Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bench Horse

What was intended to be the first of a pair of saw horses accidentally morphed into a small and portable bench. I've really enjoyed the evolution.

I've been trying to minimize my footprint as much as possible for reasons of budget and practicality (this was intended to be portable for use in Esprit Park). The first innovation was to leave one set of legs vertical to facilitate rip sawing. The unintended benefit has been that the legs provide an excellent clamping surface much like my old Roubo Bench.

The splayed back legs of the saw bench provide two benefits: stability and a foothold while planing.

In case anyone is wondering the casters do come off while I'm using the bench. So far it's working out really well to have the vise at one end and the planing stop at the other. I can just keep circling the bench as my tasks demand.

On a final design note: all materials except the vise and hardware were salvaged curbside in Potrero and Lower Haight. "The city provides."

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Step toward Freedom

My attempts to keep an inexpensive, smaller (and unplugged) tool collection has resulted in some frequent stumbling as I'd reach points in projects where I'd usually flip on the circular saw or router. I've learned to cope with an unplugged shop by adjusting my designs to suit the tools available, but there was one joint I was not willing to go without: grooves. In making doors and drawers a rabbeted panel was just too much compromise to bear.

I stumbled around the Internet and used tool stores in the Bay Area unable to find a grooving plane that met my needs and my budget. About two weeks ago I got the idea to grind out the middle of a block plane blade and create a two-fanged grooving plane. The result is below, and it works
amazingly well.

The design is a basic Krenov-style lamination with the bottom shaped to match the plane blade's "teeth". I made two "teeth" thinking I'd always be able to plane with the grain, but this was an unnecessary feature: tear out is minimal when cutting a groove against the grain. I think I'll grind one of the teeth down to 1/8" for smaller grooves, but for now I'm just looking forward to using my new tool.

One last thing, chip clearance is flawless. No need for a side escapement cut.

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Location:22nd St,San Francisco,United States