Thursday, February 17, 2011

I wanna tell you a story 4

With the vice all apparently working, the unskilled labour was drafted in to help me flip the thing over so I could flatten the top. After all the bumps and dings the top got during this whole process, I'm glad I decided to leave the refinishing 'til the end. The Emmert's hinge mounting plate was deliberately set slightly below the bench surface to facilitate that, and it worked fine.

The Millers Falls jack and Veritas bevel-up jointer did the necessary, with the 3x2 now drafted in to act as a lateral stop. Unfortunately I had no means of stopping it walking lengthways across the workshop as I planed, so I was pretty much pulling it back into position after every stroke. All jolly good fun and reminder, if reminder was needed, why a workbench that doesn't move is so essential for successful planing.

Couple of coats of finishing oil later, and it's like having a brand new bench. Cool.

The unskilled labour was called upon again and the top was lifted back in place. Oh happy day! Vice (or vise) reassembled and proving what I'd suspected all along - it would have looked bloody ridiculous on a 5ft long bench.

And the obligatory Emmert rotate 'n' tilt shot.

But I wasn't finished there, reader; there was the tool tray to fill in. Some laminate flooring filled that need admirably - I told you it was going to be shallow.

While I was at it, it seemed a shame not to make a better job of the shelf below as well. I even went so far as to swap round my available plastic boxes so I had a matched set of three at last.

Then I lined the jaws; starting out with leather in mind, but the price almost makes wood look like it grows on trees, so I ditched that idea and went for cork instead. This stuff is sold to the model railway layout fraternity and is 1/8" thick.

Now you're probably gathering up the breath to say "But Alf, is it wise to glue it to the cast 'arn? What about if you ever get the tilting jaw insert thingy? How will you fit it?" Step forward Dave Anderson, who's pearl of wisdom I culled from Sawmill Creek during my reading of all things Emmert - self-adhesive flexible magnetic sheet. Make the liner in two halves and you can pop it off and on as occasion demands. Brilliant.

As I had the cork out, I lined the jaws of the tail vice too; something I've been meaning to do for ages.

Behold; all looking worryingly smart.

You see how it looks like the floor's sloping fairly drastically from left to right in that photo? That's because the floor slopes fairly drastically from left to right. This may be why I can't decide what height of bench I like; it depends on which end of it I'm standing at... I do know that for a while it felt amazingly tall having go used to it down at saw horse level.

Anyway, it looking all fancy like that was a bit unnerving, but luckily, by the time I'd loaded up the shelf with the bench-on-bench, the bench hooks, the shooting boards, etc, it was much more normal. I dallied with making some new bench dogs, but decided a bit of familiarity would be nice to retain.

I may yet have to move things about a little, in case there's not enough room for the vice's beam to swing when it tilts, but that's not a problem.

But we're still not done really, although you're now as up to date with things as I am. I really would like to make some improvements to holding work on the front of the bench, and I think another holdfast hole or two might be a Good Thing.

Oh, and I've got to put all the tools back. Which reminds me, tools used...

What? If you think I'm listing that lot, you must reckon I'm crazy. Crazier than chopping a big hole in my bench, that is...


  1. Nice! Good going Alf, that looks really good, in the whole and in detail. Should become a well appreciated source of reference from now on, thanks for documenting so well! I'm weeks away from picking up a similar bench, who knows I might stumble upon an Emmert some day.

    Enjoy! Bob

  2. A first class job Alf! it looks really great.

    Now all we need of course is a WIP report of something you make that needs the vice's capabilities.. :)


  3. Everything looks magnificent, Alf, but with such thin jaw linings, isn't the Emmert in danger of being chewed up by the odd slip with a saw or chisel? Not to mention the dire damage that a beefy chunk of metal like an Emmert will do to your beautiful old tools, should contact between the two occur.


  4. Well done Alf,"she who dares,wins".

  5. Looks great, Alf. A cracking job and a cracking documentary.

    Cheers ;-)

    Paul Chapman

  6. Does look great, and much easier/cheaper than making a new bench....I will, reluctantly admit. Would have been nice to see you make a new bench though. Well done nonetheless, it looked like quite a tricky fit.

  7. Hey there, I was curious how the emmert has worked out mounted this way. I was about to embark on a workbench build around an emmert no 2 and was debating mounting it on the end, vs. the side of the bench.

  8. Adam, would that I had actually spent any time using it in order to find out - the w'shop and I are virtual strangers. The limited use it's had as a regular face vice has been fine though, for whatever that's worth.


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