I will be at Woodworking in America this year to unveil the Raven’s Edge Toolworks product line. Check back here often between now and the show and perhaps there may be a sneak peek of one of the tools! Stop by my booth at WIA to give the tools a try and to say hi.
In one of Steve Latta’s many inlay DVDs, he discusses the design and construction of his inlay bench. I built mine to do federal inlay work, but I have found it to be a very useful bench for other tasks.
I picked up an 8/4 maple slab at my local hardwood dealer. The end of the board had a split in it. I elected to go for the extra bench length and leave it in and fill the crack with epoxy. I figured the end of the bench won’t see a lot of hard action and the crack is mostly cosmetic. I drilled a single row of dog holes down the centerline of the bench. I can use the dog holes with the metal dog on the Pony vise, with holdfasts, or with a Veritas Bench Pup.
Each pair of legs is constructed like an I-beam or an engineered joist. I had some 2×10 lumber kicking around and I ripped some 2x6s out of the clear sections of the board. I cut a dado down the center of each 2×6 to accept a 1″ thick OSB stair tread for the web of the beam. I glued the leg assemblies together. Once dry, I attached them to the slab with 3/8″ diameter dowels. I used six dowels per leg assembly, three in each 2×6. I notched the bottom of each leg to allow the inlay bench to be clamped to my main bench.
Like I said, I find this bench to be very useful for things besides inlay work. I can clamp my Moxon vise to the bench for sawing dovetails. It is higher than it should be, but I like that height for sawing dovetails. Then I take the vise off and clamp boards flat for chopping and paring dovetails.
I am active in the local woodworking club and I have taken the inlay bench to club meetings to demonstrate techniques. It is heavy, but it fits nicely in the back seat of the car. I can then clamp the bench to one of those white plastic tables. It isn’t ideal, but it is much easier than hauling a full sized bench around.
This is a fantastic little bench! Even if you don’t do inlay work, it is a very handy bench to have around.
I was collecting firewood from a construction site today. It was a pile of spruce logs with easy access. Pretty happy about the find. Then I found a birch tree in the pile, the best firewood in Alaska. Really happy at this point.
Then I noticed the log had a large crotch in it. The end grain of the log was competent and had a warm, rich color to it. I didn’t look close to see if it has any spalting or not. I cut the log to maximize the yield of crotch wood. Fingers crossed, I should be able to get several nice boards of flame/crotch birch. If not, then it can always go in the fireplace.
The log is big by Alaska birch standards. It is close to 18″ in diameter and I should be able to get a two-foot long board. It was HEAVY! I had to get creative loading it into the trailer.
Looks like I need to set up a trip to see Don F. to see what his lumber mill can do.
As an extra added bonus, after I bucked up the log, I rolled this piece away and it has a nice burl on it! It has some interesting character. The bark split while it was growing and exposed the wood underneath, which oxidized and turned black. I see a bowl in its future.
The only thing better than free firewood is discovering a couple woodworking projects in the pile. Good times.