One thing I notice while taking pics for my blog, is that there seems to be a growing gap around my antique leg vise and the bench top.
About 20 years ago I re-faced the vise chops and the faces have curved,
not getting a good grip anymore for sure.
When the bench was built. There was already a bit of a curve on the vise faces.
I was going to add a piece of leather to both faces of the vise, but I will have to flatten them first.
But first thing first, I need to investigate what is going on with the vise face and top.
Looking at my long 30 in joiner on the bench, I thought I saw a gap under it, sure enough, the top has developed an hollow were there was a bump before. Time to re-flatten the bench and go over all connections making sure everything is OK. Interestingly, the hollow has developed at the only place were the top was exposed by planing away the previous bump. The remainder of that Maple slab is still covered in a plastic like layer, varnish or poly? Whatever they used on bowling alleys.
Oh yeah, we have an hollow!
The top rest on two hardwood pins up front and is secured by two lag bolts in an oblong hole to allow wood movement toward the back. The bolts are roughly 2 third toward the back, the one on the quick release woodworking vise is a bit closer to the rear by necessity.
The connections are solid. the lap joints are glued and lag bolted
The vise (beech) is in line with both top and middle rails (Maple)
while the vise is buried into laminated construction 2X lumber (Fir)
On the LHS the vise stationary chop has pulled away more from the top.
In the rear back RH corner the bench top has curled up.
So obviously, I got some maintenance to do before I flatten the top again. You can see how to top has some grooving on the back side, it was a chunk from a bowling lane floor.
The front rails, top and bottom are chunk ripped of the Maple slab.
After machining flat coplanar with the top side, I still got a good 1-1/2 in thickness.
You can see the grooving pattern from the slab behind the rail
Apparently that grooving was in an effort to stabilize the slab and keep it flat. Well that fail!
Time to flip over the bench, take off the leg vise and make some corrections.
Only one rubber foot remain stuck, but it has slipped crooked. The frame is still very stiff, no play.
With the leg vise removed, I can assess the bench framing and can work the vise legs flat.
The leg vise boards have developed a big cup.
The top is curling up in the rear corner, no wonder there is an hollow.
The vise leg has shrunk away from the maple front skirt
Backed lag bolt, clamp closed and re-screwed.
Lots of gap between frame and top.
Loosen lag bolt, clamped and re-screwed. Will probably reinforce the top connections.
One lag bolt on each end doesn't suffice to keep it flat.
With the two leg separated, I can assess and work on the flat faces.
Must remember to account for the toe in.
Once done, I will re-flatten the top and make sure the leg vise chops are again made parallel to the top side rails.
Bob, who has a cleared top on his bench for a change.