After the clamping together the leg frames and aprons, the next step was to add the bench tops and see how everything would line up.

Dry Assembly + Bench Tops

Dry Assembly + Bench Tops

It was at this point that my heart sank and I had to take a deep breath……… The central channel between the the two bench tops was not a uniform width along the length of the bench!!

I had a gap of 3/4″ at one end, running to 7/8″ at the other. So it was time to start planing again! This was a little disheartening as I had hoped to have the primary assembly finished much sooner than it was going to be.

After planing one half of the bench top so that I had a uniform gap, the next step was hard assembly of the leg frames and aprons.

How the Aprons are fixed to the leg frames. Coach Screw at the top and Dome Head bolt at the bottom.

How the Aprons are fixed to the leg frames. Coach Screw at the top and Dome Head bolt at the bottom.

For the coach screws I went for 3″ M8 screws to affix the Aprons to the legs. At one end of the bench, two coach screws are used for each leg and at the other end a coach screw and a dome head bolt is used. This is down the to construction of one of the leg frames so that it can accept a tail vice.

The dome head bolts were 6″ M8, allowing enough meat of the bolt to protude on the inside of the leg to secure the nut (maybe 5 1/2″ would have been enough, but at the time of buying, I didn’t want to take any chances).

Photo of one of the leg frames showing the dome head bolts once fitted.

Photo of one of the leg frames showing the dome head bolts once fitted.

In retrospect, I would probably have kept both ends the same as I doubt I will be installing a tail vice at the moment, however, it does give me the option to do so at a later date.

As a side note, I am not sure how my boring with a brace an bit was so off (you can tell from the angles the bolts come out at), but i put it down as a chalk on the “experience board”.

After bolting the aprons to legs, the next step was to look at gluing in and fixing the bench tops into place.

The first bench top went in no problem at all:

The first bench top glued and clamped (after some last minute planing)

The first bench top glued and clamped (after some last minute planing)

Leave the glue to set overnight then come back to remove the clamps. Then take a step back and think: “How on Earth am I going to clamp the next bench top in place?!?!”

It was only now that it occurred to me that there was a design flaw in the bench. As the aprons sit on the outside of the bench tops, you have to clamp horizontally. If the bench tops sat above the aprons (like Bob Rozaieski’s Design) then you can clamp vertically to secure them in place.

As it turned out, I was able to squeeze my clamps into the central gap and secure the second bench top in place. Albeit at the cost of leaving imprint marks on the inside face of the second bench top. I know in retrospect there would have been better alternatives to this, but I wanted the glue up finished in one weekend rather than having to mess around.

Clamps squeezed in......... JUST

Clamps squeezed in……… JUST

Again, leave overnight and remove the clamps in the morning.

I should add that I again used Titebond Original for all glue up during the assembly. I really can’t say enough positive things about that stuff! (I may try in a later blog post).

Once the clamps were removed, the next step was to trim off from the end of the bench to get everything aligned properly.

Crappy picture I know, but you get the idea (I hope)

Crappy picture I know, but you get the idea (I hope)

After trimming the end of the bench (around 1/2″ off) and having a bit of a rest, I turned my attention to the central insert, making sure the gap and the insert gave for a snug fit.

Central Insert nice and snug

Central Insert nice and snug

My next step was to make the initial preparations for fitting the vice, then apply a finish, and then look to actually fitting the vice.

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