Hmmm… well I posted blog entry #6 this morning, and as of this moment it shows 158 views, but not a single comment! I’m either boring you all with too much detail and my mindless blathering, or I just have such a small following on this blog that all two of you were busy today…. Haha!
Well I will continue at any rate, as I’m sure somebody who cares will run across this someday. ;)
I decided after dry fitting the legs into their mortises to continue working on the underside while the top was upside down. This bench will have a sliding deadman for additional work support along the front length of the bench. This is a feature that I knew I wanted in my bench as soon as I saw one and figured out what it was for. So I decided to route the groove in the underside of the top that will house the deadman. I set it back from the front edge 3/4” and made it a hair over 3/4” wide. It extends from inside of leg to inside of leg.
On the bottom side, the deadman will slide along a convex shaped track. It’s actually bevelled at 45* on each side. Chris Schwartz recommends this method in his book because a groove would just collect dust and shavings and make it difficult to slide the deadman. I used a large piece of birch to make this lower front stretcher, with the integrated slide. It’s fairly hefty to match the bench and have good support. It will be mortised into each leg.
With those two things done, I decided to next move on to the large sliding dovetails on the ends of the top. The left side of the bench will be just a decorative endcap, and the right side will also be the rear jaw of the twin screw vise. This would be my first attempt ever at a sliding dovetail!
To make this dovetail, I considered several modus operendi. But ultimately settled on buying the largest dovetail bit I could find, and tackling it with the router. I stood the bench top up on end, supporting it against my table saw and clamping it to the fence which I positioned right at the end and locked in place. It wasn’t going anywhere. I clamped one of the Fir timbers that I had squared up to the opposite edge from the one I’d be working on, for extra support. Then, it was just a simple matter of taking light passes to hog away the material. As a quick tip, I actually started on my exit side of the cut, essentially doing a climb cut for the first 2 inches or so. Then I started from the proper end and routed the width of the top. This way, I avoided any tearout coming out of the cut. Did I mention that I’ve never done a sliding dovetail before??
I was very happy with how smooth the cut was!
Here is the newly made ends for the bench top. It took about 2 hours to route all four cuts.
The next step, which I tackled today, was to make the matching caps for the ends. I started with lumber slightly over size and the used the dado blade on the table saw to hog out the bulk of the material. I then went to the router table and used the same router bit to route the mating part of the large sliding dovetail. Keep in mind, this is the first time I’ve EVER done a sliding dovetail!!
Alright, so far so good! I get what I think will be a nice fit, according to careful measurements with my digital calipers. I rub some paste wax on the length of the wood that will be mated. but not before drilling some holes to pin the dowels through. I extend the holes (3/4” long hole for a 3/8” dowel) to allow for movement. This of course is a crutial step!
And in case the fit is still a bit on the tight side, I have a coercion tool , courtesy of Garant. :)
Well the fit was tight, and I did have to coerce the end cap into place…. hammer hammer hammer… DOH!!!
Ummm… ya. Did I mention that this was my VERY FIRST atempt at a sliding dovetail??
Well I happen to have an extra piece of walnut the right size. So I redo the end cap. This time I made the end 3” or so fit tight, and routed the middle section out a bit wider. This way I figured that it would slide on easier but still look tight at the ends. It worked much better on my second attempt, and here is what I ended up with. keep in mind it still has to be planed flush with the top. But I’m pretty happy with it!!
Well that where I’m leaving off. I’d like to hear some feedback from anyone looking at or following my blog as to how you think it’s going, comments, critiques, questions, heck I’ll even take verbal barrages of hatred and blasphemy if it means a comment or two… hahaha!!
Thanks for looking!
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