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Mongo: my first real workbench #3: A look at joinery

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Blog entry by TheRiflesSpiral posted 03-30-2017 04:41 PM 1249 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Materials and Method Part 3 of Mongo: my first real workbench series Part 4: My Springfield Trip »

As I mentioned before I’m planning to assemble Mongo without fasteners. I’m not exactly schooled in the fine art of joinery but I do watch a fair number of YouTube videos and I’ve been following Chris Hall's excellent work for some time. I appreciate his unique blend of traditional joinery design and modern manufacturing methods.

With the top completely laminated and glued to the tool tray, my first bit of joinery will be the ribs that support the top from underneath. There will be 4. Two are clear of any other structural parts (except the aprons)...

...and the other two will be integrated into the legs…

There are two additional ribs integrated into the top, one which will house a mid-century vice given to me by my father-in-law and the other will remain plain for now. I had originally planned a wagon vice, but I’m having a hard time justifying the complexity added to the joinery for no apparent benefit.

As much as I would love to use this project to hone my chisel skills, I don’t have a lot of (much… any) time with the pending move into the farmhouse I’m remodeling. So I need to use my power tools as much as possible to speed things along.

I’ve never had a nice router before and when this one went on sale at Lowe’s for $169 I couldn’t pass it up.

A nice router will let me use straight (or spiral) cutting bits for dadoes and rabbets, as well as allow me to put the dovetail detail on my ribs. I need a fairly aggressive angle on the dovetail considering the forces involved here so I went on a search locally for a 1” (ish) by 14 degree 1/2” shank router bit. Yeah. No dice.

Grizzly to the rescue!

So the plan is to use a spiral upcut (or downcut… whatever I can find) bit to channel out the groove then use that dovetail bit to establish the angle on the wall of that groove. I can then chuck the router in my table and put the corresponding detail on the ribs.

I’m fortunate to live in Southern Missouri and the Grizzly showroom is less than 3 hours from me. Wifey and I are going to ditch the kids Saturday, drive to Grizzly and pick up a handful of things for this project, including that bit.

It’s gonna be a blast!

-- Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.



7 comments so far

View RobDubs's profile

RobDubs

39 posts in 272 days


#1 posted 03-30-2017 11:32 PM

What is your choice of material for the top?

View TheRiflesSpiral's profile

TheRiflesSpiral

18 posts in 245 days


#2 posted 03-31-2017 12:00 AM

My choice was maple but I’m using Hemlock Fir. ;)

It’s definitely softer than is ideal. I’ve toyed with the idea of a sacrificial top; a 1/8 or 1/4 recess in each top for putting a piece of hardboard or MDF or something like that that can be easily replaced.

-- Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

View Builttolastwb's profile

Builttolastwb

5 posts in 235 days


#3 posted 04-01-2017 05:48 AM

I m building a classic roubo workbench out of hem fir. I think hardwood lumber is overrated for benches. Chris Schwartz, in his books on workbenches, says that hem and Douglas fir have higher e values than hardwoods, meaning greater crushing strength. Hardwoods have a higher Janka index, meaning fewer depressions in the wood, but all workbenches get dings in them. For me hem fir is just fine. If others want hardwoods, I will be glad to build one for them.

View Builttolastwb's profile

Builttolastwb

5 posts in 235 days


#4 posted 04-01-2017 05:49 AM

Just started to laminate my top. Very exciting!

View Builttolastwb's profile

Builttolastwb

5 posts in 235 days


#5 posted 04-01-2017 05:50 AM

Did u design this bench?

View TheRiflesSpiral's profile

TheRiflesSpiral

18 posts in 245 days


#6 posted 04-01-2017 06:38 PM

Yes, it’s of my own design. Heavily influenced by the benches I’ve seen here and elsewhere.

I love the herculean rigidity of an apron (Paul Sellers) but I don’t want to reach across my entire bench for tools so I did the split-top (Roubo) thing. The canted legs are purely aesthetic though in combination with the apron I don’t think I could have designed a more rigid base.

Not yet designed are a couple of accessories: a sharpening station, for one. And a way to hold a roll of butcher paper since this will act as my assembly table until I can get it built.

-- Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

View Tim Royal 's profile

Tim Royal

287 posts in 1299 days


#7 posted 04-02-2017 12:32 PM

I also have a Sellers influenced bench… mine is a bit smaller LOL… reaching is never an issue at 51×21” plus the 6 inch tool well. Really liking your design. Nothing beats size and mass, I also love the angled legs. You will have tremendous rigidity!

-- -Tim Royal -"Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real." -Thomas Merton

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