Mounting an end cap on the end of a work bench can be challenging. Since the end cap grain direction is perpendicular to the grain direction of the bench top, the bench top must be allowed to move with seasonal humidity changes or it may split where it is restrained. The typical way to handle this situation is to route some slots into the underside of the bench top to accept standard hex nuts. The end cap then has to have large slotted counter-bores to accept hex headed bolts. I think the large bolt heads and slots in the end cap are unsightly and when you inevitably have to tighten the end cap bolts (due to seasonal expansion and contraction) you will need to search for two tools; a socket wrench and an open end wrench.
When I needed an end cap for the wagon vise on my latest bench I thought there must be a better way. I wanted mounting hardware with a diminutive appearance, simple installation and only required one tool for tightening. I also wanted to be able to store the tool on the bench so the occasional tightening would be a minor distraction. The mounting hardware I came up with is a simple design which accomplishes all of my goals. We showed this hardware at Woodworking in America and had a lot of favorable response. The hardware consists of half cylindrical shaped nuts which mate to similar shaped washers. The washers have ledges which keep the nuts from turning and have a slot to allow for the bench top movement. Both the washer and nut are simply installed in a 1-1/4” diameter hole drilled into the bottom of the work bench top. Over sized holes are drilled into the end of the bench top and the end cap is secured with 3/8” diameter socket head cap screws. The black oxide coated cap screws in the counter bored holes provide an attractive understated appearance in the end cap. The only thing required for mounting the end cap is drilling holes. The hex key wrench used to tighten the fasteners is stored under the bench top ready for use. To see detailed directions on how it all goes together click here. End Cap Mounting Hardware Directions
In addition to the end cap, stretchers may also be mounted using only the half cylinder nuts mated to 5-1/2” long socket head cap screws. This not only gives you an attractive appearance but it allows a single tool, stored under the workbench, to tighten both the end cap and the stretchers. The half cylinder nuts are installed into 1” diameter holes drilled into the stretchers. The shape of the nut makes it easy to align and remove.
Although I am not yet ready to mass produce the mounting hardware I can make them in smaller quantities. If you are interested send me an email.