Split top Saw Bench #3: Feet, uprights and assembly

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Blog entry by TerryDowning posted 11-06-2013 08:39 PM 5198 reads 2 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The build (wagon vise tops and uprights) Part 3 of Split top Saw Bench series Part 4: Adding a saw till to the saw bench »

Ok, so the tops are dry fit, and I have a clue how to assemble. but with out a stable platform to sit on the floor it’s still useless.

The feet will be joined to the uprights with mortise and tenon joints. Simple enough, cut tenons on the bottom of the uprights approximately 1” wide.

In stumpy’s video he demonstrates a rather innovative approach to creating mortises.

Feet material is 2×6 18” in length

mark the center of the foot, and layout the width of the uprights centered approximately 1 1/2 ” apart.

Cut the walls of the mortise

Then remove material 1/2 the width of the tenon.
I used my (new to me) Millers Falls 85 duplexing fillster plane for this and it worked great. This one has a depth stop, so with the depth stop adjusted it’s just a matter of plowing throw dadoes until you have the width covered.

You need to do this 4 times 1 for each leg.

This makes it easy to fit the tenons for width and depth. Once the tenons are snug and fitting correctly. Rip the boards in half and glue back together to form the mortises.

Dry fit and rehearse the glue up!! I did not do this enough and introduced several issues.

Did I mention rehearsing? I did not rehearse this joint nearly enough and I’m still paying for it.

I didn’t make this joint clean enough and did not rehearse it’s assembly and glue up. As a result it was not fitted correctly and this introduced all kinds of issues.
The height of the uprights are now different between the regular side and wagon side since the upright on the wagon side is not seated completely, this made the leg longer. It also introduced significant twist to the top. I had to trim the tenon shoulder to adjust for the difference. This also introduced wobble into the completed piece. If I build another one of these, I will fasten the feet to the uprights first. Then negotiate the top. I’m still making adjustments to the feet as there is till wobble in the completed bench.

Did I mention rehearsing? Lesson learned!!

The dovetails are square though.

You can see the gaps on the finger joint in this photo as well.

Feet draw bored in place joints glued. It was still a bit wobbly but adding a stringer dovetailed between the uprights solved that.

Let the trimming and clean-up begin!

Need to trim those tenons off

Basic trimming complete and a usable bench. At this point I still needed to bore the dog holes in the wagon and top, but the bench is now usable as a saw bench.

Dog holes bored out

First test of the wagon vise. It works!! You can also see that the laminated 2×4s for the wagon vise side were not as wide as the 2×6 upright material so I fitted some 1×4 material into those spaces on either side.

After this test, I realized a flaw in the wedge. I did not make it long enough and driving it out was a pain. I made an additional spacer and a new wedge that is longer so I can drive it out when I want to to remove what I’m working on.

It works great for cross cutting as well. You can see the new wedge here

prepping stock for the next installment on this series. I’m adding a saw till to the opposite side. I figure what better place to have a saw till than on the saw bench where they are used.

-- - Terry

13 comments so far

View JeremyPringle's profile


321 posts in 2499 days

#1 posted 11-06-2013 09:20 PM

This is awesome!

View TerryDowning's profile


1077 posts in 2142 days

#2 posted 11-06-2013 09:45 PM

Thanks Jeremy.

-- - Terry

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2510 days

#3 posted 11-06-2013 09:45 PM

You’re moving along at a great pace. We may have another Airframer on our hands.

-- Brian Timmons -

View TerryDowning's profile


1077 posts in 2142 days

#4 posted 11-06-2013 09:49 PM

Oh no.

I’m not nearly as prolific as Eric.

I started this project back in Early September. It’s early November and I’m not done. I usually only get about 20-30 minutes a day ion my shop.

Three consecutive blog posts today because I carved out some time to get the writing done.

It will be a while until the section on the saw till is complete. That just started yesterday.

-- - Terry

View terryR's profile


7168 posts in 2333 days

#5 posted 11-06-2013 11:12 PM

Great work, Terry!

You’re typing these blogs faster than I can read, and plan my version…


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

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2592 days

#6 posted 11-06-2013 11:25 PM

Well done Terry. My version is much simpler, but then I usually just use them to sit on.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2823 days

#7 posted 11-06-2013 11:54 PM

Looks like it all worked out in the end and a day when you learn a lesson is a good day.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2592 days

#8 posted 11-07-2013 12:03 AM

I don’t know Paul? I’ve learned a few lessons I wish I had not learned. Of course I typically tend to insist on learning the hard way, so maybe that’s got something to do with it.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 1986 days

#9 posted 11-07-2013 12:29 AM

This is great, Terry, thanks for blogging it. How do you like the split top design and longer length now that you’ve used it a bit? A sawbench is on my short list and the split top design is one I’ve been considering.

View TerryDowning's profile


1077 posts in 2142 days

#10 posted 11-07-2013 12:58 AM

So far I like it. Currently storage is a bit of an issue, but eventually it will live under my work bench and be out of the way. I’ve decided to go with a traditional English joiner’s bench which does not have the stretchers on the bottom like the French, German and Scandinavian benches, rather big beefy aprons for rigidity. The saw bench should be able to slide right under.

-- - Terry

View terryR's profile


7168 posts in 2333 days

#11 posted 11-07-2013 02:44 PM

My thoughts exactly as far as storage, Terry!

Thanks, again, for blogging this and all the photos. The wagon vice is gonna be tough, but I want it. :)

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

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3673 days

#12 posted 11-07-2013 02:49 PM

very nice build!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View AnthonyReed's profile


9756 posts in 2465 days

#13 posted 11-18-2013 08:43 PM

I really like the split-top. Nicely done.

Thanks Terry.

-- ~Tony

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