Workbench drawbore tenons?

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    Michael Geiger

    I’m busy building my PS workbench (solid wood not ply) and have limited clamps.
    Just started cutting my mortises and got to wondering if I can do draw bored tenons (have never attempted this – it’s my first foray into cutting m&t).

    Does anyone have any advice as to whether I should do this and if so, if there are any tips to not mess it up? I’ve watched the videos on draw boring and it seems simple enough. But you never know till you try…


    Why not?

    I used pins on my bench made over 20 years ago (used as a main bench since) and I have a solid Oak dining table, seven feet long without any screws other than those that hold the turn-buttons that was made at about the same time. Drawn joints have been used for centuries in wooden buildings and even ships – same technique, but magnified in size.

    Unless you have an absolute requirement to incorporate bolts to dismantle the bench for moving at a later date, there is no reason to use any other method. Indeed, drawn pins in a dry mortise/tenon can be knocked out and replaced, otherwise use glue on all the joints and it will be completely solid. I’d recommend that the top is made as a separate piece and then bolted down to the frame. This allows the weight to be controlled to two main pieces.

    If you intend using bench-dogs or hold-fasts, keep the top at least 2 inches (50 mm) thick.

    It’s important that all the components are at the same moisture content and that the joints fit to the point where they is no sideways movement, though not so tight as to require force to assemble them.

    The best method there is. Good luck

    Larry Geib

    Sure, go for it. For softwoods, offset holes maybe 1/16”. The wood will give that much on a bench. Hardwoods will require closer holes. I did it on my white oak bench legs years ago. Still solid.

    Try to find some green wood for the pins, or at least the wettest of the lumber yard stuff. ( I went to the woodshed ) The wood needs to be bendable. And chamfer the end that goes in first and keep driving until the chamfered bit sticks through. Cut off later. A steel drift pin helps get things together if you don’t have at least one clamp.

    Michael Geiger

    Thank you gentlemen

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