxes. I have a couple of the smaller ones and the one in the link above is great to keep a small basic toolkit for around the house tasks or in your trunk. It’s also my go-to as a kids first toolbox; small enough for them to handle yet something that will last into adulthood. They also make smaller box style ones and larger toolboxes with cantilever lids.

PB Swiss Screwdrivers: The king of screwdrivers. They are made in Switzerland, the steel is excellent, the tips are precisely ground and the rubber grip is formulated so that it is still grippy even if you’re hands have some dirt or oil on them. Great for automotive or maintenance work. Two thumbs way up.

Grace Screwdrivers: Well made wood handled screwdrivers. These are a great option f you aren’t planning on using these with oily hands. Good steel, comfortable grips, properly shaped tips, good value and made in the good ole’ U S of A. They also make all kinds of specialty and gunsmith screwdrivers.

Unscrew-Ums: I was driving a screw into the hard maple face frame of a kitchen cabinet base that I had already installed and the head snapped off just below the surface. What to do? I didn’t wan’t to drill a big hole around the screw so I took to the interwebs to find a solution. I was skeptical but I bought the individual size that I needed for the #8 screw and it actually worked. You chuck it in your drill, run it in reverse and it begins to cut away the threads leaving the screw shaft intact. The slit in the side allows it to expand a bit and the spring action combined with the saw teeth at the tip grip into the top 1/8″ of the broken off screw and back it out, leaving a mostly intact hole ready for the replacement screw to be installed at a lower clutch setting.

If you are looking for good ideas for books, here is a link to our list of recommended books on woodworking and machining: https://www.lakeerietoolworks.com/pages/recommended-resources

You built that workbench? It’s simply amazing!

Our good friends at the Woodsmith Shop have now recorded a television episode in which they have built an English style workbench (A New Old Workbench) that is either available via your local PBS channel or is also for purchase online from their Woodsmithshop.com website.

Since a sturdy workbench should be among the first tools in your woodworking toolkit, this specific workbench video and plan set will provide you with the core information needed to make this bench a reality in your workshop.

Just remember, there’s nothing quite like crafting your own workbench, and when a friend or family member asks if “You built that workbench”? Followed up with “It’s simply amazing”! There’s nothing quite like that pride of accomplishment that you will surely feel.

Happy Woodworking from Lake Erie Toolworks

Lake Erie Toolworks – Modified Nicholson English Workbench Idea

Our latest Workbench Idea comes from Tom M. from The Woodlands, Texas who has built a modified Nicholson English Workbench with a leg vise.  This juggernaut weighs in at around 300 pounds and is solid as a rock.  Tom also shows us the various major steps of construction that he used to build this monster bench from planing & joinery of the various wood components through glue-up and final assembly.  Enjoy!

Lake Erie Toolworks, English Workbench, Nicholson Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise,

Lake Erie Toolworks, English Workbench, Nicholson Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise,

Lake Erie Toolworks, English Workbench, Nicholson Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise,

Lake Erie Toolworks, English Workbench, Nicholson Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise,

Lake Erie Toolworks, English Workbench, Nicholson Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise,

Lake Erie Toolworks, English Workbench, Nicholson Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise,

Lake Erie Toolworks, English Workbench, Nicholson Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise,

Lake Erie Toolworks, English Workbench, Nicholson Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise,

Lake Erie Toolworks, English Workbench, Nicholson Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise,

Lake Erie Toolworks, English Workbench, Nicholson Workbench, Leg Vise, Wood Vise,

This design was inspired by Paul Sellers on YouTube.  My version is a bit bigger.  I built is using hand tools only – just to see if I could.

The wood materials are Southern Yellow pine construction lumber purchased from Lowes.

The bench is sealed with boiled linseed oil, weighs about 300 pounds and is as solid as a rock.  I think it will last.

Regards,

Tom M. – The Woodlands, Texas