Workbench Build #18: Odds and Ends

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Blog entry by Mark Kornell posted 12-17-2014 07:59 AM 1940 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Mortising the legs Part 18 of Workbench Build series Part 19: Getting the base ready for assembly »

Well, I discovered I didn’t take any pictures of fitting the tenons to the mortises. Probably because it was kind of tedious and a little bit boring.

The first step was to cut the tenons. For the side stretchers, I cut them the same way I cut the large tenons on the legs – with the table saw. Shoulders first, then stand the piece up and cut the cheeks.

Then I squared up each mortise and used a router plane, a rasp and/or a float to fit each tenon in turn. Three of the 8 tenons were a perfect fit off the saw while 3 were tight and needed a slight adjustment. 2 were loose, I’ll have to use epoxy on those.

Then it was on to taking care of all the other little details before the bench can be assembled.

First, I patched the extra mortise in the leg. Glued in a large piece to fill most of the cavity, leaving about 1/8” to go. Squared off the corners and then fit and glued the visible patch.

After the glue dried, I planed the patch flush.

I didn’t try to match the grain. Good reminder to pay attention!

I also cut the tenons in the long (front and back) stretchers. After getting them dimensioned, I cut the shoulders on the table saw.

At about 60”, these stretchers are too long to readily stand up on the tablesaw so I cut the cheeks on the bandsaw.

Checking the fit of the front stretcher:

Checking the fit of the back stretchers:

To drill the holes for the bolts, I wanted to make sure the stretcher was clamped squarely to leg. This is what I came up with:

And drilled the holes to depth.

Also counterbored and drilled the top stretchers for lag bolts into the top. Not sure I’ll need to use lags, but easier to drill now…

I decided to put a small bevel on the bottom of the bench legs. Dunno if this will affect the stability of the bench, but I like the look. It is 1/4” deep by 1” tall, almost exactly 14°. Set up the table saw to make the cut:

And soon enough, I’ve got 4 legs with bevels at the bottom:

Need to mortise for the nuts holding the stretcher connection bolts. Check the bolt protrusion:

Set up the router track guide accordingly:

Route the mortise and test:

I also did the runner for the deadman. First, glue an oversize piece of maple to the top of the front stretcher. The benchtop acts as a handy caul:

Flush the piece to the stretcher using planes:

Add the mortises for the connection bolt nuts:

And then cut the maple to a triangular shape. Set the table saw fence and tilt the blade to 45° before making the first cut.

Flip the piece end for end and make the second cut:

After that, I bump the fence a hair (maybe 1/100”) and repeat the two cuts. It takes just a small extra amount off, which cleans up saw marks and any burning.

Then I put a 1/16” round over on the top of the triangle. Deadman runner is done!

Because I want a shelf on the bottom of the bench, I decide to add cleats to support shelf boards. I had some leftover pieces from making the legs:

Which, after milling, turns into:

Those leftovers will probably go into the fireplace sometime this winter…

Glue and screw the cleats to the bottom stretchers:

I would have preferred to use taller cleats, but needed to keep them to a certain size to avoid interference with the holes for the nuts.

And the stretchers are ready:

At this point, the bench could be assembled. First, though, I want to do a bit of sanding and slap a minimal finish on the parts of base. Just for looks.

I inadvertently started the finishing. Leaving some DNA behind:

Here’s where I was leaking. Have absolutely no idea where that came from.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

4 comments so far

View Vactet's profile


9 posts in 676 days

#1 posted 12-17-2014 08:26 AM

Wish I could do that work. Never really got my hand good at doing tendons and all of that, looks great though.
As per the blood, we bleed for what matters. Plus, it does mark your territory rather well.
Look forward to seeing the rest.

View Don W's profile

Don W

17868 posts in 1984 days

#2 posted 12-17-2014 12:32 PM

nice work Mark…...

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View terryR's profile (online now)


6227 posts in 1725 days

#3 posted 12-17-2014 03:33 PM

Very clean work…and so fast! :)

Amazing how such a small nick on one’s finger can be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1057 posts in 1947 days

#4 posted 12-17-2014 10:02 PM

Terry – I started making sawdust on March 25 this year. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, it’ll be done before Christmas Day. That’s 9 months, roughly the gestational period for a.human.infant. so call this my baby :-)

Don, thank you.

Vactet, welcome to LumberJocks. Check out the Work bench smack down thread for good info and folks who can offer pertinent advise. Re: your comment on getting good at mortise and tenon work – like pretty much everything, the only way to get good is to jump in and do. And fortunately when working with wood, if you make a mistake it is usually fixable. As you get more practice, you’ll find you make fewer mistakes and you get better at hiding them, too. -:)

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

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