Mere Mortal Bench, Lumber Rack and other stuff!

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Blog entry by Jeremy Greiner posted 05-23-2012 04:15 AM 3573 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As usually I’m always working on a lot of things at once and a lot has happened since my last blog post so I figured I’d jump in even though nothing new is finished.

I made some good progress on my lumber rack a week ago, here is a picture of a dry fit on the plywood shelf frame. There are 5 of these total, and originally was going to with with butt joints and screws but at the last minute changed to half laps mostly out of out of desire to not have to buy the screws :P I’m glad I did because I made the half laps super snug and they had a self squaring property that made assembly great and produced some rock solid frames.

I ran out of southern yellow pine that I’m making my lumber rack out of, so I had to get some more. I have it in my garage currently, I’m letting it sit for a week or two to let the moisture drop out a little bit. I always like to do that with the SYP I get from lowes because it just feels like it picks up a lot of surface moisture from packing and shipping.

Meanwhile I had these cut off scraps that I wasn’t about to just throw away so I decided I would make scrap blocks to use around the shop, I made a few a while back that where very helpful (until they got crushed by my jointer delivery but that’s another story).

So I paired up 8 of the scraps to make 4 blocks, I glued them together using normal tightbond and some clamps. I always make sure that one of the blocks is smaller than the other, or that it’s offset so that I maintain 1 clean edge to ride against the table saw fence. After the glue dries, I use the clean edge against the table saw fence to trim up the opposing side, and then flip it around and rip to size (2 1/2’’ if I recall). Then I use the miter gage to square up the edges and I get some nice blocks that I can use to elevate things off of my bench.

Good thing I made them, a few days ago on Saturday I decided to use them to help me with a side table I’ve been wanting to make for my living room that’s roughly the same height as my couch so my remote and soda and chips have a place to sit while I’m laying on the couch watching TV. I’ve had the wood milled for a bit, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do the legs, I tried drawing a bunch of crazy curved styles and couldn’t come up with anything I liked. On Saturday I decided I’ll go with some nice tapered legs with a traditional rail leg system. Here is a picture of the table top (cherry) and the legs, and rails.

I tapered the legs using my cheap aluminum rockler jig (as much as I like tapers, I should make a better taper jig, because I do like tapered legs), it works well enough though and got the job done. After I tapered the legs I had to cut the mortises for all the loose tenons I planned on using to join the legs and rails. I used my mortise pal for this, I have to admit I really do like my mortise pal for loose tenon joints. I just wish I could figure out some way to get dust collection to work while using it. (also a good picture of using the spacer blocks, the mortise pal doesn’t sit flat on the work bench because of the adjustment nob, so I can raise it up and leave an open gap for the adjustment nob but still clamp it down good)

I got some pretty heavy burning on some of the maple, some times I get some heavy burns on maple, it may just be the nature of using a full kerf blade on a 1 1/2HP saw I’m not sure.

But it’s not too difficult to manage now that I’ve gotten better at using my hand plane. I will say my wood river #3 smoother (only hand plane I have) makes quick work of it in a few light passes all the burning is gone.

Sunday I saw steve's bench video, and I don’t know why but I just felt compelled to build one. It looked like an easy stress free build and something I’d really enjoy making. I had been on the fence about getting a pocket hole jig for a while now (I have some light weight utility shelves and storage compartment projects I want to do that the kreg pocket hole jig would work really well with). But I had always been a snob about pocket screws, thinking that “I’m too good for pocket screws or some such garbage. I wrote a forum thread about it and the pocket hole jig received overwhelming support and it looked so easy to use in steve’s video that yesterday after work I took the plunge and get me a pocket hole jig.

I also stopped by lowes to pick up the 2×4’s and fir stripping needed for the bench build because, well I really wanted to make one! I ended up getting 1×4’s instead of 1×3’s because I plan on jointing the edges of the 1×4’s and will most likely end up 3 inches wide anyways. I milled the 2×4’s down too 1 1/4’’ by 3’’ this gives me some nice square and flat lumber to work with.

Tonight I starting building the bench and gave the kreg jig a test drive. With some cut offs I wanted to test out the jig to get a handle of it, I will say this thing is easy to use. Holy smokes, right out of the box, first joint, everything was flush and square. Color me impressed.

So I started assembling the sides of bench, I used some tightblond 3 to help keep it secured it will be outside, but in a covered area so it won’t get rained on, and it won’t have the sun bellowing down on it but it will be outside. Here is the picture of 1 side that you can’t see the pocket holes on. I tapered the legs (I mentioned I liked tapered legs right?), and rounded over part of the arm and back just to lighten it up a little.

Here is a picture of the other part where you can see the pocket holes, I think I’ll get some pocket hole fillers since I’m painting the bench anyways that way you won’t see them at all.

Next I want to sand it down with 80 grit to smooth it out, then round over all the exposed corners. Then I’ll attach the long stretches and work on adding the back. The bottom I’ll glue on and go slow and not use nails. I plan on just varnishing the seat instead of painting it to give it a really nice contrast to the dark charcoal gray paint.

My goal is to have it all ready to be painted by this weekend, lets see how well that goes.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

8 comments so far

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 4643 days

#1 posted 05-23-2012 04:41 AM

Jeremy, Jeremy,Jeremy, pocket screws? 2 by 4”s? Mere Mortal Projects? Next thing you know you’ll be drinking beer out of a can!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View hjt's profile


906 posts in 4590 days

#2 posted 05-23-2012 05:00 AM

Very good Jeremy. You certainly have a found the hobbie of woodworking to be a great fit for your life. You do nice work young man

-- Harold

View MurphyAnderson's profile


1 post in 3647 days

#3 posted 05-23-2012 05:26 AM

Oh yes definitely you are multitasking person. And woodworking is a good time pass.

box beaute

View FreshSawDust's profile


68 posts in 3781 days

#4 posted 05-23-2012 01:49 PM

A 3/8” dowel rod and a flush cut saw will make all the plugs you want.

-- TJ - Perryville, Missouri

View bondogaposis's profile


6182 posts in 3803 days

#5 posted 05-23-2012 09:04 PM

From pocket screw snob to pocket screw ho in one project! Nice work.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4142 days

#6 posted 05-24-2012 01:43 AM

Bob, You took the words right out of my mouth. Jeremy, Look how perfect and strong those half lap joints are. You used a hand plane and pocket screws in the same project. I’m sure that’s illegal somewhere. We’re just having fun with you and remember we wouldn’t tease you if we didn’t like you.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 4224 days

#7 posted 05-24-2012 05:07 AM

Ha, no problem though if it makes you feel better .. technically the hand plane was used on my end table project .. and the pocket screws are used on the bench project :P

I learned today that my flush cut saw is very pointy .. was cutting through one of the dowels I plugged the hole with and like an idiot I was holding the side down with my hand .. and as soon as I cut through .. the saw flew into my thumb.

Didn’t hurt, just poked a lot of tiny holes into my skin, then started to bleed all over the place.

Learned my lesson on that one, after I bandaged up I clamped it down and finished cutting the plugs.

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View Ben's profile


302 posts in 3782 days

#8 posted 05-24-2012 05:39 AM

I bought the Kreg mini jig just to try it out. I tried a few on scrap like you did and they do work quite well. Once I have a project that I use more than a few, I know I’ll end up getting the full set

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

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