The front slab is all laminated up and the end caps in place, the next step is to install the tail vise (which I describe building in this blog post). Installing the guide plate onto the slab requires a couple of extra steps. First, there is a bolt head protruding out the back of the plate to hold the nut for the vise screw, so we need to make a recess for this. Second, the rails protrude a little as they wrap themselves around the guide plate, so a channel needs to be cut out to allow them to move freely. Oh…and my bench isn’t thick enough, so I had to glue on another 3/4″ piece to allow me to screw the guide plate onto something.
With the tail vise assembled I can now finalize the endcaps on the front slab and install the half blind dovetailed front strip into the slab. I depart from what most people do for endcaps because I am wanting to build up a few more inched in length. I double up the end caps to achieve this. If I had thought it through a little more up front, I would have shopped around for longer boards to make up the front slab. In the end, this works fine for me and I don’t think there is any significant downside.