Well it has been a couple of weeks since the previous page and I have all but completed the workbench. You will see that I have changed my mind about the top. I got a piece of hardboard and cut it to size. Problem was, the more I looked at it on and then off of the bench, the more I admired the look of the sandply with its satin finish. I know it will get banged up and loose some of its beauty, but it will gain a different kind of beauty ...character! The apron is on. I cut a 9 1/2"  maple board into 3 sections just under 3". I added glue and finish nailed them to the sides of the top. The maple is absolutely beautiful. Just a little bit of quilting to give it character. I had seen so many vanilla flavored maple cabinets and floors that I didn't think much of it. Maybe they were fake or just because of the mass production they didn't have much character. But these maple board really look good and have given me a new appreciation for maple.

 

I took the hard corners off of the back edges of the beech on the vise. I figured it might save a word or two later when I eventually bump into it. I left the front (clamp) side with the sharp corners so that I get precise contact when clamping. I plan to add dog holes at a later time. Probably a double row just a little wider that the blue part of the vice. This will allow me to clamp large pieces of stock to work on. You can barely see in this picture, but I decided to put my tool tray under the bench. Since I would like to build a dining table later, I decided to practice on this piece for the experience of joining panels. It is 24" wide by 63" long. I used 5 pieces of cypress that were 64" long by 5 1/4" wide. I used biscuits to aid in the alignment.  After I glued and clamped the panel, I used a scraper to clean up and smooth the surface. Then I cut the ends square and even on the table saw. (No easy task.) After that I ripped the panel to 24", this was much easier than the crosscuts. Since it is not glued or attached in any way, I added some scrap cypress as cross members on the underside to keep it from bowing. I put a little more poly on this panel than the rest of the cypress. Once again, another area to gain some more experience in. All in all, I think the panel turned out very nicely and I gained a lot of confidence in the process. One thing I learned though, you can never have enough clamps.

Here is a wider shot of the bench. You may notice that it does not have a stretcher on the front. Right now, I can roll my shop-vac under it. Later I will make some storage cabinets on wheels to fit under. They will also serve another purpose that I am still flexible and undecided about. To the left you can see my table saw. This is a Ridgid 3612. I put some of the scraps from the hardboard into the webbing of the extension tables to hold things I set down. (like the tape measure.)  Almost every tool in the shop has wheels. It doesn't take to long to set up or break down the shop and roll everything back. It would be nice to have some more space, but I am quite content to be blessed with what I have.