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Woodworking Workbench
Old 03-20-2019, 05:58 PM
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Default Woodworking Workbench

For years, I've been threatening to make a 'proper' workbench. I have begun the task, and it was requested that I post some pictures about the process. I'm about half finished with it. I still have to install the vises (face http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/pag...=1,41637,41659, and tail http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/pag...=1,41637,41659), and install the top onto the legs.

I decided to follow this fellow's plans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va8tlFpnhRg&t=376s. I have completed the top, the legs, and mortising the top to receive the leg tenons. Here are the requested pictures.

These are the individual pieces of poplar (4" wide by 1.5" thick) that I used to make up the top. This is the initial positioning before glueup to determine the best arrangement.

This is the glueup and clamping of a pair of the individual boards. I did not use his methods for glueup. Instead, I glued the boards up in pairs, then two pairs, then four pairs, etc., until I was gluing up two pieces made up of 9 boards each.

This is glueup of two 4-piece laminations.

After all of the boards making up the top are glued into one unit (4" x 26.5" x 72") it is necessary - no matter HOW careful you are - to flatten, (not "level"), the top and bottom surfaces. I used both a router for the "rough" stuff, and planes for the final smoothing. The router sat on a sled that in turn rested on the two rails you see outboard of the long sides of the top.

Next comes cutting mortises in the bottom of the benchtop to receive the tenons that get cut into the legs. Also, the stretchers that run from leg-to-leg need gluing up and tenons cut in their ends.


While glue is called for in some mortise and tenon joinery, for 'big stuff' like this bench, trying to get all of the mortises and tenons together WITH GLUE, in a timely manner, (before the glue starts to set), argues for a different method - draw boring. Holes are drilled in the sides of the mortised piece WITHOUT the tenon inserted. Then, holes are drilled in the tenons - JUST SLIGHTLY out of concentricity with the holes in the corresponding mortise. Then, because of the excentricity, when dowels are driven into the holes the tenon is drawn TIGHTLY into the mortise. The joint is actually stronger than a glue-only joint in things as big as this bench.

Here are the legs completely assembled. I'm waiting on the vises to arrive in the mail so that I can inlet the face vise into the bottom and side of the benchtop BEFORE I set the top on the leg assembly.

I'll probably have some pictures of the process of installing (mortising) the face and tail vises. Once those are complete, I'll apply a finish (first shellac to seal the pores followed by a polyurethane/"oil" final coat), and call it good. I MAY sell it almost immediately and purchase the materials to make one 7 feet long. (This one is 6 feet long.) I will wait to see how a 6-ft bench works for what I do most.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

"We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." ~ C.S. Lewis.

Do not confuse technical skill for wisdom and do not confuse strength for skill. Paul Skvorc
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