Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Work Bench

I decided to go with the good, fast and cheap bench that consists of laminating 2-by southern yellow pine boards into a thick and hopefully durable bench. I followed the advice of only gluing one board on at a time. In order to get fairly clear lumber, I bought 2x10's and ripped them in half. I used a cheap little detail roller to roll the glue on and left it soaking in a bowl of water between uses since I'm waiting at least a day between glue ups.

Sometimes I waited longer than 24 hours if it turned off cold. Or if I got discouraged trying to figure out what my next step was going to be.

Honestly, I agonized over how I was going to cut the dovetail shaped mortises for the legs to attach to the top. Realistically, I should have gone with something simpler but that's what I really wanted from an aesthetic standpoint. Just my reluctance to commit to this cost me at least a week or two.

But at last I had the top as far as I can go until I do the tool tray and vises, so I figured it was time to attach some legs. I layed out the mortises for the stretchers.

And then chopped them out with my largest mortising chisel. I bought the set of C.I. Fall mortising chisels because they were about half to 1/4th as much as the higher priced mortising chisels.

I may have found out why they cost less. I should mention that this is the first time I've actually cut mortises and maybe I don't know what I'm doing. No, really. I probably don't know what I'm doing, but I split the handle pretty bad by the time I had four mortises chopped. And, due to my lack of experience, I split two of the legs trying to fit the first tenons in. I guess you're not supposed to force them. You can see the split on one of the back legs in the photo, but it still seems to be holding the table up well enough.

The leg joints turned out to be acceptable, and I planed the top flat over a period of a couple days. You can believe me when I tell you that after you have chopped the mortises in four legs, sawed the tenons, and planed for about forty five minutes, you really become aware of the muscles in your arms. And this awareness heightens the next day. I felt like Popeye. My arms felt that big.

Here's a pic of my son sawing the first board on the new bench with the bench hook he helped me build. This is really good exercise and I hope to do it often enough to get in shape. Not building benches, but building something. I'm trying to decide what my next project is going to be.

1 comment:

Kelli said...

Wow, I really admire your determination on this project. There's a special kind of person who takes that much time to get all the details just right.