The "What am I doing?" Holtzapffel Workbench #9: One Leg down!

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Blog entry by DragonLady posted 03-24-2010 04:36 AM 3024 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Leg lamination lament Part 9 of The "What am I doing?" Holtzapffel Workbench series Part 10: Back on track »

For those of you that are actually following along with me on this project (as deranged as you must be…) you may remember my last post, wherein I managed to crack one of the leg boards right down the middle:

I was initially going to scrap that, but a few messages got me thinking. It probably won’t really affect the structural strength all that much, especially if I orient the cracked face so it doesn’t hold a mortise. So I decided to go ahead with that leg. Four-squared it, and filled the crack with wood putty. I’ll put it in the back, with the crack facing the wall, and only me and the wall will ever know… Well, you guys will, but you’ll keep my shameful secret, right?

So after I dripped sweat all over it from planing (note to self: choose better shop music. Trying to plane to Aerosmith may give you a heart attack!), I started the tenon on the top of the leg that will mate with the top.

This is my first ever tenon. Ever. In my life. I made it easy on myself and went with 1” shoulders all around.

So, first I marked it out and then started cutting the shoulders in.
You can see that I need some practice in keeping my saw straight! But it’s on the waste side, so I can clean that up.

Did all four faces.

I must have done something right, because my first cheek cut just popped right off when I got to the shoulder :)

My arm was getting over tired by this time, and my second shoulder cut was a little wobbly:

You can see where I went wide of the line, but again, on the waste side, so it’s not a big problem.

And most of that was cut off when I did the other two shoulders.
My arms were definitely screaming for mercy by this time, but I went ahead and finished the other cheek cuts. A little rough, but nothing that can’t be cleaned up with a sharp chisel!
My workpiece had slipped without me noticing, and I wasn’t paying attention to my saw angle, so I cut a little bit into the leg on one cheek

Ta Da!! My first tenon!

Not too bad for my first try. And will look better after a few minutes with a chisel. That’s if my arms ever decide to forgive me :)

-- A woman's work is never done-but power tools help!

7 comments so far

View 308Gap's profile


337 posts in 3239 days

#1 posted 03-24-2010 05:29 AM

Cool… hand tool woodworkers are crazy . Try Pink floyd. Or the man in black.

-- Thank You Veterans!

View 308Gap's profile


337 posts in 3239 days

#2 posted 03-24-2010 05:55 AM

Just read the series , all of it. I’m impressed. I’m heading to sears for a workmate, My last one was stolen.

-- Thank You Veterans!

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3885 days

#3 posted 03-24-2010 06:17 AM

looks great for a first try and will only get better from here on. as you mentioned -this will not affect much of the stability of the entire bench, and also since this is all custom fit – you can always make the mortise part flush with the tenon.

looking forward to seeing this come together

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View jack1's profile


2117 posts in 4264 days

#4 posted 03-24-2010 07:21 AM

Glad you haven’t given up. I screwed up more things, that I hung in there with, that turned out just fine than I can name. This is why my best stuff is what I designed, and changed as I screwed it up… ;0)
Lookin’ good. Cracks don’t mean much if you work around them, ask my wife…

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View IrishWoodworker's profile


159 posts in 4314 days

#5 posted 03-24-2010 10:05 AM

You are going to be a hand tool master! Not that you aren’t there already, you have done more with just your saw and hand planes than i would dare say 70% of woodworkers. Just keep working at it friend, when its all done you will have a fine bench to work on. Have a blessed day.

-- Dont just dream it, get up and live it!

View Tim29's profile


307 posts in 3386 days

#6 posted 03-24-2010 12:44 PM

You are doing so great! Keep up the good work and keep us posted.

-- Tim, Nevada MO

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3468 days

#7 posted 03-25-2010 12:10 AM

Your shop music COULD be worse. Try ZZ-Top. Specifically the Eliminator album… OUCH…

I keep seeing mentions of the “Holtzapffel workbench. I keep thinking this is perhaps a Swiss, or Dietsch translation of Holzapfel, or Apple Wood… Now that would be something to see… Does anyone build their Holtzapffel workbenches from holzapfel?

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