Mongo: my first real workbench #5: Completion of the ribs and a start to the aprons

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Blog entry by TheRiflesSpiral posted 04-10-2017 02:18 PM 1142 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: My Springfield Trip Part 5 of Mongo: my first real workbench series Part 6: The right tools for the job... even if you have to make them. »

This weekend was consumed primarily with installing a dog door and a ceiling/lighting in the breakfast nook off the kitchen of the farmhouse. I did get a couple of hours to steal away to the shop though.

“Last picture first” isn’t that what all the cool kids are doing these days?

The first order of business was to re-cut the ribs I tried to make on the router table. I used the table saw but I’ve never been very good at (accurate) with a miter gauge nor am I confident that the angle of the blade doesn’t change when raising/lowering the blade in my saw. It’s something I’ve experienced with another 113 of similar vintage but I haven’t had the opportunity to measure mine to see if it has the same malady.

So instead, I bought a digital miter gauge and set it to work. First to “calibrate” it on the table:

Now to see how accurate my 90° stop is set…

Only joking. It was about half a degree off so I adjusted it using the digital gauge and re-checked it with my machinists square… perfect.

Now I set the angle to 14°, well, actually 76° (90-14… there’s a lot of that on a table saw…)

You can see the reference piece I cut using the dovetail bit in the router. I ended up referring to it a lot as I cut my next ribs.

The table saw cut ones came out much nicer than the router table ones.

Also, cutting them on the table saw allowed me to do some clever re-shaping of the dovetail to fit the groove more tightly. Remember how I cut them in two steps and accidentally set the guide incorrectly, making them slightly tighter on one end? Using the table saw I set the fence for the widest part of the groove, take a pass, sneak up on a mid point between the widest and narrowest piece then take 2/3 of a pass, then finally set it to the narrowest portion and take 1/3 of a pass. The result was a nice snug fit all the way down the groove.

And then these monstrosities:

These have a face 18° to the sides to match the angle of the legs. If they were 90° to the table, I wouldn’t be able to slide the legs over them. I recorded the sequence of cuts so I would have it for instructions if I ever offered plans for this bench… it was not a trivial task; each cut required an angle and depth adjustment and then just one pass over the blade.

On to the aprons!

First I tapped the ribs over far enough to make room for the apron to sit on the top then marked out their locations.

Then I clamped them to my table saw and hogged out the majority of the half mortise with a router and then chop chop chop with a chisel to get them to size. They aren’t perfect but they don’t have to be… it’s on the underside.

Test fit for depth and I’m ready to clamp it down for marking of the dado for the legs! (top picture)

Next update will be roughing out the legs, cutting dadoes in the apron and mortising the top for the legs.

-- Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

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