lucked out. I knew the cost of thick Hard Maple for a project
as large as a bench would be very expensive. I figured it
would take about 100 board feet of 8/4 at $4-5/foot (Seattle
prices). Ouch! One day over a year ago a woodworking friend
call up to say a cabinetmaker in the neighborhood was relocating
to the east coast and was having a garage sale. I went over
and saw a pile of finished 2" x 3.25" Hard Maple
salvaged from a downtown office remodel and bought all 180
linear feet of it for $50. Problem solved. I let it sit in
my shop for nearly a year to settle in and then began to think
more seriously about designing a new bench. The wood was already
very well aged and didn't move and after re-dimensioning a
bit for my needs it was all ready to go. In the end, the amount
I got worked out so perfectly and I ended up with just a single
4í board left over. I glued up the top with the edge
grain on top to minimize the effect of movement on the width
of the bench. Because the recycled material had screw holes
every couple of feet or so on the flat sides, all I had to
do is cover them up on the front and back of the bench was
add a new single new board. On other visible areas like the
base and end caps, I hid the screw holes with Maple plugs.
wanted to contrast the tail vise from the maple bench top,
and so, rather then make it out of Maple, I used Oregon Black
Walnut. Last year I picked up quite a bit of beautifully figured
material on a trip to Oregon, so I just picked out a nice
strongly colored piece to make the top cap and dog strip that
covers the vise's Maple core. By the way, I used Tom Nelson's
design for building an end vise as described in Scott Landis'The
Workbench Book. As pointed out in the article, carefully dimension
accordingly to fit your particular sliding plate hardware.
This is important. If you take your time, and work extremely
accurately, this approach works very well. It did for me.
tray floor and ramps are made out of 1/2" Birch plywood.
The bottom is set to float on elongated holes to allow for
top expansion. I would have preferred solid construction,
however, I was concerned about warping with such a long thin
piece, even glued up from strips, and stuck to the plywood.
Maybe I'll change it later. The back rail of the bench is
made out of two pieces of glued 5/4 Maple, one piece with
dado slots of various widths to make a tool holder for chisels,
screw drivers, saws, and whatever. Though I didn't intend
this as a permanent location for these tools, it comes
in very handy.