Portable Workbench Build Process

Page 61


I started this morning by sanding the areas where there was evidence of glue squeeze-out and then giving everything a once over with some grey Scotchbrite before doing another coat of Danish Oil (including the dovetail guide this time).

Once that was done, there wasn't much more that could be done in the woodworking end of the garage, so I had a go at making some leather punches. I'm going to cover the entirety of the inside face of the moving jaws with leather and that means the leather needs holes for the various tubes and screws that go through the face. I didn't fancy my chances of manually cutting round holes, so I thought I'd have a go at home-made punches.

I decided I couldn't be bothered with the idea of hardening steel as they would only be used once. That meant that making the punches was quick and fairly simple - I put the stock in the chuck (I used an offcut of the tube for the tube holes and some bits of 303 that I'd got out of a skip for the others) and set the top-slide at 25°. I drilled a central hole (in the 303: the tube obviously didn't need one) to give access for the boring bar and then just hacked a bit out until it had a sharp edge.

After making a test punch and doing some trials, the test punch cut well on the first attempt but (being unhardened) got a bit mashed in the process and hence made a ragged cut on the second attempt. As the punches were taking me about 5 minutes to make per punch, I just decided to make seven of them (two are double-ended, hence it looking like there are only five!) - one punch per hole:

You can see the two test cuts I did on the scrap of leather in the bottom-left: the one on the right is the second cut with the punch and is much more ragged.

The 25 mm ones are double-ended (so I get four cuts out of the two punches) to save material, so I also turned the little block on the left that will give me something to hit without damaging the upper cutting edge. They'll be used for each end of the holes over the slotted bushes and I'll sort the edge out with a chisel. The two 30 mm ones made out of tube are very different lengths as I cut a small piece off, made it into a punch and then used what was left to make the second punch. These will be used for the rail holes. The big one is 50.8 mm (2") as I had a lump of 303 in that size (from a skip) and it'll give clearance for the 50 mm rotating bush that will sit in this hole.

The rest of today is probably going to be waiting for the Danish Oil to dry, so I'm going to get on with some motorcycle maintenance in the meantime!

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