Building woodworking and metalworking projects in the home shop, including patternmaking, casting and smithing.You'll also find plans and information articles and a sprinkling of woodland property and nature pictures.
I began playing around with ideas for this bench a couple of years ago. I researched many books and web articles on old time bench styles and some of the benches being made on the web today. I liked the old work holding vises, the double screw (Moxon) and leg vises, but I also liked the quick adjust more modern woodworking vise. I liked the idea of lots of different clamping options, for muscle powered tool woodworking and patternmaking and all the other uses workbenches are put to. I have a good collection of F and C clamps, the idea of wall mounted clamp racks never really appealed to me and my shop space is not suited to a mobile rack. I decided a clamp rack incorporated into the bench instead of cabinetry would be a good alternative and having lots of smaller clamps close at hand appealed to me. Eventually I settled on a design I was happy with. Just before starting the build I reduced the length from 84" to 78", after taking some measurements of the space available for comfortable work around the bench and shop.
This is a picture of the finished workbench minus a durable finish.
My working design sketch for the workbench.
For the full build document please click the link below.
As mentioned earlier I will try do an occasional upload of older PM Shop Notes plans and ideas. I have found browsing around the web that many of the plans and ideas around the web, passed of as "new", are really updated or modified versions of many of the ideas in the shop notes of old popular mechanics and popular science magazines. There are others ("Model Engineering" comes to mind) but these were the most prolific, for this type of information. Long before the recycle and reuse movement of today, these old plans and ideas often put alot of emphasis on the reuse and re-purposing of salvaged and worn out items to keep the costs of pursuing these interests low.
Today I put together a pdf of the first couple dozen pages of my 1950 PM Shop Notes compilation. There are some very interesting plans and info here for the workshop enthusiast.
The first is a great jig plan for a shaper sled. The second is a very complete article on vapor zone grinding including plans. For the wood machine purist the third is a massive 24" disk and oscillating spindle sander, completely made from plywood. For the metalworker with a vertical metal cutting bandsaw, there is a very good article on cutting complicated shapes that rival castings.You will also find a few other good ideas for around the shop.
Gustav Stickley was a very popular furniture builder in the early part of the last century and advocate of the Craftsman ("Arts and Crafts" style) movement of the time. From 1901 to 1916 he was the owner and editor of " The Craftsman" a very popular magazine of the time, Not only the Stickley style of furniture but also craftsmen home designs, sculpture, architecture and culture were covered, in the US and also in many countries around the world.
The magazines are all available for download in large volumes on the Internet Archive site. Buried in those volumes is a set of 30 articles he authored titled "Home Training In Cabinet Work". He does not offer much in the line of instruction but the pages offer many designs of basic Stickley furniture, his view point being that you learn best by getting your hands in there and doing it. He includes a good sprinkling of more advanced designs like a Morris chair and many rustic outdoor furniture plans.
The first article is longer at 17 pages as he introduces the series of articles and makes some interesting comments on craftsmanship. I will try to upload all 30 articles, 1 every Wednesday, in pdf format.
To download the first article click the link below.
Over the years I have slowly and inexpensively acquired some very close to dead machines, the Walker-Turner radial drill comes to mind, others not so bad. A number of my machines are still collecting rust waiting for a rebuild.
I got the Walker-Turner radial drill for scrap price, it had been collecting dust and rust for years in a corner of a former employers plant. It was a challenge to get it working again but it now runs great and the big T-slot table is great for large work.
Next is a variable speed Rockwell/Delta lathe. It was very rusty, 3 phase and the variable speed mechanism was broken. The repairs went great, It now runs a 1 hp single phase motor and the lathe runs like new.
As documented in the previous post a 15" Delta planer.
I rebuilt my big 20" General band saw last year. I got it at auction from a former employer, it had a badly conceived table extension welded on, a corner of the table was broken off and the frame was out of alignment. It all came together nicely and runs great. It still needs a paint match for a new paint job.
The next two pictures are a couple of re-purposed cheap Asian lathes, They vibrated too much and the motors didn't last. I turned one into a beefed up mini lathe, Runs great I use it all the time for short work.
I turned the second one into a face plate lathe, The whole machine rotates on the aluminum base plate for best access to the work piece, internal or external turning.
Many years ago a former employer upgraded there building management system from an outdated pneumatic system. Each building had it's own air receiver. I got 3 for the price of hauling them away. Since then I have used them to build 3 compressors for my shops.
The first is a small 3/4 hp unit for my outdoor equipment shed.
The second one is 1 1/2 hp and installed in my main heated workshop.
The third is a larger 3 hp unit, Puts out close to 14 cfpm and supplies my garage/workshop.
Now to the machines still waiting for my attention. First is this great metal lathe, a 10K South Bend. I have all the important parts needed for the rebuild and the ways are in great shape.
My most recent acquisition is this Startrite 8" metal bandsaw. I hope to get at this rebuild soon.
Buried in the dust of the next picture is a 8" Delta jointer. I got half done on the rebuild and got pulled away. One of these days I will get back to it.
And the last one (for now ☺) is a very old 20" General bandsaw that I picked up for scrap price, Its dismantled here but I have all the parts. The intention is to one day rebuild it as a modified geared down version for use as a vertical metal cutting saw.
So thats it I am pretty much caught up. I am in the middle of spring clean-up so my latest project, a large classic inspired workbench, is still waiting for its finishing coats of sealer. I will upload the build soon.
Last December I won a auction on a 15" Delta planer. I have a heavy 15" import nock-off out in my garage/workshop but the intention is to use it to plane the lumber from a planned bandsaw mill. The 15" Delta is a lighter smaller machine and the folding extension roller tables reduce its size considerably when not in use, perfect for my heated shop.
All cleaned up, shortly after I got it home. It looked good on the outside but after some investigation it was clear that for reliable operation a rebuild was in order. There goes January ☺.
In the picture below is the finished rebuild. Ready to go to work.
This is another long post so I created a separate page for the rebuild. Accessed at the link below.
While I was binding manuals today I decided to put together a rebuild manual for a Startrite bandsaw I won at auction back in February. Hopefully I will find the time to do the rebuild this year. I found all the parts diagrams for the saw and a complete set of pictures another builder had uploaded to sell his rebuild. I put together a 20 page manual which should be all the info. I need for my rebuild.
On the cover is a poor quality picture of my saw as it was when I picked it up.
Hopefully I will do the rebuild this year. I will do a full rebuild post then.
I love old tech. and workshop project manuals, preferably in paper bindings. Lindsay Publications was my favorite source for years. Unfortunately with the advent of computer downloads he is now out of business. I have a computer in my workshop and many gigabytes of this kind of subject matter on disc., but it is just not the same as a paper manual at your side on the workbench. Over the years I have worked out a quick and easy method of making durable paper manuals from my manuals on file.
It's a quick process, these 4 manuals took less than 2 hours from disc to ready to use. The file is first printed off in two sided duplex mode. Set a 3/4" binding offset for 8.5 X 11" and select full page coverage (great for us site challenged older folks). I use durable card stock for the front and back covers.
Carefully align the printed manual and staple the spine every 1 1/2" from both sides alternating each staple. For 22 or less double sided pages, a desk stapler will do. For larger manuals I use a shop stapler with 1/2" staples using a soft pine board as a backer.
After the manual is stapled I flatten the staples on a shop anvil I made from a broken salvaged vise. This compresses the paper stack and you can hardly feel the staples are there.
To finish up I put two offset layers of heavy duty "Gorilla" duct tape over the spine and trim the ends.
All done, the manuals are very durable for use around the shop and hold up better than the paperback copies available in the marketplace.
If you have been reading my blog, you have seen a few of these in my posts. Three legged pipe tool stands. In the marketplace a similar product is sold as bench grinder stands. They work great for that as well and I have yet to mount one of my grinders on one. I have found they work well for many other tools especially vises, they are very stable, easy to move around and if you need a more solid mount the feet are drilled to bolt down in selected locations.
I use 2" and 2 1/2" pipe mainly because one slides nicely inside the other but you can go larger or smaller depending on the application. Construction is all welded. As with most weld assemblies it is important for a good look to make sure all angles are set up right before tacking things down.
Dies and tools for my sheet metal former are all conveniently stored in a scrap aluminum container on the stand.
Wing nut on the vise stands locks a sliding fit to adjust the height of the vise.
The 3 legged stance is stable in any location and can be bolted down, were anchors are provided, for extra heavy work.
I am sure I will be making more of these as the need arises.
Well got woke up early this morning when the power went out briefly, looked outside 1" of fresh snow blowing around. Rather than go back to bed ended up spending the morning browsing through some of my shop files. I have a complete collection of Popular Mechanics magazines in paper and on disk, not so crazy about the post 2000 issues but I love the old stuff. I also have all the pre 1930 "Shop Notes" and some "What to Make" volumes. I have also compiled pdf's of all the "Shop Notes" in the issues from 1930 to the 1970's, some really interesting vintage plans and ideas in those files. I decided to scan a few pages readers here might find interesting.
The scan quality is not great but clear enough for most tinkerers to get the idea.
I will try to occasionally upload more of these great vintage jigs, plans and ideas.
Here is an old project I would be remiss not to include here. I built this 22 years ago with just hand power tools but it has held up beyond my expectations. A 12" wood cutting bandsaw, it has turned out to be one of the best tools I have ever built.
Over the years I have put countless feet of wood through this saw, even cutting small firewood and the only thing I have ever had to do to it is change the occasional dull blade. I now have a large 20" General but still prefer this one for small work.
Old as it is, I don't have build documentation. The design is loosely based on a plan I saw in an old Popular Mechanics magazine and is a relatively simple construction.
For the main frame I cut a template out of cardboard and used it to trace out and cut 5 laminations of 3/4" plywood, some with additions depending on where it was situated in the frame. The laminations were then glued and screwed to each other producing a very solid frame that will withstand much higher pressures than this saw will ever be subjected to.
The motor is a 1/2 hp sealed Leeson motor. It is housed in the sheet metal base, the two wood grills allow cooling air movement.
The adjustment handles are all discarded valve handles, except for the blade tension handle and screw which is from a scrapped X Y vise.
I didn't have a shop when this saw was built so the tension and tilt weldment and blade guide weldments were made in the shop at work.
The table tilts 45* on solid laminated plywood trunnions, clamped between the middle frame lamination and two steel plates bolted to the frame.
The upper and lower ball bearing blade guides. All are adjustable in oval mounting slots.
Lower blade guide.
Upper blade guide and guard.
I have it on casters to move around the shop and it has a good dust collection port.