Steve, If I could build that I’d be a millionarie mate. 😀
If this was the Replica Prop Forum, there’d not doubt be lots of jokes about hand applied finishes and the need for rubbing down but I’ll leave all that to your imagination and continue my tale…
Episode Three – Time to make a stand (well, legs anyway).
I’d actually started to make the legs when I was going to make a workbench based on a design I’d found on Fine Woodworking.
We had a new extension built on our house a year ago to replace a conservatory I had built when we first moved in nearly 17 years ago. I was able salvage the roofing joists and I am using these to make the legs of my bench.
I had just about enough straight stock to be able to make all four legs (all laminated as per Paul’s video). Next came the task of flattening a face and then squaring an edge. Quite hard work but immensely satisfying when you run your square down the final right angle. I rough cut the legs to a final consistant thickness on the bandsaw and then used my Stanley No4 to take things down to final size.
I had plenty of shavings at the end of the day. Looking at the longer term, I think I’ll invest in a patio burner so I don’t have to keep taking all this stuff to the local waste depot. I’m sure they think I’m someone who’s self-employed and trying to pull a fast one on them.
I checked all my dimensions and worked out the required length of the rails for the legs. Then it was mortice chopping time. I found it quite easy to go down the first half to three quarters of an inch from both sides but after that the wood seemed to fight back. It took me longer than I anticipated to cut the mortices but I persevered and eventually all 8 mortices were cut and they were all lovely and square if a bit less crisp than I’d have liked. Cutting the tenons was great fun too: I experimented with different methods for cutting them; a half were hand sawn and the rest were chopped with chisels. I usually prefer to use chisels for this task but for some reason, the sawn tenons worked better this time.
Eventually, I was ready to fit some parts together. I pushed the tenons into their mortices and encouraged them to settle into place with my chisel hammer. I was really chuffed to find that the first leg assembly has come out dead square.
So at the end of the day, I’d managed to get one leg assembly pretty much finished (well, in sight of the finish anyway).
Just for the sake of completeness, here’s a couple of shots of the legs being made a few months back. The metal bits were pulled out of the timber before I started any work.
Next time – finishing the leg assemblies.
My son had a lot of I.T. homework today so I didn’t have much time to devote to my new workbench today. I did manage to get to other leg assembly finished though. I couldn’t resist a quick stack shot to see how things were looking. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish off the legs and get the Worktop and aprons ready so I can glue them all up next weekend. I am really surprised at how sturdy this design is: everything is just put together in these photos. Nothing has been glued yet but it still feels really robust. I can’t wait till it’s finished.
I got some more work done to my bench:
Both leg assemblies are now finished. There was a little bit of up/down wiggle room on the haunched tenons when I did my glue-up rehearsal so I decided to play safe and add a couple of wedges. Both sets of legs came out rock solid. I had lots of fun rounding over the tenons and the bottom of each leg.
I also got one of the aprons planed down before I ran out of weekend.
I couldn’t resist a quick stack shot. The legs just stand up on their own so I placed some bearer material on top and then balanced the worktop on them. The bench is coming to a height of 39 1/8″ at the moment. It feels really comfortable to lean against. I did a couple of small jobs using the stacked up bench and the height is really nice for me.
It’s really starting to come together now. I’m already planing the storage at the end of the bench.
I’ve not had much time to myself this weekend but I did manage to grab an hour or two. I’ve pretty much finished the first apron now so there’s only the second apron and the tool well to go. I made a couple of temporary wedges to try things out and have been really surprised at how solid the bench is. Just two little wedges and the bench becomes a totally ridged construction. This project is starting to fell like I’m on the home stretch now.
Still a little way to go but progress has been made. I’ve nearly finished off the second apron. It just needs final cutting to length. I’ve made two more temp wedges and this bench is solid as the proverbial rock. I’m hoping to buy the timber for the tool well next weekend then I’m on the final push. Of course, the big thing now is not to rush things just to get it finished but I’m enjoying this build so much I don’t think that will be a problem.
Looks really good Jon! I know how exciting it is for you to see it coming together. It’s tempting to rush at this stage for sure. Take your time on the final details, keep reminding yourself that this is the bench you will use for the rest of your life. In this day and age of temporary and throw away, it’s hard to get yourself to remember you are building things that will last generations. But that is exactly what we are doing!
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