I made a bench for a gift, but it was just too rustic looking. So, I made another one from red oak that looks more modern. This 2” walnut slab still makes a great looking bench. I sawed this slab 57 days ago from a nice walnut log. It’s going to sit at the end of my bed to be used as a dressing bench. Here's the project page to go with this blog.
I cut the shoulders from the legs, leaving a 2 1/4” tenon. Then used the cut off pieces of leg material to make a jig to cut the matching mortise. First I drill out some of the waste material with a spade bit, then use a sharp chisel to square up the mortise.
The jig makes it easy to keep the sides of the mortise square. Sometimes I use a router with a pattern bit to cut the mortise. This slab was a little too soft to cut with a router, so I used a chisel.
The mortise was too easy to cut in the soft wood, so I filled the soft parts with a mixture of West System 3 epoxy and acetone (15% by weight) The thinned epoxy fills punky wood and makes a firm surface. Here’s the mortise before I stabilized the wood.
-- Hal, Tennessee http://www.first285.com