a 21st century bench with engineered wood #4: forming rails and solid wood diversions

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Blog entry by metolius posted 08-13-2020 02:22 AM 404 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: forming legs and standing it up Part 4 of a 21st century bench with engineered wood series Part 5: leg sandwiches »

Bob Lang’s bench joins rails to legs with very big dovetails for knockdown as illustrated here.

From my experience of mortising plywood described in my last entry on this thread, I put chisels aside and attacked these dovetails with a router template. The angled offcuts from the template making were handy for clamping and replicating the angle for machine setup.

All came out with symmetry.

The rails are embedded into the legs as a 3 layer plywood sandwich.
The lower rail is wedged in the middle, the upper rail bolts to the outside.

Roughly like this

Everything fit together well. But, I came to a point of decision that I have been anticipating. I can not construct everything here in plywood and be happy about it. The mating surfaces of the dovetails would wear out; my concrete floor would be unkind to longevity of the feet; plywood vise chops ? maybe it would work, but no.

So, for practicality, this is isn’t going to be 100% engineered wood.

I picked up a 10 foot board of 8/4 hickory.

Cross cut it into thirds: 2/3 for vise chops, 1/3 for creating end caps for surfaces that will experience friction like the dovetail joints, feet, and tenon wedges.

Here, I am jointing an edge to prepare it for the table saw.

I have an old ryobi bt3100 that had to take it very slow. After a bit, I was working with smaller pieces like these 28 small end caps for the dovetail joints.

This is the upper rail.

This is the lower rail that is still incomplete. The block of hickory here is waiting to be cut into wedges.

After that is done and fitted, the plywood sandwich legs will glue up.

-- derek / oregon

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213 posts in 1582 days

#1 posted 08-13-2020 11:01 PM

I thought it might be another week or so before I could get back to it, but I found some time to form the wedges.

Now I can focus on tying it all together.

-- derek / oregon

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