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Workbench #3: Base

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Blog entry by john2005 posted 132 days ago 768 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Top assembly Part 3 of Workbench series Part 4: The Finale »

Been awhile since I updated this. Hard to find time with a 2yr old and another on the way. Always trying to balance the time. Then of course the holidays came where all I did was make Christmas gifts. I had hoped to have this all wrapped up by the first of the year and here it is march and I’m not done. Close though.

So the guy I got the birch from had already made 2 legs. They were 4” square and about 40” long. I was wanting to go with 5” legs but since 2 were already made, I decided to use them. I couldn’t think of anything else to use them on. I put them in the back and made 2 more for the front that were 5×4. I then shouldered the front legs so that the tenons would all look the same from the top. Not standard, but so far that’s the theme. I had decided to tackle the double through tenon which was easier then I thought for the tenon side. The mortise side put up a fight. It may have helped if I had some actual mortise chisels. All I have are a set of the Narex bench chisels. They are good enough chisels but they were in way over their head. I became real familiar with the water stones. The nice side was I had the larger set so when the 1” was dull I could just grab the 7/8”. I used some sizes I may not have otherwise just to avoid sharpening so much. The tenons were easily cut by hand with hand tools and cleaned up with a couple block planes. Cutting between the tenons was the hardest part there. Just got it close with the saws then pared with the chisels to depth.
One thing I did do I felt kinda smart on. Everybody is concerned about height. I have been using saw horses that are 34.5”. They feel a hair short as I am 6’3” and it’s all in the leg. So I made my bench legs 35.5”. Pretty tall right? But I did it in such a fashion that I can flip it over and cut a full inch off the bottom and still have my strechers 2.5”off the floor. 2.5 is an arbitrary number but it’s the minimum I feel looks right. If I never cut it, then it stays at 3.5” which I feel looks better. I needed to keep the strecher as low as possible as I plan to build a tool chest to go under the bench someday.

Legs and strechers roughed out

Legs

The mortises in the legs

The base assembled

Again with the mortises

First set of tenons

Weapons of choice

Strechers just after easing the edges. You can see from the ends that even this construction is nonconventional. I had a lot of narrow boards so they were used up un the middle like you see here. The top and legs are built the same. I was able to use up a lot of 1-2” material this way.

And all the legs ready to go

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.



8 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

3883 posts in 1047 days


#1 posted 132 days ago

Serious progress John, the tenons look great. Did you drill the mortises on the top, then pare or just chopped?

-- "Aged flatus, I heard that some one has already blown out your mortise." THE Surgeon ……………………………………. Kevin

View john2005's profile

john2005

843 posts in 774 days


#2 posted 132 days ago

Yes, drilled as close to size as possible then cleaned ip with the chisels. It was the end grain in the corners that gave me fits. I also did the drill half way from both sides method to keep as tight of fit as possible and prevent tne “slightly angled drill” problem. I would recommend that. Seemed to work pretty good. Just use better chisels and you will be money.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View Hammerthumb's profile

Hammerthumb

1119 posts in 571 days


#3 posted 132 days ago

Very close to assembly time. Looking good!

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View CFrye's profile

CFrye

2469 posts in 436 days


#4 posted 131 days ago

You are sooo close! :-)

-- God bless, Candy

View CL810's profile

CL810

1901 posts in 1584 days


#5 posted 131 days ago

Smart, solid craftsmanship here John. This bench is looking really good.

So, I’m thinking “what’s he doing for vises?” Couldn’t remember. Reread the blog, no help. Is that one of the surprises? Or did I miss something?

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View john2005's profile

john2005

843 posts in 774 days


#6 posted 131 days ago

Nothin special, just a chain driven leg vise on the front, and a quick release tail vise. The surprise was the walnut wrap with giant half blind dovetails. I think I gave that away on the forum though.

Hoping to get another blog entry in today maybe as I’m home sick and not really doing much else. We’ll see.

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View AnthonyReed's profile

AnthonyReed

4353 posts in 1036 days


#7 posted 127 days ago

Man o man, you are doing a great job. Your bench is looking friggin fantastic John.

-- ~Tony

View john2005's profile

john2005

843 posts in 774 days


#8 posted 127 days ago

Thanks man!

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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