Workbench Challenge #6: Assembling the Legs

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by shipwright posted 11-29-2013 12:38 AM 4383 reads 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Assembling the Top Part 6 of Workbench Challenge series Part 7: Gluing up all those dry fits. »

This one will be quite long but mostly photos because I want to make the process as simple to follow as I can.

To start off here are two ways to assemble the legs:

For the vice side I assembled the four sections first and then slipped the resulting finger joints together. Before this can be done there is one more operation to do and that is the cutting of the two rebates that will form the hole for he lower leg vice brace. Do these the same way as you cut the notches in the top framing and then assemble them face to face like this.

Continue to dry-assemble the leg as per the sketchup using just a few screws until the unit is together. Then, unless you are a lot better than me with a skilsaw, you will have a little clean up to do with a plane before glue-up. Once it is all cleaned up, disassemble it and re-assemble it with glue using the screw holes as a guide to accurately relocating the pieces.

Next assemble the top, bottom and back leg components in a similar fashion. If you want to shape the ends of the feet this is the time. I’m using a cheap jig saw to make the curve but just a 45 off the corner would look as good and could be done with the skilsaw. You don’t need the expensive circle marking jig, you can use a compass.

Once you have one cut, use it to mark the others, including the twelve parts “I”.

Dry fit the whole unit to check for square and look for any problems. With luck, you won’t find any.

Now you can slip the pieces apart, coat the insides of the mortises with glue and permanently assemble them with a couple of screws on each corner, both sides.

The other way you can assemble the legs is by laying up layer over layer all at once. They both work and are equally messy. First lay out one layer of the whole unit.

Then lay out the second, overlapping layer. Align them carefully and fasten with a few screws. Don’t put any screws in the areas where the verticals intersect the horizontals.

Continue with this until the unit is built up. Then slip it apart at the corners and clean up the edges with a plane.

Now mark all the pieces in the top layer “L1”, remove them and set them aside. Mark the next layer’s pieces “L2” and set them on top of the first. Mark “L3” and do the same. You don’t have to mark “L4” but I did for clarity.

Re-assemble piece by piece by first running the screws in just through the inner surface and then, after applying glue, use the screw tips to locate the piece before screwing it down tight. Once this is done you can add a few screws to get good pressure if you like. This may seem like a long way around but screwing these pieces together dry really makes alignment easier than with a layer of glue (ball bearings) in between.

As you glue up the layers, you will need to screw the corners together. Use an alternating pattern on adjacent layers to avoid hitting the screws in the layer below. I used top right / bottom left and then top left / bottom right on the next layer, then back to the first orientation.

When the dust settles you should have two leg assemblies that look like this and will support your truck.

That it for today. Sorry to be so long winded but this is supposed to be a beginner build-able bench and the details might make a difference.

Tomorrow the final assembly of the basic plywood bench. After that we will build the vices and the finish trim.

Here’s a peek.

Thanks for looking in


-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

17 comments so far

View tinnman65's profile


1357 posts in 3441 days

#1 posted 11-29-2013 01:29 AM

Wow Paul this is really coming along nicely! I did notice the titebond glue and not hot hide glue or Old Brown Glue but that’s OK I won’t say nothing if you don’t :)

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3187 days

#2 posted 11-29-2013 02:24 AM

Its looking good Paul. I learned something on this post about screwing together dry to preclude ‘Glue Slide’ later. I may have to incorporate that in another project. Thanks for sharing.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View gbear's profile


512 posts in 4126 days

#3 posted 11-29-2013 03:01 AM

Hey Paul…it’s coming together very nice. It may be a starter bench but it appears that it will last a lifetime or
longer due to the quality of the build. Nice job!

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3951 days

#4 posted 11-29-2013 03:06 AM

What no Hyde glue? Nice looking bench Paul may have to make one of them myself.

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3318 days

#5 posted 11-29-2013 03:18 AM

I’m a big fan of the “screw together dry/disassemble/screw together with glue” method myself.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4079 days

#6 posted 11-29-2013 03:19 AM

Coming together very nicely!

Really COOL & Sturdy design!

Thank you!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2825 days

#7 posted 11-29-2013 03:27 AM

About the glue ….... no I haven’t gone back to PVA, but…..
1) This blog / project is about trying to make it simple for a beginner and beginners will do better with PVA and are likely familiar and comfortable with it.
2) This is a project that doesn’t require any of the special qualities of the animal glues. ie: PVA is good enough and cheaper. I will save my hide glue for projects where it has an advantage.

Thanks for the comments.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View JeremyPringle's profile


321 posts in 2501 days

#8 posted 11-29-2013 04:18 AM


View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1041 posts in 2339 days

#9 posted 11-29-2013 09:16 AM

Hi Paul
When I finish setting up my new workshop and when I finish my chevalet one of these will be next on the must do list. Excellent step by step tuition here. Many thanks

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3361 days

#10 posted 11-29-2013 09:49 AM

It’s looking like a bench already. Do I detect some boat building techniques being used here? I think the screws make this build a lot easier and more accurate than it might otherwise be, but not the way an ordinary landlubber woodworker would usually approach it. We can sure learn a lot from boatbuilders like yourself Paul. Great work, great techniques and a great blog!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View A10GAC's profile


191 posts in 3105 days

#11 posted 11-29-2013 02:15 PM

Would there be any benefit to making the front of both legs flat and running a set of dog holes down the face of the non-vise leg? Or would that interfere with the operation of the wedge tail vise?

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2825 days

#12 posted 11-29-2013 02:32 PM

Hi Jim, send me or posts pics of that new shop. Glad to hear you’re settling in.

Mike, I’m not sure where some of my practices come from. I guess it just seemed like a good idea at the time. :-)

A10, That shouldn’t interfere with the wagon vice at all. This is really a concept plan rather that a fixed one in that you can change almost any part to suit your own needs. I’m just hoping to suggest some alternative ways to get it done. That’s a good idea.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20599 posts in 3132 days

#13 posted 11-29-2013 02:36 PM

Very good progress, Paul!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18290 posts in 3703 days

#14 posted 11-29-2013 11:26 PM

Looking great Paul. I’m probably not as good with a skill saw as you, and probably not as good at dry fitting, then gluing. Any reason you clean up with the plane before gluing rather than after? I would probably get a bit of minor misalignment during the glue up and need to re-clean ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2825 days

#15 posted 11-29-2013 11:42 PM

Just quicker I guess. I don’t like getting glue all over my plane and I don’t want to wait until it’s hard.
It’s a matter of preference I guess. The point of using the screw holes to re-align when gluing is to avoid the need to re-clean and it works pretty well.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

showing 1 through 15 of 17 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics