Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Project Update: Okay, Not Quite Finished

In my last post, I said it was my next-to-last post about the Roubo-style workbench. Well, it turns out I may have exaggerated this claim. No, I'm not running for political office. While I was able to make some significant progress toward the finish line last night with the help of the inimitable Random Roger Green, I still have a couple of tasks to complete before I can put a stake in the heart of the monster.

Roger came to Tortuga Early Instruments Worldwide Headquarters last night to help me drill the holdfast and dog holes into the top of the bench. It turned out that I didn't have the proper tools to do this myself (imagine that), so Roger showing up with a plunge router and upcut bit with a routing template and a long auger bit was just what was needed - again.

The measurements for the holes are specific, but I won't bore you with the details. We started by placing the router template on the top and using the plunge router to get a good start on a straight hole.

Then, we finished each up with the Wood Owl auger bit.

In the photo below, you can see Roger measuring for the front side dog holes, which we placed 3" from the front and spaced 5" apart.

Based on a photo sent to me recently by Owen Daly of Owen Daly Early Keyboard Instruments, we also drilled some holes into the front edge of the bench.

When all were drilled, we chamfered each hole using a 45-degree router bit.

And...voila! A nearly completed bench!!

The only tasks left are to glue (3M contact cement) some leather to the contact sides of the holdfasts and leg vise parts and to finish the entire bench with something like a clear Watco Danish Oil. Speaking of leather, I did manage to hit the local craft store and pick up a bag of remnants.

This should work just fine for my purposes. I'll have both of these final tasks completed over the next couple of days.

I was also blessed last week with a visit from my son, Trey, who has a ton of woodworking experience from high school. He told me about a technique he used with some success in which he melted wax into a hole and scraped it off for final finishing. I encouraged him to go ahead and fill the many holes in the bench top.

This technique works great and is far less costly than epoxy. As with any bench top, I'll maintain it over time by planing it down and refinishing it. Until then, the wax should at least keep sawdust out of the holes and give me a nice, flat surface on which to finish the instrument.

Until next time...

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