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.
The first two pictures show the exploded and “almost” assembled end cap for the tail vise recess. The half blind dovetails for the front strip are on both ends. This was my second try at half blind dovetails. The first being in the tail vise itself. I’m not going to pretend they are air tight but I am pretty happy with them. I have since but some thin wedges into the bigger gaps and a touch of glue and sawdust cleaned up the rest.
The end cap for the recess sits on a tenon and is bolted into place with the dovetails keeping the front edge nice and stable. I have glued them in place and have no intent of removing them at a later date.
The other end of the slab also got a tenon and an end cap, but to build up an extra couple of inches in length I put the dovetailed end cap on the end of that and glued and bolted them all onto the bench. While the front strip is almost 2″ thick, the dovetails are only about half that. My gluttony for punishment only goes so far, 1″ deep recesses for the dovetails was plenty of work.
Gluing in the front strip with the two sets of dovetails was pretty nerve wracking. The joinery was pretty tight so I didn’t want to do a complete dry fit, fearing I would have trouble getting things apart again without damaging them. A few deep breaths and one silent prayer later and I was pounding things into place with a deadblow mallet. A little clamping pressure here and there and I had a pretty good fit. That smile stayed on my face for a while!
I couldn’t resist placing the tail vise in its home just to see how it will look. Crazy happy with how it looks. Once he glue dries I’ll have some cleanup work on the front strip, the dovetails and the edges of the end caps.