Workbench #6: Dry fit time

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Blog entry by KellyS posted 09-10-2009 02:00 PM 1551 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Planning for the Big Day Part 6 of Workbench series Part 7: Finish line is in sight!...Maybe. Are they ever completely finished? »

So, I took Friday off to work on my bench some and to get away from work. I ended up having a great day and being actually productive too. I got up early just like I was going to work, early in the morning I laid all my mortises and tenons out while everyone was sleeping trying to make the most of the day. I was plenty apprehensive about cutting these mortises because this was all the scrap poplar I had left and all the other mortises I cut in the past had been abominations. I set everything up on the drill press carefully and clamped a fence to keep all my cuts along the same axis. Got out my fostner bits, chucked up and went to town making chips. Everything turned out great! I’m ecstatic; I’ve never cut a good mortise before now! Time to clean them up and I’ll be good.

Once upon a time, I thought chisels were ready to go right off the shelf….Boy was I wrong! What a difference a good sharp chisel makes in chopping out a mortise. I’m even using these 10.00/set plastic handled things that pose as chisels from some Harbor freight like store and they’re still cutting so much better than anything I’ve ever used. It didn’t take long to clean them all up and I was off to cut the tenons to match. Several years ago, I bought a tenon cutter jig for my saw, but I’ve not had a chance to use it much till now. I cut all the cheeks first on the Miter express so everything was nice and crisp and square, then I finished them all on the tenon jig. Every thing fits nice and snug like I hoped, very little adjusting needed for a good fit. Wow, how did I get that lucky? Well, here I have a stack of parts, the sun has set and its time to spend a little quality time with the spouse.

Saturday we went up to Cartersville, GA. for “Pioneer Days” to support our friends who had a booth there. I glued up a bunch of small scrap poplar butcher block for their leather stamping booth for the kids. Where’s all the “Pioneer” stuff??? What a bust, and a waste of a day other than spending it with the misses. Sunday we took the day off for a family reunion. I was starting to get ancy about my tenons, I still don’t have everything put together, and I was beginning to worry that they would curl up if I didn’t go ahead and finish. We got home Sunday night and I drilled all my dowel holes and finished fitting everything together to keep it from warping.

Monday morning early, time to Labor on Labor day! I brought my top out to the porch to work on it some more and so I could chop out the mortises in it. Rescued it just in time from our living room floor, my wife was looking for a saw and mumbling incoherently about cutting boards and “one for her and one for her mom and one for the neighbor”. It was close guys…close!

I’m a little overweight, which most of the time really stinks. (I know, only I can change that.) but I tell you, a big beer belly makes a dang good fulcrum some times, and in a pinch makes a pretty good transmission jack. Who needs 8 minute abs when you have a top like this?

More pictures to come tonight.

-- He who dies with the most tools wins!.....Just wait, I'm going to win!..ERR my wife will at least.

4 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8552 posts in 4191 days

#1 posted 09-10-2009 03:43 PM

looks great. a good writeout!

I too sometimes have the fear that the parts that I milled and are standing in the shop will miraculously curl up and twist if I don’t get to them quickly… lol… so far it has never happened (except for some scrap 3/8” material that was WET before milling)

sharp chisels are a wonderful thing. enjoy the rest of the adventure!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

6707 posts in 3737 days

#2 posted 09-10-2009 06:14 PM

The bench looks like it’s coming along nicely. Good and stout from the pixs. Ain’t it fun to build your own workbench, and all of the rest of your shop furniture? I build custom furniture for folks, and I’d much rather build shop furniture, and things to fill it up with!!! It’s all needed in the long run, and can’t do w/o any of it.
Have fun, and hide the saw from the wife. Rick D.

-- " Old age will sneak up on you too quickly, so stay as active as you can".

View a1Jim's profile


117746 posts in 4120 days

#3 posted 09-10-2009 06:17 PM

Good progress Kelly look forward to more.

View KellyS's profile


78 posts in 3775 days

#4 posted 09-10-2009 06:55 PM

When I began this project, I was planning on buying the top from Grizzly Industrial instead of making it. I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. My wife talked me into trying to build one first and if it didn’t come out then buy it. I’m not a prideful person, but I have to say I’m very proud of the way it’s turned out. I’m more proud of how it’s turned out than I would be if I had purchased the top. Up until yesterday I had nothing but time in the lumber I’ve used. It all came from sheet metal skids where I work. I’ll detail one of my problems tonight and the expenditure of fifty dollars on 3 boards… my wife was in shock. My wife is spoiled, she has no idea what hardwood costs when its finished and sized, especially from a big box store, all this free wood has her spoiled.
More to come later.

-- He who dies with the most tools wins!.....Just wait, I'm going to win!..ERR my wife will at least.

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