LumberJocks

Workbench #11: Assembling the Base

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Blog entry by Dan Wolfgang posted 05-25-2017 01:18 AM 1217 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Leg vise Part 11 of Workbench series Part 12: Adding the Shelf »

At this point I had the base components complete and had dry-fitted several times, but I didn’t want to assemble it until the leg vise was complete. Now that the leg vise was done, I could get everything assembled.

Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I can assemble the base I needed to make the shelf ledgers that would fit into the base stretchers. A groove in the stretcher would support the pressure from the ledgers.

Ok, now that the ledgers were made and the dadoes planed into the stretchers, I could get things assembled!

I wanted to drawbore the mortise and tenon joints for the end assemblies. I had never tried drawboring before and I was really surprised how tightly it locked everything together! My mortise and tenons were nice and tight but the 3/8” ash drawbore pins really made the joints rock solid!

Drilling the holes for the pins was a little disappointing in that I don’t have the right tool/bit: the only bit I have that was able to enter cleanly is a 3/8” forstner bit. A little bit of wobble while I used my cordless drill and some slightly-under 3/8” dowels leave a tiny gap when the pins were inserted. I’m sure practice would help more than anything, but I wonder if a drill press and/or a slightly undersized bit (11/32”?) would have helped make a cleaner-looking joint.

With both ends of the base assembled it’s time to get the stretchers and hardware in place. I decided to use some ratchet tie-downs as clamps to help pull the stretcher mortise and tenons together so that I could drill for the hardware.

I am using the Benchcrafted bolt and barrel nut to pull the stretchers together to make a strong base that can be taken apart. This hardware is big.

I drill a 1” hole in the stretcher for the barrel nut and an 8” long hole for the bolt. Without a drill press handy I was left to align this by eye. I was pretty close but needed to rasp things a bit—lets just say I’m glad the barrel nuts can’t be seen!

I’m thrilled to see I did a good job of building a square base, and saying it’s “strong and sturdy” is an amazing understatement! I cut the mortises in the table top and bolted the top to the base with the Spax lag bolts—again, so I can take it apart should I ever need to.

And I have no photo at this stage to share. All I can say is that I was so excited to have something that looked like a workbench, I couldn’t wait to just use it!



3 comments so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

1672 posts in 464 days


#1 posted 05-25-2017 09:59 PM

Lookin’ good, Dan! Good job on the ledgers. Your drawboring looks nice and snug. You are going to cry when this bench gets dinged up!

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View Dan Wolfgang's profile

Dan Wolfgang

131 posts in 624 days


#2 posted 05-26-2017 01:58 AM

Thanks, Ron, I am quite pleased with it overall. The top is already dinged up quite a bit! The soft fir 2×4s get dented so easily that I wonder if I will, at some point in the future after quite a bit of use, need to replace the top because it’s simply too damaged to continue using.

View FoundSheep's profile

FoundSheep

150 posts in 273 days


#3 posted 05-26-2017 09:52 PM

Congrats Dan, that is a nice looking bench, and more importantly it looks supremely functional. Can’t wait to see it right side up and getting use!

-- -Will, FoundSheep Designs

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