The Quest for a Better Bench #5: Mortise and Tenon Joinery... Just writing that makes me feel like a SUPER WOODWORKER!!!

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Blog entry by PlanBWoodworks posted 11-05-2017 12:56 AM 1421 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Construction begins... Part 5 of The Quest for a Better Bench series Part 6: Final Assembly and Finish!!! »

DISCLAIMER!!! THis post only contains a small portion that relates to Mortise and Tenmon Joinery. It just made me feel all tingly to include that in my title. Sorry for misleading you.

At the end of my last blog entry, my workbench top was in the glue up stage. I glued up the top in 4 sections that would allow me to combine 2 and BARELY be able to run them through the planer. I was shooting for a top that was 60” long and 25”wide. both 12 1/2” sections maxed out the capacity of my Dewalt 734 Planer, but wow, did that cut down on the sanding. Following leveling of my now 2 sections of workbench top, I glued up the entirety of the top. I did not use any dowels or biscuits in joining the separate sections, but through careful gluing, clamping and the use of cauls, I was able to get the 2 final pieces very close to perfect. A little low angle jack plane action and some sanding, and everything was perfectly aligned.

While I was waiting for the glue to dry in my various top glue ups, I began working on the base of the bench. In the second entry of this blog, I posted some photos of my previous laminated top bench, and some of those who for whatever reason actually read the blog – seriously, why would you read what I write? – pointed out that I had cut away too much of the legs in my previous bench. I didn’t use half lap joints, but rather cut away more like 2/3 of the legs. As I replied to those posts, that is one of the reasons that I love this site. I had not even noticed how much of the leg I had cut away. Obviously, I wanted to adjust that in the base for my new bench.

I cut 2×10s down to 4” wide to laminate for the legs and stretchers. My intention was for my bench to end up at 34” tall. Apparently, that is the magical height for workbenches according to my reading. That meant that my legs would need be 30 3/4” tall to end up at at 34”. As you may remember if you have punished yourself by reading my previous entries, all of my other workbenches are 40” tall. Losing 6” of height is a big adjustment for me.

Also mentioned in my previous laminated top build, I screwed up in cutting the dadoes, cutting one extra due to stupidity and failing to double check the orientation of the leg to ensure proper placement. I wanted to ensure that did not happen again. Either my skills have improved, or I got lucky, regardless, I was successful i cutting the dadoes properly. I also cut the tenons at the top of the legs at 2 3/4” as I wanted non-through tenons.

Now to the mortises. In my previous attempt to cut mortises for a workbench, I used a dull Buck Brothers chisel to cut them. This time, I went with a new mortising tool, the Porter Cable Corded Drill with a large Forstner bit. I used this to hog out the majority of the material.

Following the Porter Cable chisel, I did employ a Stanley Bailey chisel that had been properly sharpened. I CANNOT tell you how much of a difference the sharp chisel made in the cutting of the mortises. Of course, if you are reading a blog on LumberJocks, you are probably already aware.

The cutting of the mortises was something that I was pretty anxious about. Getting those cut and cleanly, was something that I was very excited about.

In the next entry, I will discuss the finishing of the top and the base, and we will assemble the bench. Thanks for reading!

-- Why can’t I ever find my pencil???

1 comment so far

View SouthavenToyMaker's profile


210 posts in 2096 days

#1 posted 11-05-2017 05:33 AM

Looking good, It always surprises me how 2 bys can look once run through the planer.

-- Sean

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