As I get older, my eyes get weaker. My eyes got weaker many years ago from sitting behind the screen too much. Because of poor eyesight, I now need a light to see the line, especially when cutting dovetails. I had a look online for those workshop bench lights and they weren’t what I wanted because they had a magnify glass on it which is useful for scroll sawing. Basically, no one had what I wanted, so I turned to my friend Matt McGrane and he had the answer. Btw Matt has an excellent blog that’s worth checking out. Woodworking in a Tiny Shop
He made one and noted it in his blog, which he sent me through the link and I unfortunately lost it. He sent me all the dimensions I needed to build the stand. After doing so, it is ideal for my shop and I can see the lines again. I thought this project is too good not to share it with you, so I’ve drawn it up and posted it in the free plans section. Click here to take you there. I combined all the pdf files into one file and as a bonus I’ve included as a separate download a 3d PDF. Since I don’t use SketchUp my files would be useless to you unless you use Autodesk Inventor Professional. This 3d PDF is the next best thing as you can view the file, rotate it, zoom in, measure without needing to have the 3d application that I use. How brilliant is that?
With that out of the way, let’s dive a little into the project. I added feet to the base which I omitted in the drawings because I didn’t plan on using feet. However, the base started to cup and made the whole thing unstable. After planing the cup out, I added some feet, and she’s been stable since.
The bolts and four-star knob I used are from that accessories package I bought 10 years or more so ago.
It’s really come in handy a few times. Since they targeted this more towards machine users for jig making, my box is still full. I think it’s safe to say it will outlive me. I want you to note that I used a T-bolt for the arm, Matt used a regular hex bolt which he recessed into the main body. As it turned out, the T-bolt holds good and tight. I didn’t need to recess it at all.
The metal plate I used is left over O1 tool steel from when I was making the irons for the moulding planes. In the photo it appears as one, but in fact they are two pieces of steel that I edge glued together and then glued and screwed to the base. I used fish glue from Lee Valley, which is made from Cod. I did a long write up on fish glue some time ago on how it’s made, it’s strength and that our predecessors used it to glue metal to wood. If it worked for them, I’m sure it would work for me and it did. The only reason I used screws was because I didn’t have any clamps long enough to clamp. So the screws only served as a temporary clamping method. Once the glue cured, I removed the screws and tried to pry the metal from the wood. I failed and nearly tore my finger nail right off. I wasn’t going to to stick a screwdriver in and bash it apart, but one of these days I’ll give that a go. People rely on epoxy and the overly expensive Loctite to glue metal to wood because A:) they don’t know about fish glue and B:) the fear of God has been placed into people’s hearts that only their products work and “do you really want to risk using ancient methods.” Well, I’m here to tell you that ancient methods work and brass pieces glued to wood on clocks and furniture are still around and intact despite how many hundreds of years they‘re old.
Ok I think I covered the important facts the rest is straightforward. The build is simple and if there is something in the build that you don’t understand, just open the 3d pdf file and things should click immediately for you. If it doesn’t, I’m just an email away.