Miniature Bench #2: Legs with Feet and Mortises for Clamping to Main Workbench

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Blog entry by HappyHowie posted 02-03-2016 04:05 PM 3207 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Steve Latta's Mini Bench Plan Part 2 of Miniature Bench series no next part


My next steps were to make the legs for this mini bench. I had already glued the two plywood sheets together. I also had my cherry hardwood parts ready. I used a marking knife to define the the grooves I would cut in order to fit the plywood stretchers. The grooves would be very shallow, but enough to align the stretchers. I used a DADO setup to cut the grooves. I used test pieces first to define the depth. When I was satisfied with the saw blade depth setting I cut the grooves in each of the four legs. With the first leg I made a small mistake in not keeping the edge tightly to the rip fence towards the end of the cut.

I was attempting to get both sides of the leg assembly so the outer edges would be flush to the benchtop. I discovered why the original designer only worried about flushing the leg assemblies to the “working” side of the benchtop. It is difficult to precisely make the leg assembly flush on both sides of the benchtop. However, I did come close. I used my shoulder planes and hand chisels and paring chisel to fine tune the depth of the grooves.

Cutting the mortises on the two legs where I will clamp the mini bench to my main workbench became troublesome. I had placed a board underneath the legs but still I got tearout when plunging my mortising chisel. My choice to use a 1/2 inch hollow mortising chisel may have been the issue, or I did not select a better backer board. Whatever the issue was I ended up with tearable tearout. To overcome this without trashing the wood parts, I decided to use a roundover router bit that would “hide” the issue. It worked out to some degree. It is a shop bench, I told myself. It isn’t necessarily a fine furniture piece. It will do.

I used a different metal brush thingy to “sand” away the burn marks from my roundover router bit. In the end I also use wood rasps and sandpaper.

When I was satisfied with the fit of the stretchers within the grooves as well as the fit to each side of the benchtop, I glued and clamped each leg assembly.

After screwing on the cleats to the leg assemblies and then to the benchtop, I realized I had not drilled and place the 3/8 inch diameter dowels along the working side of this bench. I will come back later to do this step. Until then this bench is virtually completed. I have a tool rack to drill and mount at the far end, but that can be done anytime. I think I will figure out what tools I end up using most on this bench before I fasten a tool rack on it


I followed the plan’s instruction to make an accessory so I can clamp tapered legs, etc in its vise. I drilled 3/8 inch holes in the center of my vise pads. Drilling again on separate pads and then gluing and pinning a 3/8 inch dowel to one of those pads was simple to do. I will keep this accessory handy so it can be used when needed.

Smok’n Hot…

Tapered Things Can Be Clamped


So far in my limited experience I have only used paste wax on my workbench surfaces. I am wondering if I should apply something more to this cherry miniature bench. Lindseed oil? Danish Oil? thinned 50 percent? What should I do? Do any of you guys have suggestions?

-- --- Howie

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