Building The Holtzapffel Workbench #2: Starting the base

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Blog entry by Mike Lingenfelter posted 02-03-2008 04:19 AM 5510 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Finding the lumber Part 2 of Building The Holtzapffel Workbench series Part 3: Update on the base »

This weekend I have a little time to work in the shop. I have plans for the next couple of weekends, so it might be a little while before I can work on the bench again.

Today, I cut all of the legs and stretchers to size and cut the tenons on the legs and stretchers.

The Legs


The stretchers


I also had time to start to hog out the mortises. The first step was to mark out the mortises. I just used a combination square and the stretchers themselves to layout the mortises. The stretchers need to be flush with the outside of each leg. This is one of the features of the bench. The legs and stretchers can be used as clamping surfaces.


I also took a close look at each of the legs, and found the faces I wanted to see. There are some small knots on the legs, so I faced them to the inside or back.

Next I used a router and a ¾” spiral cut bit, to hog out the mortise.


This is one big bit! It cuts really nice, but you do need to take a few passes to get to its full depth. The bit isn’t long enough to go to the full depth of the mortise. I plan to use my drill press and a forstner bit to take it to full depth. The router gives me very straight walls on the mortises. I thought my chisel would fallow these walls much better than if I had just used the drill press alone.

Here’s the first cut from the router. It will take a couple of passes to hog out the entire mortise.


I also plan to use this router bit to cut my bench dog holes. I saw a nice demonstration over at, on cutting bench dog holes with your router. Look in the Gallery for the video.

I had to call it a day. I will try and finish of the mortises tomorrow.

11 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3818 days

#1 posted 02-03-2008 05:18 AM

So far so good Mike. I like this detailed approach to the construction process. Thanks for taking your time for the pictures and the narrative. If you are anything like me once you get on a roll it is an aggravation to have to deal with interruptions.

I am looking forward to seeing some more posts.

Thanks for sharing.

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

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3792 days

#2 posted 02-03-2008 06:11 AM

Looking good so far Mike! I can’t wait to see this puppy when it’s all put together! Have you gotten the wooden screws for the vise in yet?

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4110 days

#3 posted 02-03-2008 06:39 AM

Yes, it can be a distraction to take pictures. I had planned to take more, but forgot to stop at different stages.

No screws yet, but the check has cleared so I hope to see them soon.

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4396 days

#4 posted 02-03-2008 06:49 AM

Good start. I like the drilling with the router. Looks easy.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#5 posted 02-03-2008 07:42 AM

Yeah – nice work – I too like your idea of the router bit to establish the walls of the mortise.

Looks like you’ll have the leg assemblies done tomorrow!

So, the tenons on the top of the legs will be mortised into the top?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View gizmodyne's profile


1779 posts in 4086 days

#6 posted 02-03-2008 07:48 AM

Lookin good. Keep up the posts.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4110 days

#7 posted 02-03-2008 05:16 PM

Yes the tenons on the legs are mortised into the top. Also, each mortise and tenon will be pinned using drawbore pins.

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#8 posted 02-03-2008 08:32 PM

Oh! From the front of the top – right? I think I get it…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View WoodworkersResource's profile


33 posts in 3968 days

#9 posted 02-03-2008 11:25 PM

Looks great Mike. I hope to get started on my own Holtzapffel Workbench soon. Are you going with wooden screws for the vise? If so, where were you able to find them?

Thanks for taking the time to chronicle your progress here!


-- Craig, (Where Information meets Inspiration)

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4110 days

#10 posted 02-04-2008 01:04 AM


I sent you a private message with the contact information for large wooden screws. I didn’t want to post email addresses in a blog, so I sent you the private message.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3669 days

#11 posted 04-04-2009 07:06 PM

Good start Mike.

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