Announcing Our November 2017 Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea

Our latest Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench Idea for November 2017 comes to us from Marcel K. from Auckland, New Zealand.  Marcel has built a tremendous Moravian Style Workbench using the Will Myers Moravian build DVD as his inspiration and guide.  Kudos to Marcel, as well as to Will Myers and Joshua Farnsworth for helping to make this reality happen.

Lake Erie Toolworks, Moravian Workbench, Wooden Vise Screw, Leg Vise

Lake Erie Toolworks, Moravian Workbench, Wooden Vise Screw, Leg Vise

Lake Erie Toolworks, Moravian Workbench, Wooden Vise Screw, Leg Vise

Lake Erie Toolworks, Moravian Workbench, Wooden Vise Screw, Leg Vise

Lake Erie Toolworks, Moravian Workbench, Wooden Vise Screw, Leg Vise

Hi Nick,

I can’t believe it took me this long to build it but I finally finished my workbench.

Not sure whether it meets the standard of the other awesome workbenches in your blog but I thought I’d fire some pictures and text (below) through to at least show that the vise has eventually been put to use.

And of course let you know my appreciation of your vise screws.

Kind regards,

Marcel K. – Auckland, New Zealand

Details/Comments

When I first saw Will Myer’s WKFineTools article on the portable Moravian design I knew it was a perfect choice for the tight confines of my garage. Basically I wanted something that was solid/heavy yet not too big and could still be relatively easily moved when needed.

The only thing I wanted to change was the tool tray as I preferred having extra bench space so to SketchUp I went and started working on modifying the design to incorporate the Roubo split top idea. After a year of pondering (while building my tool chest) an article appeared on the Lake Erie blog about a great compact version of a “Split Top Moravian” from Ron G in Florida which confirmed my ideas.

While finishing my tool chest I bought Will Myer’s fantastic DVD (“Building the Portable Moravian Workbench”) and watched it repeatedly while acquiring the lumber and letting it dry a bit. After purchasing the Lake Erie Toolworks vise screw I set to work in December last year.

Yes it took me about 10 months of working off and on to complete!

I did nearly all of it by hand (rough-sawn stock dimensioning, joinery etc) and only submitted to power at the end to cut the back slab to final width using a circular saw. By then I thought I’d had enough hand sawing practice!

The bench is all white ash apart from the maple Lake Erie vise screw. Even the various dowels were formed from scrap Ash used during the build (hardwood dowel is hard to come by in New Zealand). I went with a Veritas inset vise for the end vise due to its compactness since the design doesn’t have much space at the bench ends to add a vise.

The inset vise works but during the bench build process I frequently used the notched batten method (“Doe’s foot”) to hold boards while planing on a make shift bench and it worked so well I’ve since been wondering whether I even need an end vise. The things you learn…

The overall length and width of the bench matches Will’s plans (76″ x 24”). The top slabs are asymmetrical with the front one about 12.75” wide and the back about 9.5” separated by a 1.75” slotted gap stop. This means that I have the option of building a tool tray like the original plans if I want in the future. It also means that with the gap stop in the raised position I can comfortably hand plane a 12” or so wide board against the stop.

The thickness of the top is 4.25” which is thicker than the original plans (3.5”) and the legs and stretchers are also a bit thicker than the plans so the bench is certainly heavy when assembled. I haven’t weighed it but the front slab alone is at least 40kgs (about 90lbs) so while the bench is technically portable you wouldn’t want to move the front slab too far by yourself!

The bench and vise are finished with Organoil’s Danish oil which is one of my favourite finishes. A straight oil finish that’s easy to apply and doesn’t leave a varnish/film finish and smells pine fresh which is a bonus :-). The top still has a bit of friction which is great when working on it.

There are still a few details to finish off including boring some more hold-fast holes, adding some cork or leather to the leg vise jaw and adding a loose tongue and groove lower shelf but the bench is up and running and the leg vise works awesome. I was expecting a fair bit of initial “squeakiness” before wearing it in but the Danish oil and paste wax on the screw threads have it running smoothly already.

Apologies for the quality of the pictures but they give you an idea of how small my workspace is. Basically the workbench and my tool chest sit on some rubber mats about 8’x8′ in size and that’s my entire workspace. Also shown in the pictures is the gap stop in the raised position and the vise screw. If a project I’m working on needs more space I can temporarily move the car out of the garage, partially disassemble the bench tops, rotate it 90º and reassemble to give me extra room on both sides of the bench.

This project was a fun challenge and while there’s a few mistakes, it was a great learning exercise for a novice like me. Perhaps the biggest lesson learned though is that next time I should consider buying a portable thicknesser! Jointing 20+ large lengths of timber by hand is enjoyable, thicknessing them not so much 🙂

Big thanks to Lake Erie for making such wonderful vise screws. When it arrived I wasn’t sure whether to use it or put it on the shelf as a work of art it looked so amazing.

Big thanks as well to Will Myers (and Joshua Farnsworth) for creating the workbench DVD which I highly recommend and also to Will for taking time to answer some queries I had on the design.

Announcing the Lake Erie Toolworks ClampGAUGE Calculator – Simply Amazing!

When Lake Erie Toolworks launched our ClampGAUGE product earlier this year that allows you to take the guesswork out of panel glue-ups, we heard a lot of good things about this unique and innovative product.  To date, we’ve also sold a lot of these tools around the globe and have many very satisfied customers who use it to achieve the perfect clamping pressure when performing a panel glue-up.

T’he one thing that we did hear loud and clear from our customers was that the ClampGAUGE Chart that tells you how many and what type of ClampGAUGE tools to use and where to place them along the panel edge to ensure a solid panel glue-up was a bit intimidating to use.

We thought it was pretty straightforward, just pick the proper chart for your kit type (Apprentice, Journeyman or Master Kit) along with the board thickness you are gluing up.  Then read down and across the chart to find the panel length you are gluing up and it would tell you how many of each ClampGAUGE type to use (A, B or C) and where to place them along the panel edge. (See Picture here for an Apprentice Kit, 3/4″ thick x 44″ long panel Chart example).

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Well, you know what, our customers were spot on correct.  As easy as we thought the Charts were to use, there had to be an even simpler and easier way to identify the type and placement of the ClampGAUGEs for a glue-up.

Guess what – there is now.  Welcome to the ClampGAUGE Calculator!

You can access this simple Calculator software program via our website Install/Video section for the following platforms:

  • Windows PC – Available now
  • Apple MAC PC – Available now
  • Android for Google Phones & Tablets – Available from the Google Play Store now
  • iOS for iPhones & iPads – Available from the iPhone App Store very soon

Here’s what you do.  Simply download and install the Calculator on your PC, SmartPhone or Tablet (or all of them) and then run the Calculator to choose your Kit type, board thickness and length and then press the “Calculate” button.  The Calculator will then display the type and quantity of ClampGAUGE Tools that you will need along with the proper placement from the top edge of your glue-up (in either inches or metric).  It couldn’t get easier. Here’s a screenshot of the Android SmartPhone version of the Calculator to give you a look/see.

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The Charts will still be around for those that want to use it, but the Calculator is here to stay and we encourage you all to give it a try.  It’s easy, it’s intuitive and we really think you are all going to enjoy it.

Best regards,

Jeff Dombrowski – Lake Erie Toolworks

Tips For Gluing Up Flat Panels

Ernie Conover just released his latest gluing techniques video sponsored by Woodworkers Journal & Titebond Glue and he gives a solid & positive review of our Lake Erie Toolworks ClampGAUGE System.

Look at it this way, you spend many hours designing and building your woodworking masterpiece.  The last thing you want to do is to have a panel glue joint fail on you as it kind of defeats the purpose of all of those hours of sawing, dovetailing, mortise & tenoning, sanding and finishing.  Not a bad idea to take a few extra minutes to make sure that you are clamping your panels with the proper glue-up pressure to ensure the best glue-joint.

So if you want to take the guesswork out of glue-ups and achieve the strongest and longest lasting glue joint possible, take a look at our Lake Erie Toolworks ClampGAUGE System.

Note: We are about midway through the video.  Good stuff!

Lake Erie Toolworks, ClampGAUGE System, Panel Glue Ups

Best regards,

Lake Erie Toolworks

La Forge Royale Miter Jack Screw and Nut Kit Pre-Order – One More Chance To Jump Onboard

For everyone that wished they sprung for the pieces & parts to complete the amazing Benchcrafted La Forge Royale Miter Jack Vise which was powered by a Lake Erie Toolworks built wooden vise screw and nut, you have one more chance to catch the train before it leaves the station.

Lake Erie Toolworks is doing a limited production run of Miter Jack hard maple vise screws & threaded nut blocks to accommodate the Benchcrafted “La Forge Royale Miter Jack”.

The wooden vise screw and threaded nut block can be ordered through Lake Erie Toolworks directly via this link. Once it says “Out of Stock”, that means we have sold out of the pre-order.  We may have some extras but can only guarantee a Miter Jack Kit to those who pre-order.

The remaining metal vise parts will have to be purchased from Benchcrafted BEFORE ordering your vise screw and nut block from Lake Erie Toolworks to make sure that you have what you need in order to complete the Miter Jack Vise.

Domestic USA shipping is included in the price of the Vise Screw & Nut pre-order, while international shipping will be calculated individually and billed separately.

Note that this is a pre-order for these wooden vise kit components which are expected to be completed and ready for shipment from Lake Erie Toolworks by early June 2017.

Don’t miss the train this time so we encourage you to jump onboard before we leave the station, quite possibly for the last time on this particular vise.

Best regards,
Jeff Dombrowski – Lake Erie Toolworks

(All photos courtesy of Benchcrafted Blog and website.)

Lake Erie Toolworks, Wooden Vise Screw, La Forge Royale Vise

Lake Erie Toolworks, Wooden Vise Screw, La Forge Royale Vise

Lake Erie Toolworks, Wooden Vise Screw, La Forge Royale Vise

Lake Erie Toolworks Announces New ClampGAUGE System

Glue manufacturers have recommended clamping pressures for panel glue-ups which ensure the strongest and longest lasting glue joint. To date, only large woodworking businesses & furniture manufacturers could afford to invest in industrial clamping machines which ensure that proper board glue-up pressures were achieved. Now, with the new Lake Erie Toolworks ClampGAUGE System, all woodworkers can benefit from stronger and longer lasting panel and tabletop glue-ups.

This tool works as a flexible clamping caul,engineered so that when it bottoms out on panel glue-ups, the proper clamping pressure is achieved.  It’s rare when a totally new type of woodworking tool comes along and the ClampGAUGE System certainly hits this mark.

  • This patent pending Made in the USA tool is precision CNC machined of 6061-T6 aluminum barstock, hard coat anodized for durability, laser etched and comes with a lifetime warranty
  • ClampGAUGEs come in three different sizes for the most effective board clamping possible and they work in pairs, one on each side of the boards to be glued up and are inserted between the clamp jaws and the wood.  Each kit also includes a chart which tells the user which ClampGAUGE size combinations to use and where along the board to space them.
  • As you tighten the clamp, the ClampGAUGE flattens out and as soon as the middle of the tool bottoms out on the wood, you have achieved the proper clamping pressure to ensure the best glue joint possible. This tool also self adjusts to accommodate all wood species ranging from softwoods to hardwoods

Using this tool couldn’t be easier and they truly ‘Take the Guesswork Out of Glue-ups’.

You can also click here to see the ClampGAUGE System in use with our awareness and training videos.

Our existing customers already know about the extreme quality of our wooden vise products and the new ClampGAUGE System is no exception. So now’s your chance to take the guesswork out of your glue-ups and ensure the strongest and longest lasting glue joint possible on your woodworking masterpiece.

Best regards,
Jeff Dombrowski – Lake Erie Toolworks

Lake Erie Toolworks, ClampGAUGE System

New Lake Erie Toolworks International Distributor – Dictum

We would like to announce that Dictum has now joined the Lake Erie Toolworks family as our latest International distributor covering Germany, Austria and much of Europe.

The vise stock inventory has now been received in Germany and the Dictum catalog, stores and online website are ready to roll for a lot of happy woodworkers ready to get their workbenches underway.

Welcome aboard Dictum!

dictum-logo

 

Announcing our January 2017 Workbench Idea

We have another great workbench idea for a Split-Top Roubo workbench from Kim B. from Indian River, Michigan.  Kim just started getting into woodworking this past year and has built a tremendous workbench to help realize the many projects to come.  Fantastic job for a relatively new woodcrafter – keep up the great work.

Lake Erie Toolworks, Split-Top Roubo Workbench, Leg Vise, Wagon Vise, Wooden Vise

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Thanks for the great vises, I purchased the Bench Builder’s Bundle and am really happy with how they look and perform.

I am semi-retired and have just started getting into woodworking this past year. I have been particularly interested in learning how to use hand planes. As I was studying woodworking, workbenches, and hand plane use I came across Chris Schwarz’s book on Workbenches and was inspired by the Roubo he had outlined in his book.  I wanted to build that workbench but then I came across a split-top style that someone had online.  I really liked the utility of having a split-top then I found Benchcrafted sells drawings that are Roubo with a split-top.

Using their drawings I was able to easily incorporate your vises (Their drawings utilize their vises, obviously).

This my first project with rough lumber.  The bench is hard maple with the
Deadman,  Gap Stop, and Wagon Vise Dog Block made out of walnut.  I am very pleased with how the workbench came out considering my level of skill.  I made some errors along the way but nothing too drastic.  My bench is not as refined as all the other benches you have on display but I’m happy with how it looks and how great those vises work.  Now that the workbench is done I have some cabinets I need to build which will be much easier with the new workbench and vises.

The dimensions are 87″L x 24″W x 35″H at about 350# with one coat of BLO and Lacquer Thinner.  Two coats of wax on the threads polished.

Thanks again, Kim B. – Indian River, Michigan