With the Vice fitting finished, the next step was to add the central insert into the bench.

I already had the wood ready, all that was really needed was to cut it to size and remove the recesses that would allow the piece to sit flush with the bench top.

Bench complete with unprepared central insert

Bench complete with unprepared central insert

Initial Layout on the insert:

Insert with initial layout made

Insert with initial layout made

Bearer for the bench top that the insert needs to be able to accommodate to sit flush with the bench top.

Bearer for the bench top that the insert needs to be able to accommodate to sit flush with the bench top.

 

The insert with recesses laid out. The first time I get to use my vice in anger!

The insert with recesses laid out. The first time I get to use my vice in anger!

Removing the recesses to allow the insert to sit flush to the bench top:

Recesses cut and chiselled out - rough finish at this stage with fine adjustment left to do

Recesses cut and chiselled out – rough finish at this stage with fine adjustment left to do

The insert fits pretty well as it is, still a little fine tuning to do

The insert fits pretty well as it is, still a little fine tuning to do

 

The insert place in upside down to act as a planing stop

The insert in place, upside down, to act as a planing stop

With the insert prepared and the recesses completed, I decided to add a design change to the insert for ease of use. Rather than cutting the insert dead to length with the workbench, I would add a handle to one end to allow for easy removal.

Material removed to give the blank for the handle

Material removed to give the blank for the handle

Not wanting to over-complicate things, I decided to free-hand the handle shape and tweak it as I went.

Removing the excess with a coping saw

Removing the excess with a coping saw

Basic shape achieved, now to fine tune with a hand file and some sandpaper

Basic shape achieved, now to fine tune with a hand file and some sandpaper

Handle fine tuned to my liking

Handle fine tuned to my liking

Insert in the bench, with the handle added

Insert in the bench, with the handle added

After trimming the lower shoulder where the handle meets the insert, all that is left to do is apply a finish. I am looking to use Danish Oil again, applying three coats in order to make the insert a little more durable and give it some water resistance. While I don’t plan on spilling water onto either the bench or the insert, as an avid tea and coffee drinker, this feature really appeals to me when choosing a finish.

The next feature I will be looking to add will be a shelf between the leg frames of the bench to allow for temporary storage of tools and also the later option of adding small cabinet/drawer units underneath the bench top.

 

 

 

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