So, I’m closing in on the finish line.
Since my last blog entry, I’ve made the mortises in the top for the legs, and lo yea verily, it took just a couple swipes with my new LN Rabbet Block plane to get the beastly top segments to drop right on the tenons. After that, I took a break over Thanksgiving and didn’t get back to working on the bench until this weekend.
So this weekend, my first task was to cut to the slabs to final length. This simply wasn’t going to do it for me.
Life would have been much simpler if I had a radial arm saw, but I don’t. Cutting cleanly through a 4+” slab is a bit of a challenge. The slabs are way too long and heavy to cut on my bandsaw, or tablesaw. So, I decided to take another shot at using a circular saw, and making the cut from both sides. Last time I tried that, I didn’t get the cuts perfectly aligned, so I decided to try a slightly different approach. I planned on making a “box” to put around the ends, giving me perfect wrap around registration for the saw. yeah, that didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would, likely because of the way I attempted to make the box. So, I fell back on the old straightedge clamp. One thing I discovered is that the clamp wouldn’t allow me to get maximum depth of cut, something that I didn’t discover until the “bottom” cuts. Sadly, the motor of the saw was riding on the clamp a bit, which introduced some wonkiness in to the cut. GRRRRRRR
I finished the cuts using a handsaw. Theoretically, one can clean up the ends using a block plane or the like, and I tried using my Veritas Low Angle smoother, but working VERTICALLY trying to trim hard maple end grain just wasn’t doing it. Off to Plan C. Belt sander. Did the trick, I’ll be finishing up the ends using a ROS with finer grits next weekend.
That done, next task was to install a temporary shelf, one that very well may be in use for a few months or a few years…. Because it is intended to be temporary, I wanted to keep the cost down, so I picked up some Western Cedar fence pickets at Home Depot. Arggghghhh…. it turned out that the fence pickets were too narrow. Knowing that HD didn’t have what I wanted otherwise, I bopped in to Lowe’s after lunch today, and found two 1”x12”x10’ whitewood boards for less than $9 each. SOLD. Loaded ‘em up, took them home, chop, cut, a little rasping and voila, a shelf below the bench.
Shelf done, I opted to do the dogholes. I had picked up the “Doghole Bushing” from Lee Valley last summer, so I built a jig for drilling the holes. Using the fine 3/4” brad point bit and my honkin DeWalt cordless, I was able to drill all the holes in a couple hours. Drilling the holes was actually a two step process, as the bit wasn’t long enough to drill through the bench with the jig. So I drilled all the holes using the jig, then went back and finished drilling through the bench, with a backer board clamped in place. One thing that’s very important when making your jig is to insure that the bushing is fully seated. If it isn’t, then your dogholes won’t be plumb. DAMHIKT.
There isn’t much left for me to do on the bench. I’ve got to drill a few holdfast holes, finish flattening the top, make the deadman strip and deadman, ease all the edges, and put some finish on it. A few storage holes in the legs for holdfasts and dogs, and the filler strip will round things out.
-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.