The Ultimate Workbench – Part 2

This is a continuation of my progress on my new hard maple workbench I am making, with my SawStop PCS table saw, using a jointer and planer for the first time. This is a Roubo style workbench, based on the book Workbenches Revised Edition: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use and The Workbench Design Book: The Art & Philosophy of Building Better Benches both by Chris Schwarz. I read both of these books and then decided what parts to include or change for my workbench.

I have now glued up one leg, and have a video of me gluing up the first top section, which is 4 boards wide, or about 7 1/4″ wide, which will still go through my jointer one more time before I glue up the larger sections into the entire top.

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The Ultimate Work Bench – Part 1

I haven’t done a lot of woodworking in my life, and most of what I did wasn’t much to be proud of.  In 2011, I changed when I made a wooden clock from plans, cutting out gear teeth with a scroll saw.  It’s the first project I ever decided to do the ultimate great job on, and I think it turned out pretty nice. I got a new SawStop table saw recently, and decided the first project should be a new work bench.  I got the Christopher Schwarz book Workbenches Revised Edition: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use and read through it trying to figure out what kind of bench I wanted.  I did find out my current workbenches, built many years ago are “kitchen cabinet” type of workbench, a work surface, and storage underneath, but little opportunity to clamp your work to it to work on it.

This series of articles has companion YouTube videos you can watch, starting with the one for this article. Please subscribe and Like the YouTube video, and you can follow along with the project until it is complete.

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Link Belt vs. a V Belt for Shop Tools

This article has additional information to supplement my YouTube video. My jointer had a bad vibration when powering it down.  When I researched the issue, I saw people saying it was the V Belt, and to use a link belt instead.  I didn’t know what a link belt was, but a little more research and I had it figured out. They also say the vibrations are bad for your bearings, and my vibration shook like crazy, I wouldn’t be surprised if it tore up the bearings very quickly.  My jointer is used (new to me), however, the guy had it for ten years, and never used it.  So essentially new.  The problem with V Belts is when they sit for a long period, the shape gets retained.  If you remove the belt from the jointer, you will see exactly where the small and large pulleys were. I could have bought a new V belt, but the long period of time seemed relative when people talked about it, a few weeks may be enough to set a memory in the belt and start vibrating.  I’m sure it won’t be long before I don’t use the jointer for a few weeks.

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Feather boards

This is an addendum to my YouTube video showing the feather boards.  I’m adding a few more details here that I forgot to mention in the video, in case you are interested in making a feather board.  In my future videos, I’ll try to start showing some of the actual process of making the projects, which will be a bit weird for me, filming while cutting wood. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’d like to see these projects.

The standard feather board is 3 – 1/2″ wide, cut on a 60 degree angle, each finger is 1/8″ wide, with the 1/8″ saw cut.  This seemed to give the right amount of stiffness to each finger.  Each finger is 3 and 1/4″ long. The entire board is 8 1/2″ long.   The slots are 3 –  1/4″ long each.  I used 3″ 1/4 – 20 bolts with a countersink head.

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Byrd Tool Shelix head review for jointer

I got a used Grizzly jointer, the G1182.  I thought this would be a nice upgrade to my newer, but smaller bench jointer that has an aluminum 30″ table.  The Grizzly, while older, is cast iron with a 46″ table.

While checking it out after I got home, I noticed the blades were not set very well, up to 15 thousandths off.  I got to work setting those, and quickly found out the difference between having some sort of quick set knife system, like I have on the bench jointer, and not having that.  On the bench jointer, I was able to set the two blades to within one thousandth of an inch.  It didn’t take long, pretty simple with the extra set of screws that would raise and lower the blade.  The Grizzly jointer doesn’t have these extra screws, they only have the bolts that tighten the gib, and no way to really raise or lower the blades, other than when it is loose.  I tried and tried, and it was very frustrating.  The blades would normally be off between 10 and 15 thousandths.  It didn’t matter what tool I used to set the blades, because as soon as I tightened the bolts, the blade would move way too much.  I was using the Oneway Multi Gauge to measure the blade heights.  The Oneway Multi Gauge is what allowed me to easily set the bench jointer blades to within one thousandth of an inch.  You won’t need this if you get the Byrd Shelix head, as you don’t have to set the blades.  Although you could use it to set the height of the outfeed table.  I spend over an hour and a half trying to set one blade in level, and wasn’t able to come close.  How I’d ever get the other two blades level and matching the height of that one I don’t know.  People have been using the system without the easy set system, so I’m sure somehow it must be possible.  Perhaps they never get them set that close though.

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SawStop PCS saw with Bench Dog Pro Max router table

When I bought my SawStop PCS 3hp saw, I immediately got the Bench Dog Pro Max 40-102 router table for it.  Since this piece is smaller than the SawStop extension piece, I also got an extra SawStop cast iron piece to fit with it.  The extra cast iron piece puts the router miter slots beyond the end of the 36″ rails, so I can slide pieces in and out of the miter slots easily.  If you have the 52″ rails, you will need to figure out how you want to fill the empty space that gets made when you remove the extension table.

If you haven’t seen my YouTube video of this, you can view it here. All the rest of the links here are to Amazon, showing you what parts I got.  I have a complete parts list at the bottom of this article.

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