VOUBO

I love it- the guys at Veritas and Lee Valley come up with the absolute best ideas.

Each year they seem to outdo themselves.

The VOUBO, or “Vertically Orientated Utility Bench Offering”

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The perfect bench when you don’t have space for a traditional one (or want to make use of the extra accessibility to your project).

Check out their website for more detail.

One Workbench to Rule Them All

Thanks to Dennis for sharing this link with me. It doesn’t matter in the slightest that the entire video is in German- there are plenty of ideas to pinch from this video!

With a prolific use of Veritas, Incra and Festool, this is one versatile workbench. Check out the Festool storage system in the background too- neatly made. Tool and vice mounting, saw and router. All revolving around a single workbench, which makes a great option for a small workshop while maintaining the functionality of a larger one.

New Veritas Plane

If you have ever been tempted by a Veritas plane – the quality machining, the fine cut, the aesthetic look of polished metal and black finish but couldn’t afford the limited edition planes, then this may be the one for you.

It is a low angle block plane, and turns a curl exactly as you’d hope.

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I refer to a small selection of tools as being apron tools – those you live with in your shop apron, ready at a moment’s notice.  This plane is more of a pocket plane, but perhaps not quite for the reason you’d expect.  But you’ll see why I think that in a sec.

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Before going further, just check out the quality of the shavings, and the thinness. You can see the colours through even where it is, and if you held the shaving over a book, the text can be read easily.

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Not sure if I have ever used the word wispy on this site before, ever. 1 million words, and this the first use of wispy, but that is about the best description of these shavings.  If you drop one, it takes forever to hit the bench.

The other interesting thing about this plane, is you can get it into places where many others cannot reach, due to a relatively unique feature.  A picture tells a thousand words, so guess this next one is the best way to describe that feature.

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Heh – sorry.  Yes, it is a miniature of their block plane.  A perfectly functional miniature block plane.

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Part of the range of miniature planes from Veritas.  I have the shoulder plane as well – haven’t seen the edge plane or router plane before.  Would make a cool set.

The price of the block plane isn’t $300, or $500 – the pricing around their full sized versions.  This one will cost you around $55.  As seen at Carbatec.

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One Cut

Sick of sawing back and forth like crazy when cutting dovetails (or other short cuts)?

Check out this video of a Lie Nielsen “One Stroke” dovetail saw.  No doubt it was an April Fools joke, still funny as!

Chris Schwarz has found another use for it – gang-cutting dovetails.

The Sound of this Photograph

OK now, before we get started here I want you all to gather around there behind the bench. Like a family photo. We are going to gang-cut all the dovetails on all your tail boards with this one saw from Lie-Nielsen.

Yup. One cut. One and done. And you are going to be amazed.

Yup. Look amazed. Chris, drop your left hand there so we can see the saw in all its awesomeness.

Now remember folks this is amazing. Look amazed. Ready?

Chris Schwarz Gang Cut

Chris Schwarz Gang Cut

Reminds me of a few other tools created for the same task, such as this one from Veritas

Veritas Gang saw

Veritas Gang saw

Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane

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The Veritas Miniature Shoulder Plane is a stunning, tiny plane, that is still very functional (almost as an added bonus!) It is made from stainless steel, using the investment-cast process. It has a fixed mouth, with a machined sole and ground sides. A low 15° bed angle combined with the 25° blade bevel provides a 40° cutting angle.

The investment-cast process is a lost-wax casting process, where the original item is carved out of wax, from which a cast is made (and the wax is then melted out and “lost”). Into this mould, a ceramic copy is made. This is used to produce the future moulds, and is called the “investment”

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Does this make it a “palm plane”?

The plane is well designed, and can be used in catching and squaring up the small corners at the bottom of a dado.

Compared to a normal plane, it is significantly tiny!

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Available from Carbatec. You’ll have to ask for them at the counter – they are unlikely to be dumpred on the shelves – too small and desirable. Cost is around $35- not sure exactly.

And if you are thinking of joining the woodworking Mob, it makes for an essential fashion accessory 😉

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Getting Sorted, Adding Hardware

With a bit of a shuffle, and cleanup, the workspace is looking good.  The shed is tight, but having the dedicated work surface is invaluable, and is already being put to good use.

The stack of Festool has been moved to a more accessible location, and again the advantage of the boom arm is apparent – giving easy access to the hose and power from the Festool vac (thanks to autostart).

Relocation of the setting out tools makes them a lot more accessible.  The gas bottle is stored under the bench at the moment- as good a place as any (currently used most often for the branding iron).  Not sure what I’ll store on the shelf – at this stage the Kreg Pockethole jig is stored under there (in a Festool Systainer).  In the drawer under the bench are bench dogs and surface clamps.

The Veritas Bench Dogs (and Bench Pups) from Carbatec are a very nice add-on.  Being used here while hand planing (HNT Gordon Aussie Jack Plane on New Guinean Rosewood).

The dogs and pups set low (as low as you want them) sit below the edge of the board so as not to affect planing.

Veritas Bench Dog (left) and Pup (right). You need a thicker bench for the bench dog (than for the pup).  The pups are very functional.

The Veritas Surface Clamps are very quick and easy to install – drop them in the desired hole and tighten the knurled knob.  There is a shoulder that prevents the clamp holddown going any deeper than necessary.

Now to find some interesting projects to really commission the bench, and get my teeth into.

The Carbatec Bench

The final push, actually the easy bit – the bench assembly.  With the Veritas vice in place, the four legs are bolted to the underside of the bench, and the vice(s) fitted.  Because I had added the Veritas, I had a vice left over so added it to the back of the bench behind the drawer.  It only needed 3 holes to be drilled to fit it there, so no biggie.

The shelf is then bolted to the legs which provides a significant amount of rigidity.  The vices are then screwed down, and the drawer assembled and fitted.  Anyone who has ever bought anything from Ikea will have no problem putting that drawer together.  The entire bench assembly should only take about 30 minutes.  (Again, instruction manuals be damned).

The standard vice is a very simple animal- the two bolts at the rear of the guide bars are removed, then the base is unscrewed.  The front jaw added then the unit inserted through predrilled holes in the bench skirt. The rear bolts are tightened, and the base screwed to the underside of the bench.

This was then repeated for the other vice that I fitted at the rear of the bench.  No point letting one go to waste!

With all the vices and fittings in place, it was time to turn the unit over.  Bloody heavy thing – weighs in around 80kg.  Perhaps not as heavy as a full wood one, but enough.

The bench in position in its new home.  (fwiw, the rear vice looks high because it has the removable jaw extension added).

With the Veritas in prime position, and clamps all around, this bench is ready to work. I’m debating whether to put my metal working vice on the bench as well – may do, especially if I park the Festool Vac under the bench.  The benefit of having the boom arm!

The bench can move a bit when pushed on, but it is pretty good.  There is some spring in the legs (unavoidable), but the majority of the movement would come from the feet.  If you were serious about bench stability, I’d not use the feet and instead would bolt the bench to the floor, and/or use a bracket to secure the bench to a wall.

I still have some holes to drill in the Veritas Vice jaws, so I can add some bench dogs.  The plastic ones that came with the bench will probably go in the bin, and instead I have picked up some Veritas ones from Carbatec, which fit a standard 19mm hole.  These will be perfect on the Torque Workcentre as well, as soon as I drill the new matrix of holes for the Walko clamps.

I got a set of Veritas Bench Dogs for the bench, and a set of Veritas Bench Pups for the jaws. Will see if that is enough for my typical use, not that they are particularly expensive, and they have a great, heavy feel.  With some holes in the side of the jaws of the Veritas Twin Screw, it will also allow large sheets to be clamped vertically to the side of the bench as necessary.

I also found these Veritas Surface Clamps, which also fit into the same 19mm holes.  The knurled knob tightens the clamp into the hole, and the arm moves freely up and down the shaft until a load is applied when it then locks into the ridging on the shaft.  These too will be extremely useful on both the workbench, as well as on the Torque Workcentre.

So the whole thing has come together nicely.  A combination of an easily assembled bench (that I didn’t have to make), and some quality fittings to finish it off.

One day, this bench will allow me to follow the reasoning of Douglas Adams (and the Deep Thought computer – a computer designed by pan-dimensional, hyper-intelligent race of beings to answer the question of life, the universe and everything (42), and then to design the computer that could explain the question) and use it to build THE bench.  But not for a long time yet!  This bench will keep me out of trouble for a long time, and more than likely will only help me contruct another if I happen to acquire a much larger shed that would give me space for a second one!

Over the coming weekend, I’ll try to get some photos of the bench in action, particularly the Veritas Dogs and Pups (and Surface Clamps) and how they work with the vices to secure items down.

FWIW, the standard (unmodified!!) version of this workbench is expected to be seen on “Better Homes and Gardens” tonight (Friday 20 May 11) on channel 7 at 7:30pm when the Amazing Race teams appear and complete some building challenges.

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