Plan D Haslucks Bench

Paul Nooncree Hasluck seems to have been the most prolific how-to writer of the last century. You'll find under his name books on making clocks, violins, picture frames, saddles, and motorcycles, to name a few; volumes on working with metal, glass, cordage, bamboo, and wood; and works devoted to photography and rustic carpentry. Born in 1854, by the beginning of the twentieth century Hasluck was editing several how-to magazines and compiling the reader contributions into the many books that bear his name.

I very much like this knock-down workbench from Hasluck's Handyman's Book. It's sturdy but easily knocks apart for moving. The vises are simple but can clamp wood both in their jaws and on the bench top. Unlike the Roubo-style bench, this one is constructed like a table. The top is separate and drops down onto the base. The top may be only two inches thick, but it derives some stiffening from the skirt dovetailed around it.

The best wood will make the best bench, but lacking beech, birch, or maple, don't hesitate to make this design in hard pine or oak. I use one with a white oak top, front, and vises. The rest of the wood is red oak, except for the tulip poplar legs. It is rougher than I might like, but it's still a workhorse.

Level the top with the heart of the tree facing upward. True the face side, edges, and ends, but leave the under face rough—it only needs to sit level where it rests on the base. Removing any more wood than that from the underside only makes the top thinner and weaker.

Roubo Style Workbench
2" x 5 1/2" x 24"

Just as in the Roubo bench, the skirt framing the tool well hangs on tongues left on the end grain of the thick top. The bottom of the tool well sits in grooves plowed around the inside of the skirt and in the back of the heavy top. In the Roubo-style bench, the bottom of the tool well just sticks out in space. Here, the tool well bottom sits on the top rail of the base, adding stability.

Make the skirt about three times as wide as the top plank is thick. This will give room for the vise screws and the vise arms to fit flush underneath the top. The dovetails joining the corners of the skirt are the same as any other—just larger. The negative spaces are big enough that an auger can help you remove much of the waste. Saw the sides of the sockets down the grain and then bore through the "root" with a brace and bit, leaving just a little wood to take off with the chisel.

This bench can hold a board laid flat on the top, pinched between a peg set in the top of the end vise and a dog set into one of the holes in the front skirt board. These holes are just gently angled dados sawn and chiseled across the back side of the front skirt. The angle of the holes causes the working dog to dig deeper under pressure. You probably don't want to sacrifice any width of either the top or the front by planing a tongue onto one of them to fit into a groove in the other. Pegs, splines, or screws can join the two without losing any width.

Hasluck writes that the double mortise and tenons on the vise jaws and the arms are "troublesome to make" but worth it for the added strength. I agree on both counts. Only the vise on the front needs tracks for the arm, screwed on

the underside of the top. The arm of the end vise passes through a notch cut into the top rail of the base, giving it plenty of stability. The vises use 1 1/4-inch tail vise screws and are the same ones used when making a leg vise. When the bench top drops down on the base, the top rail of the left-hand frame fits snugly between the vise track and the nut for the screw.

The base is two simple frames joined by long stretchers, all mortise-and-tenoned together. I had intended to use poplar legs only until I could cut some proper oak ones, but the poplar does just fine. You can certainly join the top to the base with screws set through the front and back skirts, but this makes moving the bench more difficult. One person can carry the top by itself (with the vises removed)—but if you connect the top to the legs, you'll need help. The fully assembled base is plenty light enough to carry, but can quickly break down further for packing if you unwedge the long rails. These wedged dovetail tenons are remarkable. Slip the half-dovetailed tenon into the mortise and drive home the tapered wedge to make a complete dovetail and an absolutely stiff connection. It's worth making this bench just to have this joint to admire every time you tap it up.

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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