Workbench Update – 6th February 2012

I got to spend a bit of time on the workbench Saturday, then again today. The majority of the time on Saturday went into stock preparation though, so there’s not much to see from then except that the rough lumber is looking nicer now.

I did get another leg built today though, with the second mortice in it, so that’s one complete, and two in need of some work. I’m much happier with the stock preparation this time and the finished leg is looking really good. It’s been planed, chamfered and sanded and is ready to go. It took a lot longer to do (about 2 hours compared to 30 minutes for the first two) but the difference was worth it. I’ll go back and re-plane the others then put the second mortice in them shortly.

I’ve also been looking at my mobile pegboard rack and have decided that the tool rack at the back of the bench will hold a lot of the tools it currently does – all the chisels, the combo square, the new marking gauges, and the tenon and dovetail saw. That means that all I need to find storage for is a few saws, the hand drill and the mallets. This has me thinking that I can put just one piece of pegboard up on the old bench and then dismantle the rest of the frame to reuse the wood in the new bench. It’s all the same 70 x 35mm construction grade pine I’m using so once it’s been planed should work fine.

This ties in nicely with my plans for the stretchers, which were originally going to only be one thickness but now will be three. This puts the front stretcher flush with the benchtop and legs for clamping and will add quite a lot of rigidity because it will have shoulders going into the mortices now. I’m not sure if the side rails will get a similar treatment but I’m thinking they should.

Here’s some in progress shots of today’s work. First up is the finished leg, ready to have the second mortise cut. The first mortise (for the main stretchers) was formed during the lamination of the three pieces of pine which make up the leg.

Here’s the mortise marked out. I used a combination square to make the cross lines using the first mortise as a guide, then used my new tenon marking guide to mark the side lines. Then I used a chisel to deepen the lines so I had something to work to later.

I drilled out the middle using a 32mm spade bit, but it didn’t want to go right through so I had to clean that up with the chisel as well

Here the mortise is completed, and I’ve given the edges and sides a light sand just to clean up the few remaining chisel marks. There’s a little piece split out from the inside but as that will be inside the join and shouldn’t make any structural difference that’s OK.

Then I test fit two pieces the same size as the rails into position, and they fit well. I haven’t decided yet if I will try and put a mortise through the front rail and a tenon on the side rail so they lock each other in place, I’m pretty convinced that both can just be glued in place without too much else being done. There’s a slight amount of room at the sides of the test piece shown, so I’ll just keep a bit more on the side rails when I plane them to get a tighter fit.

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