WorkBench #4: Completing the base

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Blog entry by grimt posted 08-15-2009 06:32 AM 4317 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Base just about ready for glue up Part 4 of WorkBench series Part 5: Workbench (almost) done »

Well it’s been 60 days since my last entry in the blog. My tardiness is due to spending most of my spare time in the shop working on my bench. I decided to go with the majority view and glue and pin the leg tenons.
Here is a picture of one of the legs just prior to glue up:

I was very nervous about this glue up phase; there seemed like a lot of joints to glue in one go. The first leg went great:

On the second leg catastrophe! While hammering in the pins I got a bit excited and blew out one of the mortise sides. You can just see the crack in this picture:

Hmmn, not the best view of the crack but I can assure you it’s there. I’d had a discussion with my tutor at my woodwork evening class, he said drill in no further than 3/4 of the thickness of the leg. I did this but was not satisfied that the pin was going in enough to really draw the tenon so I decided to drill another centimeter. I guess the moral of this tale is always trust the guy with 40 years experience.

I was pretty gutted but I had decided before starting this project that I wasn’t going to dwell on mistakes. This is a hobby so why go beating up on yourself in your own leisure time. I decided to implement a patch for the crack. I was pretty sure that the structural integrity of the joint was not much compromised but to be sure I glued a piece of wood over the crack in an attempt to stop in from blowing out any further:

Up to this point the bench had been completely symmetrical but now, at least, I knew which face would be at the back.

The next job was to glue and pin the long rails to complete the base. This was when it all started to get a bit weird. Recall I had been nervous about the leg glue up and this resulted in my blow out. I was doubly nervous about the long rail glue up which as a tight fit at best and was complicated by a couple of vertical rails I had decided on after the initial design phase. I’m going to use those rails as supports for drawers.

So I decided to do a dry fit before glue up. I assemble all the parts (really tight fit to attach the rails to the legs, lots of hammering required). Eventually I get it all together and slightly tap the pegs in, just to ensure they will all go in.

So the pegs are all slightly tapped in and I test the bench for strurdiness, solid as a rock. So then I go in to a bit of a haze and, without really stopping to make a conscious decision, I just keep on tapping in the pegs the rest of the way.

So now my base is kind of half glued and half pegged. This was not a decision I made, it just seemed to happen. The base is rock solid but I hope this is a non-decision I won’t regret later.

Next I added a tool rail to the bottom of the top rails. This shelf will have two purposes: it will be used for sitting tools on to keep them off the main bench and it will also stop wood shavings from getting in to the drawers. This feature was not in my original design but I’m happy it is a good addition.

My next job was to apply a couple of coats of tung oil to the base then add some feet. The next two pictures show the base which is now complete apart from the drawers:

You can see the tool rail on both pictures.

I’m currently in the process of glue-up for the top.

Thanks for viewing..


5 comments so far

View ladiesman217's profile


74 posts in 3240 days

#1 posted 08-15-2009 07:25 AM

I like the bench but as an avid mtn biker, I have to ask what bikes you have?

-- Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4115 days

#2 posted 08-15-2009 07:31 AM

Don’t worry about the non- glue glue up. Just pretend it’s timber frame joinery. It’s not going anywhere.

If the base gets wobbly in the far future you would have other options.

Looks great. Keep on!

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

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 3260 days

#3 posted 08-15-2009 08:18 AM

I’d just pre-drill a hole in each peg and screw a long screw into any pegs you wish to remove, then pull them out. If they break off, just drill them out completely with a bit slightly smaller than the hole.

Other than that, looking good so far!

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View grimt's profile


24 posts in 3585 days

#4 posted 08-18-2009 03:09 AM

Hi ladiesman217 – The bikes are a Scott Genius and a Trek Fuel. Mountainbiking is a prime source of distraction from woodworking. Right now though our tracks are so wet that I’m making good progress on my workbench.

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3602 days

#5 posted 08-22-2009 07:34 AM

good work

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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