The base is assembled with mortise and tenons. I also pinned the tenons using the drawbore technique. For some reason I didn’t take many pictures of the mortise and tenon work. I’ll describe some the process I used. I first hogged out the mortises on the drill press.
Then I hand chiseled the mortises. This is where I had some issues with tareout/splintering on the sides of the mortises that ran with the grain. I always made sure I was working with a sharp chisel, when I worked on these sides. I was also thinking that these were 2×4 studs, and that they might have been “wetter” than thoroughly dried lumber. I’m not sure if this would cause some of the issues I was having. I’ll have to do some more research on this.
I started out using a block of wood I had squared up, as guide block. It helped me keep the walls of my mortises straight and plumb. I had to cut 16 mortises in the legs. After a few mortises, I was getting better at judging my cuts for plumb. On the last few I didn’t use the guide block and did pretty well.
I cut the tenons on my table saw and band saw. I used the table saw to cut the shoulders. I used the band saw to cut the cheeks off. I then used a skewed angle block plane to clean up the shoulders and cheeks.
After dry fitting everything together, it was time to mark for the pins. These were pretty big tenons, so I came in about a ½” from the shoulders. The side stretchers got 2 pins per tenons, and the front stretchers only got 1. I really didn’t think about pins intersecting each other when I designed the bench. Next time I might lay things out a little different.
After drilling all of the holes, I reassembled the base. I marked each pin location on the tenons, and took everything apart again. From the marks for the pins, I made a new mark offset about 3/32” towards the shoulder and drilled those holes.
Now I need some dowels. I cut some ¼” square pieces of maple. I then ran these through my dowel plate. I bought this one from Lie-Nielsen, and it does the job. Although I’m not completely satisfied with this technique of making dowels. Unless you can keep the stock completely straight going through, which is very difficult, your dowel doesn’t come out real straight. You are also limited to how long you can make your dowel. For these ¼” dowels if you got over 8” or so it could break, as you pounded them through. For this type of joint this didn’t cause any problems. I think I will look into making a jig for cutting better dowels.
Here is one of the assembled ends of the bench.
Here is the assembled base.
Using drawbore pins to join this bench together worked great. My mortise and tenon joints were not the tightest by a long shot. When I started to pound the pins through the tenon, and watched those shoulders close up, I couldn’t have been happier. The base it so ridged and solid you could drive a truck over it.