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Split Top Saw Bench

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Project by Fotodog posted 06-13-2021 03:14 AM 1122 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello All,
I have often thought that a low, solid bench would be very useful in the shop, so I looked at a lot of images and came up with a design I liked. The original plan was to attach the tops to the legs with box joints, but since I have wanted to learn how to hand cut dovetails, I decided that now was the time.

Learning in 5/4 hard maple was not the most logical decision since it is so unforgiving, but I practiced 7 or 8 joints in 3/4 poplar until I started feeling comfortable. I tried several techniques, and ended up cutting the tails first on the tablesaw and finishing with a chisel. The pins were cut in the traditional way with a hand saw. My first attempts were with my Japanese saw, but I wasn’t getting the results I liked and I ordered Rob Cosman’s dovetail saw. What a difference! Easy to start, cuts quickly, easier for me to keep a straight cut. The joints aren’t perfect, but I’m on my way.

I finished with my new favorite finish, Osmo Polyx. It’s easy to apply once you learn to go lightly, feels great to the touch, and doesn’t yellow maple like many finishes.

I know that many of you might think it a waste of time to put so much effort into a piece of shop furniture, but I view every project i build as a learning opportunity and I learned a lot on this build. Thanks for looking!

-- Tim





10 comments so far

View Calmudgeon's profile

Calmudgeon

515 posts in 2646 days


#1 posted 06-13-2021 05:26 AM

If those are your first dovetails, then I’d say you’re off to a hell of a start. Nice work.

-- "As are the things we make, so are we ourselves." - Lin Yutang

View pottz's profile

pottz

20224 posts in 2203 days


#2 posted 06-13-2021 05:42 AM

not my kind of bench but too each his own needs.man you say your a beginner at dovetails id like too see what you can do with some experience under your belt,those are beautiful to say the least!

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

8666 posts in 1793 days


#3 posted 06-13-2021 05:47 AM



If those are your first dovetails, then I d say you re off to a hell of a start. Nice work.

- Calmudgeon

Absolutely.

It’s a nice saw bench.

-- Think safe, be safe

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

2757 posts in 820 days


#4 posted 06-13-2021 10:54 AM

Those dovetails look great! I am with you on over doing shop furniture. I need stuff in the shop and I need practice so why not.

View Fotodog's profile

Fotodog

78 posts in 998 days


#5 posted 06-13-2021 01:35 PM

Thanks for the nice comments guys. You should have seen some of the first test pieces, they were pretty hideous! And in full confession, these had some small gaps here and there when I first fit them together. They didn’t exactly look like they came off the bench of Rob Cosman or Paul Sellers. I made a thin shim for one spot. But I discovered that just the act of planing the pins and tails flush magically closed up most of the small gaps. Any other small areas filled in when I sanded with glue.

-- Tim

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26664 posts in 4324 days


#6 posted 06-13-2021 09:28 PM

Very nice joinery!.....................Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View drsurfrat's profile

drsurfrat

986 posts in 405 days


#7 posted 06-13-2021 10:15 PM

I know that many of you might think it a waste of time to put so much effort into a piece of shop furniture…

I think you will find that the opposite is true. Most here will think, ‘if you’re doing it in wood, do it right’. You did it right.

How is this intended be used? clamp a board and saw through the split? Something else?

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View drsurfrat's profile

drsurfrat

986 posts in 405 days


#8 posted 06-14-2021 12:56 AM

Wow, I just looked at your photo site. Meticulous perfection runs through all of it.

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View Fotodog's profile

Fotodog

78 posts in 998 days


#9 posted 06-14-2021 02:18 AM

Thanks again! Mike, you must not have read the thread that was posted asking about finishing sawhorses. It was quite entertaining, with lots of guys thinking that finishing a sawhorse or similar shop items a waste of time.

The purpose of the split top was originally meant for hand sawing with a knee resting on the workpiece and the saw going in the split so the piece is fully supported. Although I don’t do a lot of hand sawing since I’m a hybrid woodworker, I figured I might as well build it this way for those occasions. And I appreciate your comment about my photography. It’s been a great career which is winding down, so more time for woodworking (and golf).

-- Tim

View swirt's profile

swirt

6536 posts in 4190 days


#10 posted 06-14-2021 02:47 AM

Nice work on the joinery. You will find it very useful and may wish you had two.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

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