Well, it’s been a long haul, but I can (sort of) see the light at the end of the tunnel for my workbench. After the near-fiasco with the assembly of the frame, I turned to the humongous leg mortises.
First step was to hoist the assembled legs and stretchers up onto the inverted top to mark the mortises. This was not too difficult even though the assembly must weigh 80-90 pounds. A little grunting and angling saved my back and got it up there. Positioned it carefully, clamped it down and marked it.
Then to hog out the mortises. The Schwarz suggested drilling it out with a brace and bit using a 3/4” bit. What was he thinking? In the first place, the brace and bit I have are crappy (the chuck won’t tighten worth a dang and it wobbles). But more importantly that’s a LOT of 3/4” holes. Given that the mortise is 2.5×5”, that would have been 96 holes.
I did the first hole with a brace and bit with a 3/4” auger bit, but then switched to a corded drill with a 3/4” Forstner bit. Then I thought, why the heck aren’t I using a 1.25” bit? Switched to that and raced throughout the other three.
Then it was time to chop them out. Several lessons there (mangled chisel post), mainly don’t buy cheap tools. Ironically, the FatMax Stanley chisels did the job and were about the same price as the Buck chisels: Message: Buck products are crap.
But I learned more about sharpening, a bit more about mortises and got the job done. And the frame fit into the top nicely on the second fitting. A couple of the fits could have been a little tighter, but I figure I was just allowing for seasonal wood movement, eh? :-)
Then I relatively quickly routed the deadman’s slot in the top (I kept thinking I would forget in my excitement about getting the top on and left myself little reminders so I wouldn’t forget)
Then I drilled the holes for the pegs (6” deep). I did NOT drawbore the legs into the top for two reasons:
- I figured it was overkill as that top is not going to pop off the legs
- I was a little uncertain of my ability to mark the point for the drawbore then bore the hole through the tenon perfectly straight with the result to that the “draw” might be the wrong way or worse
So I just drilled them straight through and whanged the dowels in. I didn’t glue them either, as suggested by the Schwarz.
Then I was done! Woohoo! Great celebration, break out a cold one and all that. But… as mentioned previously I live in a semi-rural area with few neighbors and most of them elderly. So I had to wait three days – three days! – til my one able bodied neighbor was around to help me lower that 200+ pound monster onto the floor.
Now, onto mounting the vises, face and end. Drilling the dog holes, apply a finish and… Well, I’ll get there.
-- Ric, Northern Illinois, "Design thrice, measure twice, cut once... slap forehead, start over"