Weekend Bench #3: Aprons for the MDF top

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Blog entry by dsb1829 posted 12-29-2008 06:34 AM 1563 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Rough lumber Part 3 of Weekend Bench series Part 4: Rounding 2nd »

I should refer to this entry as “more work than I had anticipated”...

I put in close to an 8hr day today and about all that I have to show for it is aprons around the mdf, a bit of new knowledge, and a few mistakes. I will run through this step by step. Again for the most part this is a keep it simple bench. There are other ways of doing most everything here. I am just going to lay out my method here.

The first hurdle of the day was figuring out how to deal with my rough cut, slightly cupped, lumber. Check installment number 2 of the series for the details

With that part figured out I moved onto mocking up the aprons.

I decided to dovetail the side aprons. Well, let me say that I am not the first nor the last to cut my tails the wrong direction. So I went with plan-B.

This was a fairly quick recovery. My rabbit and shoulder planes got a good workout.

I chose to glue the front apron on by itself to reduce the chance of error and also so that I wasn’t scrambling too much to get everything covered in glue.

After letting the glue cure I double checked the mortises to make sure they were absolutely flush with the sides of the MDF. Then onto the side aprons. Glued and clamped. Those Bessey K-body extenders do come in handy when things get long (the 50in clamps don’t hurt either). I used additional clamps to draw the side aprons into the front apron.

The rear apron is nothing fancy. I didn’t even bother to surface it’s outer face. Maybe if I get bored some day, but for the most part this side of the bench will be against a wall or only pulled out far enough for use. No overlapping joinery, just face glued to the mdf and but jointed on the ends. I used my block plane to trim it to length.

That’s a wrap for today. I am pooped, but I had fun, used lots of my tools, tuned my new miter saw and my planer infeed, and learned a few things along the way. Without the errors, tool setup, and a solid game plan the work I did today could likely be done in half the time.

Time log: 10.5 hours compiled so far.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

7 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2103 posts in 3147 days

#1 posted 12-29-2008 07:36 AM

looking good. I’ll keep checking in whenever you add new stuff.

View kiwi1969's profile


609 posts in 2861 days

#2 posted 12-29-2008 10:02 AM

I will be embarking on a workbench project soon myself so I will be interested to see how this works out. Good luck.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3215 days

#3 posted 12-29-2008 11:55 AM

It’s looking good so far. And the experience you’ve gained with worth a fortune, right? ;)

-- "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 FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 3328 days

#4 posted 12-29-2008 01:38 PM

DSB, I am enjoying your posts on this project. Looks like you will have a fine work top to use in the near future. By the way, does anyone else have “clamp envy?”

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View sry's profile


147 posts in 3027 days

#5 posted 12-29-2008 04:57 PM

It’s amazing how a “simple” project like a workbench can teach you so many lessons.
And I have to say after building a shorter and thinner version of what you’re working on, I’m very impressed that you can even move that massive MDF slab around the shop to work on it. My 5’ double thick top was tough enough to move. Great work!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3092 days

#6 posted 12-30-2008 03:04 AM

Nice work so far!

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 3046 days

#7 posted 12-30-2008 06:10 AM

Hey everyone, thank you for the comments. Steve, that top is getting pretty heavy. It has to be getting up on about 160lb now. Definitely takes a bit of planning to move it around by myself. I will probably have to find a neighbor to right the bench once the legs, shelf, and vises are on it.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

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