Adding our January 2012 Workbench of the Month from Ethan D. of Seattle, Washington to our Lake Erie Toolworks Blog for ease of access and historical awareness.
For this workbench I used mostly 8/4 European beech, which was cheaper than Eastern hard maple at my local wood retailer in Seattle. Strangely, 8/4 was cheaper than 6/4, which I used for the 4”cross pieces of the base. The tool tray bottom is hickory (3/4” thick, very cheap and hard and nice), as are the parallel guide (7/16”thick) and removable wedges (1/4”thick). The ramps for the ends of the tool tray are maple, from a thick plank I had lying around, which is still long enough to slice guitar sides from.
19 1/8” deep by 75” long and 34 ½” tall, the top is 3 1/8” thick around the perimeter and inside edge of the tool tray, and more than 1 ¾” thick at the center of the work surface.
Seasonal wood movement was planned for: the ends of the top are splined and bolted, not glued, and the front dovetails are not glued; the tool-tray bottom inside edge floats like a drawer bottom. Dowel pins align the front edge of the top to the fronts of the front legs; 3/8”x 6”lag bolts through ½”holes in the base’s top rails penetrate the thick part of the top near the tool tray. The top overlaps the back legs about an eighth of an inch (at 50% relative humidity).
The finish is approximately 1:1 tung oil and Watco Danish Oil Finish (to help the tung oil penetrate and dry faster). It smells wonderful. The only finish I applied to the large threads is carnuba wax that comes in a paste with turpentine.
As a luthier, this leg vise with beautiful maple screw is the only hardware I want as part of my bench. (My old bench of 23 years—still a useful work surface—has two metal Record vises, the main one of which often quick releases when I try to tighten it; I haven’t figured out how to fix it. Anyone know how?) I appreciate the “Classic” external garter finish that became available as my order was being made. It goes perfectly with my bench’s style—I aimed for something Antonio Stradivari would have used in 1700.
Great product, Lake Erie Toolworks. Every detail is beautiful and even the metal screws for the garter are refined and thoughtfully robust. I knew the dimensions when I ordered the screw, but when it arrived I was truly impressed: it is big!
Ethan D. – Seattle, Washington