Workbench Build - Splayed leg French Bench #18: The Shelf

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Blog entry by Mauricio posted 01-20-2013 03:34 AM 3184 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 17: Leg Vise Part 2 Part 18 of Workbench Build - Splayed leg French Bench series Part 19: Drawbore Assembly »

I’m surprised at how much progress I’ve made since the last blog, especially since this part was pretty hand tool intensive. The following is the process I went through the make the lower shelf.

I had a bunch of rough sawn Red Oak that was perfect to use up on the shelf. I’m done making furniture out of Red Oak so I really wanted to burn through it all with this bench build.

So I got a nice workout two days ago with the wooden Fore, Scrub, and Stanley #5.

I got these boards flat enough on one side to run through the thickness planer. But before that I scrubbed the other side to remove the dirty exterior to save the planet knives from the wear.

A couple of the boards were kind of narrow so I edge jointed them two at a time while they were still in their rough state. I put a slight hollow in them which made for a nice spring joint.

This was my first time trying this technique. It worked great! The joints were so good that all I needed was one clamp in the center. I also used a couple of spring clamps on the ends to help with alignment.

After all the boards were flattened and run through the planner I jointed one edge with the #7 and made the other edge parrallel on the Table Saw. Now for some fun with the old Stanley #45!

But before that I removed the the machine marks with the #4

I wanted to do a beaded shiplap on the boards, because The Schwarz did it :-), but also because it made sense to allow for expansion and contraction while adding a little style. I also like the fact that the bead does have a practical purpose. It rounds over the edge which makes it stronger, otherwise the edge would eventually chip and you would see it any way. So instead of hiding it, accentuate it and add a decorative detail.

I tested it out first on some scrap. This is my first time trying out the #45. It worked fine, it took some fettling to get the depth of cut just right. But the results were satisfactory.

Now for the real thing. I don’t have the wagon vise installed yet and the dogs are not quite close enough to the edge but that didn’t stop me at all. There are so many ways to secure work on this bench!

I ran all the beads on one edge of each board.

Then cut rabbets with two cuts on the TS for the other edge. Funny how you tend to forget to use your brain when you run boards through machines. At least I do. You can see in this pic that I ran the wrong face along the fence on many of these boards which undercut the bead a little too much. Oh well, hope they hold up!

This morning I cut, aligned, and screwed on the cleats for the shelf. No pics of this boring process. The only tricky part was putting a 15 degree angle on the back cleats. I just laid it out and planed them down to the line with my #5. It was a very quick process.

Then I shot the front edge of each board with the new #62, still with the factory edge on it. I haven’t stopped to sharpen yet but it still slices end grain like a champ. Then on the back end of the board I cut a 15 degree angle so it would match the back stretcher and legs. Sorry no pics of this.

And the result!!!??? Drum roll please!!!........


From the back:

I really like how it came out. I’m glad I didn’t skimp on this part of the bench or procrastinate and leave it for later. I really think it completes the bench.

I had planned on putting the shelf at the bottom of the stretcher the way Roy Underhill and Schwarz did. But I don’t plan on putting a lid on it to make it a tool chest. At this point I just want an open shelf. And if I ever do decide to put a low cabinet down there then the shelf is already good to go flush with the top of the stretchers

So the bench is practically done.
Next I will take it apart, smooth all surfaces
Tweak a few minor details
Then I will drill for the drawbore pegs
I want to make a drawbore pin, I know I don’t really need it, but I just want to. And I already bought all the parts for it.
Flatten the top again
Apply the Oil/Varnish blend
Glue on leather pads on both vises.

Martin Luther King day on Monday which means no work, so hopefully I get some more shop time in this weekend.

Thanks it for now folks, thanks for watching!


-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

22 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 3137 days

#1 posted 01-20-2013 03:49 AM

Looks amazing. I like the picture of the bench with all the stuff on it and shavings on the floor. That is what mine always looks like…no room for work because of all the stuff. I need a bench for stuff, and a bench for work…or maybe just better organization?

Great build.

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3690 days

#2 posted 01-20-2013 03:53 AM

LOL, thanks! I should have cleared it off before the pics. I did clear it off afterwards but I just couldnt wait to take the pics. I gess I have to leave something for the imagination for the final reveal. Hey but now I have the bench on the wall for all the crap and the new bench for the actual work.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View AnthonyReed's profile


10108 posts in 2979 days

#3 posted 01-20-2013 04:38 AM

Spectacular Mauricio. I have loved watching you bring this bench into being. You are a tenacious fellow and a hell of a craftsman. Thanks sharing it with us.

-- ~Tony

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3490 days

#4 posted 01-20-2013 04:40 AM

Great progress. You’re so close. You really upped the game with those beaded ship-laps. My bench is always a mess, unfortunately. My garage is also a hot mess.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View ksSlim's profile


1302 posts in 3429 days

#5 posted 01-20-2013 04:59 AM

Hell of a nice job.
Your craftsmanship is not too shabby for an advanced apprentice.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View Mosquito's profile


9930 posts in 2831 days

#6 posted 01-20-2013 05:00 AM

Push it all into the tool tray! It’s looking really great..

Also, the bead on the joint helps to hide the joint, in that the line between boards is then more hidden by being at the edge of the bead instead of by itself.

I should post it in the workbench thread instead of here, but I’m already typing here…
I was thinking the other day about the Veritas/Lee Valley inset vise. I’d have to deepen the recesses for that every time I flattened the bench… which would involve taking it out, etc etc… annoying

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Brit's profile


7828 posts in 3381 days

#7 posted 01-20-2013 08:43 AM

You’re making such a great job of that bench Mauricio. I’ve always loved boards with a beaded edge and that is a great place to add that detail. I’m really excited to see it with the finish on. It is going ot look fabulous.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View terryR's profile


7546 posts in 2847 days

#8 posted 01-20-2013 01:45 PM

Awesome, Mauricio! Every little detail is pleasing to the eye. What a nice tool you’ve built…a bench to be quite proud of, IMO! That beaded ship lap shelf is the bee’s knee’s!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Don W's profile

Don W

19368 posts in 3106 days

#9 posted 01-20-2013 01:56 PM

its such a unique bench. Super job. The first picture is definitely calendar material.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View lysdexic's profile


5291 posts in 3162 days

#10 posted 01-20-2013 02:07 PM

Excellent Mauricio! Love it. What is going to be fun is watching the grain of that chop come alive and contrast with the rest of the bench with that first swipe of finish.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - out_of_focus1.618

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3690 days

#11 posted 01-20-2013 03:07 PM

Thanks Tony, Brandon, Don & Slim.

Mos, thanks, but the tool tray is already full! LOL. Your right that’s just another good reason for the bead.

Brit, I actually never liked “bead board” before, but then I’ve only ever seen the fake stuff at the hardware store. Understanding the purpose for the decoration has made me appreciate it more.

Thanks Trerry, I guess the trick is adding little details without overdoing it. Hopefully I’ve done that.

Scott, thanks, I agree. The round over on the chop created a pretty neat domed grain pattern at the top. Also the grain kind of flows around the screw hub. Also I can’t wait to see how the quarter sawn top pops!

Thanks again for all the comments guys and for following along. It’s been great to be able to share it with fellow bench lovers.

And I look forward to seeing all the benches you guys are in the process of building.

I’ll take some pics of the bench cleared off. I cant stop opening the garage door and looking at it. ;-)

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3690 days

#12 posted 01-21-2013 02:24 AM

Here are some way better pictures using my wife’s Nikon. What a difference! I’m sorry that I’ve been torturing you guys with all those crappy blackberry pictures.

Here it is with the top cleared off.

And a couple of low light pics of the shelves. I was trying to pop the beads a little with the shadows.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Dave's profile


11434 posts in 3379 days

#13 posted 01-21-2013 03:06 AM

Very nice. It will hold up just fine.
High on the galoot scale.
Have you named your bench yet?

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View Mosquito's profile


9930 posts in 2831 days

#14 posted 01-21-2013 03:17 AM

looks great!

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View KOVA's profile


1362 posts in 2917 days

#15 posted 01-21-2013 03:19 AM



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