Mongo: my first real workbench #7: There's no turning back now...

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Blog entry by TheRiflesSpiral posted 04-14-2017 11:29 PM 1110 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: The right tools for the job... even if you have to make them. Part 7 of Mongo: my first real workbench series Part 8: Joinery: working out the legs »

I’ve been waffling back and forth about the design of the leg for the leg vice; I considered doing away with the canted legs altogether because of the complexity added at the vice but I put that out of my mind today and committed to the Moravian style legs by hogging out the biggest dovetail I think I’ll ever make.

First step was to mark the innermost surface of the leg, which will receive the rib.

When I made my square for this project (see my last blog entry) I actually made two. One I left without the bottom piece and so far I’ve used that one more than the other. (That will change when I start marking out the legs.)

Next I marked the width of the leg perpendicular to the face. (8.5”)

Next I marked where I wanted the surface of the dovetail to be then using another tool I made on the laser cutter, I marked where the dovetail detail would land at the depth I wanted.

I carried that line up and over the surface then measured 2.5” from that line and clamped a jig in place. (2.5” is the distance from the edge of my router to the surface of the bit.)

I skipped the straight bit this time; I’m not sure what possessed me to try with the dovetail bit alone but I tried it and it was able to clear chips just fine, leaving a clean, 1”x5/8” dovetail with no fuss.

I followed up with a straight bit to hog out the rest of the dado.

With all four dadoes complete, it was time to glue the aprons on. With the aprons glued in place, I’m totally committed to the canted leg design. There’s no going back now. So here’s the dado in all it’s glory on a glued apron.

And finally, the whole kit ‘n kaboodle…

I’ve been taking in various opinions about bench height; My initial idea was to follow Paul Sellers’ advice and make it fairly tall, I like working at a tall work surface and in fact our cabinets in the farm house will be 2” taller than normal because my wife and I are both pretty tall. I was thinking somewhere between 38” and 40” would be appropriate for most tasks. But then I saw Jim Tolpin's 'Sizing Workbenches' video on youtube.

While he has two benches and therefore the luxury of having a bench for each task, what he says about the height being appropriate for the task really makes sense to me. The high vise, in particular is really neat. I found plans for a high vice that slips into a leg vice so I think I’ll go that route. I guess the only thing I need to decide now is whether I go lower and build some kind of a saw bench that clamps to this bench top or if I go taller and just learn to plane at that height.

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

2 comments so far

View Rich's profile


5602 posts in 1357 days

#1 posted 04-14-2017 11:45 PM

Looks like your home made gauge is working great. Those look like nice, clean cuts. Looking forward to seeing it progress.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View TheRiflesSpiral's profile


18 posts in 1200 days

#2 posted 04-15-2017 11:02 PM

It really is… I don’t think I’ve picked up my square or tape measure since I brought it home!

-- 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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