Workbench #4: Stretchers

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Blog entry by twobyfour16 posted 04-29-2012 05:22 PM 1956 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Workbench - Trestle base beginning Part 4 of Workbench series Part 5: Trestle Base Complete »

Back at it. Since the plans for the workbench called for stretchers that are 1 3/4” thick by 4” wide, I had to get back to laminating. The rest of the bench so far has all been built with Lenga (Chilean Cherry, some call it), but I recently acquired a bunch of nominal 1×8 black mahogany that had been edge glued for width. I got it cheap (very cheap) because it was edge glued with no attention given to matching the color.

The material is 3/4” thick, and I did not want to use 3 pieces of the walnut to achieve my desired thickness. Why? Well because I thought it was a waste of good wood to bury it in the middle of a lamination, and it would have been too thick. I didn’t mind a thicker stretcher, but 2 1/4” would have been too much. So, I resawed some 5/4 Lenga & ran it through the planer to get a piece about 1/2” thick. I sandwiched the lenga between 2 pieces of walnut & like what I ended up with. By the way, I used my (unfinished) benchtop as a flat surface to glue up the stretchers – worked great.

I glued up 4 stretchers this way & spent a lot of time cleaning up the glue lines & squaring them up. Oh, and these stretchers are HEAVY.

Now to the tenons. I cut the shoulders on the table saw with my sled & cut the waste away with my bandsaw.

The tenons were fairly rough & I did not do a good job getting the shoulders perfect – which was a disappointment, but I was committed. I decided that it would be easier to round off the corners of the tenons than to square up the through mortises, so I grabbed file & rasp and went at it. After the 7th tenon, I finally got the hang of it, but it took a long time.

Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the stretchers after I cut slots for the wedges. I cut those on the bandsaw. Also, rather than purpleheart wedges, I went with Walnut & am glad I did. I built a jig & cut the wedges on the bandsaw (tried on the tablesaw first, for some reason – and that was a learning experience – fortunately with no injuries or major mis-haps, just a reminder how much safer & easier the bandsaw is for dealing with small pieces!) I whittled the wedges down to the perfect width by clamping a hand plane upside down & carefully running the wedges across the blade – shaving off a little at a time until they were the perfect width.

Stretchers built, tenons cut, wedges prepared – no excuse to wait for glue-up! Oh wait, since the width of my trestle base is about a foot wider than the plan (plan = 50 1/2”, my base = 62 1/2”) , I need clamps much longer than I have…..hmmmm….

-- Allan, Portland, OR

3 comments so far

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3953 days

#1 posted 04-29-2012 05:34 PM

OMG…. I love the contrast the laminating did. I cannot wait to see the finished product.

Nice Allen!

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2893 days

#2 posted 04-29-2012 11:40 PM

They look great! I love that this entire build is from smaller stock. You’ve got a chunk of your soul tied up in this bench!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4082 days

#3 posted 05-14-2012 02:17 PM

I had missed this build. Yowser, what a beaut.
Like Bertha commented, your soul is in this one. Glad you took pics, you will look back with smiles.

I really like it,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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