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