New vice and hex legs

I’ve been having some time off making stock as people seem very unwilling to buy stock in January, and I’ve only just gotten started felling this year’s thinnings. I bought a vice screw some time ago, it’s this one.  I made a rather ineffectual tail vice with it and it was beginning to fall apart only months later (the vice that is, the screw was perfectly OK). But now after quite some gestation I have a new bench with a tail vice, that I’m rather pleased about: It really is green woodwork too, but looks rather too refined for the rough old workshop in t’woods.  I felled a decent-sized beech tree 2 years ago and it has been left in log since and is still rather green.  I’ve left all the bolts accessible so adjustments can be made as the drying progresses.  I expect there will be some planing to be done at least!  The bench top is 3 1/4 ” thick and mounted on tenoned quarter log legs with 1 1/2″ round tenons (thanks Veritas).  I put rungs across the short ends between the legs and then stacked a lot of wood on them to give some stability to the whole job.  It does seem pretty solid, and I was amazed when the vice actually worked second time (after I’d relieved the hole in the vice jaw that the screw goes through, and was binding/threading).  The finger joints are not particularly neat, but I think they are strong and glued and 3″ coach screwed as well: The vice runs in three (count ’em) runners, one running in a slot in the bench front. one in a slot in the bench end cap and a third one which is screwed to the bench underside runs in a saddle in the extension of the front jaw.  The bench end cap is bolted on as are all the vice screw parts and the bench front edge which I will be drilling dog holes in as required. I was reading Peter Folansbee’s post on his Welsh Stick chair project this morning and his previous post on this subject had inspired me to buy “Welsh Stick Chairs” by John Brown.  I’ve been putting off making a bow backed child’s chair for some time and I decided now was the time to make a Welsh stick chair version.  I like the style’s unfussy simplicity. Anyways, Peter is making his legs octagonal.  John Brown made his hexagonal (that’s 6-sided) – from square oak stock.  Well I started with ash log about 6″ diameter, cleaved it in 6, cleaned the sharpest edges off with the axe and got it on the horse (wayhey! the new dumbhead) I was going to use the draw knife to make it square, and then hesitated about what the next step would be … hum .. making it octagonal is easy – just take off all the corners of a square and you’ve got 8 sides.  6 is a different kettle of white-clawed cray fish.  So should I make two opposite sides into two sides each – yes that makes six, but then why would I make a two sides square and then knife them away – surely there’s a waste of time here, for four legs that means making eight sides square and then removing the work just done – doh!  OK I definitely need two opposite faces parallel, let’s take the inside and outside of the log: OK so now I need four more faces.  Hang on (thinks I), two of those existing faces look to have the correct angle already.  They are the faces from the original splits. Going back to grammar school geometry (loved it) the external angles of a regular figure (like a hexagon for instance) add up to 360 degrees and therefore the external angle to the bottom  (that is the now flatened centre) face is already 60 degrees,  Whoopee!  All I need do is put the two original split faces in turn down on the horse bed and cut the opposite surface parallel (well not really as the legs are tapered in their length as well). Turned out not too bad really: The light was going before I finished the last one of the larger rear pair.  Speaking of which there should be an improvement in the colour of these pictures when I install a white under tarp inside the green one which currently casts a horrible green tinge on everything.  Just need to source the said white tarp. The legs produced a host of business card material: Yesterday was a good day too, contractors turned up to take down the dead beech tree behind me that I’ve been having nightmares about, it made a hell of a crash when it came down: That’s only about half of it – it was around 3 foot at felling height.

It used to look like this (the tall one behind the workshop): Still plenty of water in the water meadows and a good sunset to boot.

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One thought on “New vice and hex legs

  1. That’s a superb bench and vice. I’m actually jealous of you. What a wonderful thing to have to use. I think it’s a new take on a traditional idea that could really catch on.

    Now…have I got any three inch beech plank to hand…

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