Building a new workbench #6: Completeing the leg joinery

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Blog entry by Loogie posted 02-14-2009 05:47 AM 9780 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Half-lapping the side rails Part 6 of Building a new workbench series Part 7: First time base assembly »

Having finished milling the half lapped dovetails for the rails yesterday, today I was working on milling the matching dovetails on the outer part of the legs to receive the rails. The legs are made up of two sections of 8/4 ash which are glued together after the milling is complete. Doing it this way makes it very easy to create the dovetailed through mortise for the bottom rail. I started by marking all the joints using the dovetails already cut on the rails. Each piece is made to match it’s partner so they all had to be numbered to match. After they were all marked, then I cut just inside the line with a hand saw. After that I went back to the table saw and – making sure I’m starting from the narrow side of the dovetail – cut out all the waste that I could. That left me with a wedge shaped piece that needed to be removed. For that I turned to my Japanese Ryoba saw. Because it is kind of like a huge flush cut saw and has both a rip and a crosscut side it works great for this task.


After I had removed all the waste, then I tried a test fit. One of them fit right in, but the rest needed to be tuned up with a shoulder plane and a rasp. This was the second time that I found a really good place to use a rabbet plane, too bad I don’t have one. I then headed back over to the table saw and raised the blade about 1/16” and took just a little more material out of the dovetail on the lower rails. The reason for this is that I had cut everything to be a perfect half lap, but the bottom rails need to be able to slide into the mortise so those mortises need to be slightly wider. After that was done and cleaned up, I wend for a test fit. Here’s a picture of what the wedged dovetail joint on the lower rail will look like, but after it’s glued up you won’t be able to get this perspective.


The bench base is made from knock-down but very secure joinery. Here I set the leg frame assembly on top of the outer leg so you can see what the result will look like in the end. I intentionally opset the two halves of the leg so you can se how it’s all set up.


Last but not least I glued the finished outer legs to their corresponding inner leg to make a finished assembly.


Tomorrow I should be able to get the thing supporting it’s own weight!

-- Mark

5 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3844 days

#1 posted 02-14-2009 02:32 PM

Mark, this is looking good. Your posts have clearly detailed the step-wise progress that the bench is undergoing and primed me, personally, for getting started on my own version. Thanks for the inspiration.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Cantputjamontoast's profile


416 posts in 3454 days

#2 posted 02-14-2009 04:49 PM

That, gentlemen IS joinery.

(fill in superlative here) job Loog!!!!!!

-- "Not skilled enough to wipe jam on toast!"

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3837 days

#3 posted 02-14-2009 05:05 PM

That looks like fun. Coming along nicely.

-- Scott - Chico California

View MrJust's profile


4 posts in 3394 days

#4 posted 03-03-2009 02:15 AM

Its like a Finley built car, smooth lines, everything fits, I love it!
I am just getting into Joinery myself and I was looking for programs that offer Joinery. I only have one in my area (But from what I was told that is rare enough) and I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice on if its worth it to go here. Quite an investment I must say.
I was looking at and there are links to the programs I was looking at attending.
Thanks in advance for your help.


View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3695 days

#5 posted 10-03-2010 10:27 PM

Looks like you is having fun.

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