I did a little shopping around, since I needed a workbench machinist’s vise for my workbench – as I plan to start doing some light metalworking (hush hush secret project) in the near future. After looking at Harbor Freight’s poor showing for vise options (mostly due to poor quality), I found a suitable 4.5 inch vise made by Record (Irwin) at Home Depot for a very affordable price. It’s a light duty workbench vise, so it’s not going to be a heavily used item. Once I got it back to the shop, I dreaded drilling holes directly in the bench and permanently mounting it – so I came up with a mount for it so I can clamp it to the work surface without permanently affixing it. I also made a front apron on it so I can use a leg vise I’m planning for in the very near future. The surface of the mount is 3/16″ hardboard over 3/4″ plywood, with a skinny wrap of cherry for edging to make it look nicer on the bench. It should come in handy. I also ended up purchasing a set of magnetic soft jaws at Lowe’s made by Bessey (a popular clamp manufacturer), so I can clamp oddly shaped items.
From the pages of Shopnotes issue number 91, I built the tool tote. It is made from 1/4″ birch plywood and required only 1 2′ x 4′ sheet to do the project. I think the most tedious part is laying out all the holes and slots for the tabs to fit in. The whole tote is assembled without glue, and fits together like a nifty puzzle. I’m going to half the dimensions for all the parts and make one kid-sized for my son.
So I built a new router table. I got the plans from an issue of Shopnotes, and decided to make it with Sandeply due to cost reasons (1/2 birch is not readily available in my area). I made the deluxe version, with stand, drawers and a door. The only problem I came up against was the casework was a bit flimsy out of 1/2 plywood, and I decided to use nails instead of just glue as the plans called for. Then after assembling it, the case was still racking, so I added screws. Voila! It solved the racking issues.
I added extras including miter gauge track, t-track on the fence, I enlarged the bit opening to 2″ from 1 3/8″, added a power switch, and I plan on putting doors on the front of the router cabinet to enclose the router a bit further while in use.
Things still left to do are finishing with shellac (for durable finish), waxing the hardboard top, finding a nice grommet for the router power plug opening, and adding some leveling feet to the lower case.