Just posted a quick Lake Erie Toolworks Wooden Vise Highlights video on our website home page. If you have a minute to spare take a look / see. I suspect you might even like the ‘bluesy’ music the video is cut with. Enjoy!
If you get a chance to read the latest June 2018 issue of Woodworker’s Journal Magazine check out the “What’s In Store” section of the magazine on Page 66 for some more detail on our Lake Erie Toolworks ClampGAUGE Tool. If you ever wanted to take the guesswork out of glue-ups, this tool is the ticket.
Photo courtesy of “Woodworker’s Journal”
Our latest Lake Erie Toolworks Worbench Idea comes to us from Michael H. who hails from the town of Westford in the Green Mountain State of Vermont. Michael has built a multi-functional dream of a workbench that serves as a workbench, router table, saw out-feed table, layout, assembly and edge joining table. Now try saying that again three times real fast. She’s a beauty and we know you’ll all appreciate this latest Workbench Idea.
This project started with the purchase of a new SawStop Table saw and when I discovered my very old outfeed table was the wrong height and the miter guides were the wrong width. I wanted something much sturdier than my old table; I wanted to make better use of the space beneath the table (cabinet to follow), and I wanted a leg vice to compliment the shoulder and end vice on my 35+ year old (and also needing to be replaced) workbench.
A lot of my work is frame and panel so I am often ripping rails & stiles and wanting to re-joint between passes on the table saw. I reasoned that I could throw a board into a leg vice and run a jack plane over it faster than I could go to the dust collector, open and close blast gates, go to the jointer, run the piece and then retrace my steps.
So, I thought, while I’m at it why not build in a new, more versatile, better dust collecting router set up. So now I have this bench – an outfeed table, an assembly table, and edge jointing table, and super-duper router set-up. The design started with the Benchcraftted Classic bench design. I made it 4” wider, spread the legs to accommodate the router and eventual storage cabinet. Then I added a bridge piece between the bench and the saw to span across the bottom dust collection hose and give myself 48” behind the saw blade.
The bench is made almost entirely from 8/4 poplar. After I got the top together I discovered I had managed to turn the thing around and had framed in the router opening on the wrong end (mistake #1), so I ripped it apart and re-glued it, but in my haste lost control of the process and had no way to flatten it (mistake #2) so I ripped it apart and re-glued it, again. Three times a charm, except then it wasn’t as wide as I wanted and I was out of poplar. I found a piece of cherry that had been living in my shop for a long, long time and it became eye candy trim. The bench plans called for cutting the mortises in the top and then fitting the base to it. This required getting all 12 mortise & tenon joints in three dimensions all to come together at once. I was amazed when it happened! In a do over I’d build the base and then transfer markings to the top. I also took the directions to make the holes in the leg & chop 2 9/16″ too literally. This left only 1/32” of clearance on the radius and made the installation quite demanding. In a do over I’d go to 2 3/4. I haven’t yet figured out where I want the holes in the deadman, so haven’t drilled them.
Unlike a “real” work bench I wanted this to be slippery, so I finished it with three coats of good tung oil and then waxed it. I only leather lined the chop, not the leg. The casters are from Woodcraft and settle onto a firm base. They provide leveling and easily screw up to a wheel when movement is necessary.
Thanks for reading. Michael H. – Westford, VT
Here’s a great way to start out the new year with a workbench idea featuring a retrofit Shoulder Vise added to a 24 year old workbench by Jesse H. from Kingsport, Tennessee. Jesse also built an amazing chest using the shoulder vise. As he says below, the proof is in the pudding. Enjoy!
This past summer I had purchased a shoulder vise screw from you guys and using your detailed instructions (I did dovetail the nut to the arm instead of using lag bolts, but I am sure the lag bolts would have worked just as well), I retrofitted a shoulder vise on my existing bench, which has been through several metamorphoses through its 24 year life!
I had always just dealt with my front vise racking and slipping. I had kept blocks on my bench to keep the vise from racking and there was always a bunch of fiddling. Lots of times I was trying to saw and hold the work with the other hand so the stock wouldn’t slide around in the vise.
Not so with my shoulder vise! The screw is smooth as silk, and the slightest turn will release or grab the stock. My bench is not much to look at….I believe in building furniture, not a shop. But the “proof is in the pudding”…in this case in the using. I built the chest of drawers in the pictures using the shoulder vise for all the joinery. Cutting dovetails and tenons was a joy! Great work guys! ….and for me, money well spent!
Here are some pictures of my old bench, retrofitted with the Lake Erie shoulder vise…and as you see in the pictures, no leg under the shoulder vise. So far, no problems from the absence of the leg. Now, it may seem like a little thing, but even though I didn’t replace my rigged-up wagon vise when I installed the shoulder vise, I did order an extra handle….love the handles!
Jesse H. – Kingsport, TN