In Part 1 of the workbench repair, I disassembled the wood screw tail vise, repaired the cracked bench tails, added a new through bolt, mounting plate and reassembled the tail vise. The next steps will include making the new tail vise top, installing it and chiseling out the bench dog holes. Below is a picture of the old tail vise top with a chunk of 6/4 hard maple stock for the new one. Its a pretty stick of maple with some nice rays.
After jointing one face and side it was off to the bandsaw for resawing the new top. Below is a picture of the resaw in action with the end result shown next to a jointed surface - pretty smooth right off the MM20.
In the original configuration of the tail vise the top also serves as a stop to prevent sag as the vise is extended. I thought an improvement was needed with a support under the guide arm. I decided to add a new corner block in the bench tray as well since it was missing.
With those new additions tackled it was on to fitting the new top, hand planing to final thickness to match the bench, and chiseling out the dog holes. The final results below and a clean bench top, which won't last long. It locks up tight and holds a work piece solid now. With some time the new vise top will be close in patina to the rest of it, probably when my son receives this bench.
I'm happy to have completed this project, it will certainly help in doing some solid woodworking, but it was really a bit of a trip down memory lane that I didn't expect fully. As I started to remove the vise, clean things up and bore some new holes in the bench, the wood released the smells of my Grandfathers basement trapped in its pours. It transported me to those great little moments of building projects with him that we would pick out of the Boy Mechanic volumes. It was really him and my father doing most of the work, but I could see them clearly in my mind and remember the smells of the wood, the basement and that great bench.
I will part with a final shot of the completed project in contrast to the old tail vise top, which will get tucked away in a safe spot. Until the next time.