After watching Paul Sellers’ workbench videos I decided to assemble the top first an deal with the legs etc later, so after making the mortise and the piece that would later support the tail vise I was ready to glue up the top. I was going to do it in 2 parts and after a lot of planning and practising, I glued the first 6 pieces up and it worked like a charm, but the second round became a lot more stressful despite my best efforts to be prepared:
As you can see, it was a bit of a mess. It started going wrong when my mother entered the workshop with a cold beer for her hard working son. Having delivered the beer she calmly pulled a sawhorse out of the way and sat down on a chair behind it. The plan was to have the benchtop standing vertically on the ground while I slid the remaining pieces onto the threaded rod that went through the whole top. This, of course, meant that the benchtop had to lean against something… and yup, you guessed it. It was leaning against that very same sawhorse that my mother had just removed. I managed to catch it before it slammed to the ground, but it wasn’t pretty, and only the threaded rod saved me there. I love my mother, but my her timing is just god awful.
The fault was entirely mine, though. There was too much in that process that could go wrong, and not having proper support for the pieces during the assembly was a daft mistake.
Oh well, I put on the final pieces and lifted the assembled top onto a couple of sawhorses. I clamped it up loosely and started bashing the pieces to get the alignment right. Still a bit worked up after the mishap minutes earlier, I was afraid that the glue would start to set, so I really started working the mallet to get everything aligned. It took a bit of whacking and bashing, but I was finally getting there when one of my whacks returned a loud CRACK and the mallet suddenly felt light in my hand. I looked at it and discovered that what had just been my grandfathers old mallet was now just the handle from my grandfathers old mallet. Great. Fortunately I’d bought a rubber mallet along with the chisels I’d bought before starting the project, so I just grabbed that and continued.
...It must have been the second or third time the rubber hit the wood when I felt the rubber head slide off and fly through the air and once again I was holding nothing but a stupid handle – aluminium this time – in my hand.
I finally got it all aligned ok(ish), in part thanks to that iron atrocity that you can see on the picture next to the two broken mallets. What you’ll also notice in that picture is that I had pre-sawn the walls for the tenons which would eventually fit into the breadboards on both ends of the table. As mentioned I had no clue how hard it would be to align all the pieces exactly like the dry fit once I glued them up, but at this point this was clearly a mistake.
More on that in the next post.
-- He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat