Workbench #11: Moving right along... finally.

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Blog entry by HungryTermite posted 12-29-2011 07:57 AM 3137 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Custom brass dowel nuts for my bench bolts Part 11 of Workbench series Part 12: Laminating the Top »

So… after almost 300 days and some major life changes since my last post (including moving and having to set up the “shop” all over again) I finally got back to my Roubo. I’ve hit the point in this project where it is starting to test the limits of my tools, my skills, my strength, and my patience. When I first started this project I tended to let the design drift to the heavier side thinking that the extra mass would be good. While this is probably true, once the bench is actually finished, it sure is making life interesting in the interim.

When I left off I had only finished 3 of the 4 legs so the first thing I did was break out the hand saws and finish the joinery for the top of the 4th leg:

The leg that I hadn’t finished yet was the front left leg which will support the leg vise. I’ve had the hardware from Lake Erie Toolworks for a really long time now so it’s finally time to get it installed. I drilled a 2-9/16” hole using a forstner bit I got from Lee Valley. I am not sure a forstner bit was really necessary but I wasn’t able to find anything else that would drill that size hole through 5” of wood:

I planned to put the vise nut into a mortise in the leg so it was recessed a little. I used the vise screw to locate the nut. In order to get the screw as close to centered in the hole as I could I wrapped the screw with masking tape until it was snug:

Then I threaded the nut onto the screw and aligned it with the leg so I could mark the leg for the mortise:

Now, I started cutting the mortise out by hand but I think I am ready to give up on trying to use my little saws to cut across 5” of wood. Not to mention I am still not very good at using them. So I hit the tablesaw and removed the waste for the mortise:

Since I don’t plan for this bench to last forever (since I am making it out of a wood that is probably too soft) I decided I would screw the vise nut on so I could remove it from this bench if I needed to in the future. I counter drilled for #10 wood screws so that the screws only had to go through about 1/2” of wood in the nut rather than the whole 4 inch thickness of the nut:

And Voila! Now I just need to find a nice piece for the vise chop:

Next, I jointed and planed the pieces for the long stretchers and went back to the tablesaw to cut the tenons on the ends. I left the tenons intentionally thicker so I could fine tune the fit into the mortise later:

I think I left the tenon a tad too thick because it took a lot of cleanup on both the mortise and the tenon. A shoulder plane would really have been a good tool to have for this but since I don’t own one I just used sand paper. After a long while I got the first tenon in! It was a bit of a tight fit but I managed to get it fit up. I’m not quite sure how to get it out by myself.

And then… There were two:

So far, I only have the two back legs done and there is still some cleanup needed to get the shoulders to sit flush against the legs but it’s really nice to see thing taking some kind of shape. While I had the stretcher installed I took the opportunity to start the hole in the end of the tenon for the bench bolts:

It’s been a fairly productive few days. I have also started preparing some of the pieces for the top and got a few pieces glued up but I will save that for another post.

It’s really good to be working on it again. I missed the smell of sawdust. :)

-- Good Judgement Comes From Experience. Experience Comes From Bad Judgement.

1 comment so far

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3459 days

#1 posted 12-29-2011 09:10 AM

Nice work on the mortise’s. i’m about at the same stage you’re at. i started this past july, and i gave up on a completion date. now i just do a little as time comes up. i couldn’t find a 2-9/16 bit had to buy a 2- 5/8 bit. maybe this weekend i’ll be able to drill the leg chop. smell the saw dust and enjoy.
Oh i forgot, are you going to glue your legs into the bench top? and run some 3/8” dowels to lock in place?

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