Southern Yellow Pine Work Surface (workbench) #16: Oak Dowels in Screw Holes

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Blog entry by ruddhess posted 03-14-2015 01:14 AM 1766 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Rabbet Joints - Well Underway Part 16 of Southern Yellow Pine Work Surface (workbench) series Part 17: Putting On The Feet »

From my “bunk bed” screws holding the rails on while the glue dries overnight, to 5/16” oak dowels glued in enlarged holes.

Here are four more pins for the next rail.

Gluing up the top rail now using new HF 1/2” pipe clamps. At first I didn’t think they were going to work. The back clamp wanted to slide badly. But after I took some Coleman stove fuel to the pipes to remove much of that gummy, waxy finish they worked brilliantly. They are a little bit heavy, but they seem to work fine so far. I have pre-drilled (drill press so they will be perpendicular) some 3/16” pilot holes through the top and sides so that after the glue dries, I can enlarge the holes for dowel pins to match the bracing rails/stretchers.

This joint closed up nicely. Looks OK.

More dowels prepped for installation.

I put the remaining dowels in the first assembly. I skipped a step (finish drilling pilot holes in the top rail and uprights) and that was a mistake. I thought I could drill the 5/16” hole straight the rest of the way (I had gone so far as to drill 3/16” pilot holes in the top part of the joint on my drill press before gluing the pieces together.) Almost all of the 6 remaining dowel holes were crooked. One barely blew out the side of the upright (bleep!) It’s not noticeable, but I know it’s there, and I know its a mistake that I shouldn’t have made. Why do I get in such a hurry? I’ve been really taking my time sawing and chipping out the dados by hand with my sharp chisel. Then I get careless and do this. Lesson learned? I wonder sometimes.

Here is the second upright assembly (that goes with the first one to make the first saw bench/saw horse). I glued the stretcher rails up last night and used the bunk bed screws to hold it together while the glue dried. I used a little bit more glue on this one than the first one and was worried about glue getting on the screws and them being difficult to remove, but they came out very easily. These screws seem to have a plastic waxy coating on them that shows no signs of glue being able to stick to it in any way. I bought them at Lowes and they came 50 to a box for about $19. At the time I bought them I didn’t know if I was going to leave them in as a fastener or not so I bought enough to cover all the places I would put them. They were worth the money for sure – excellent screws.

And the shop as I was leaving to let glue dry until I come back. The pieces for the second saw bench/saw horse are in the background.

My new flush saw. It’s a HF buy, but it works for what I need it to. I would not use it on anything “fine” though – it’s so sharp and jagged that it wants to cut into the surrounding wood as well as the dowels. But the handle is pretty fancy looking wood! It as the best looking one on the rack and had that speckled look, so I chose this one.

Here are the screws:

Cut off oak dowels.

This is a clearer image of the dark oak dowels in contrast to the lighter yellow pine. Looks good I think.

The pattern of the grain in the oak dowels is almost checkered or speckled.

One of the finished rails.

-- Rodney, Arkansas

3 comments so far

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 2481 days

#1 posted 03-15-2015 03:29 AM

Builds coming along nicely, looking forward the final result. Are you planning on using Japanese planes with this bench?

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View ruddhess's profile


117 posts in 1821 days

#2 posted 03-15-2015 11:06 AM

Hello siavosh,

I don’t have any Japanese planes yet, so I will be using what ever I have at hand first. I did see one Japanese plane at a flea market/Antique store locally not long ago. It was described as from the 1950’s and they wanted $87 for it. I thought that was a good price, but I didn’t buy it. It probably isn’t there now at that price, but you never know. I don’t know very much about Japanese planes or woodworking tools. At another flea market I once saw two Japanese Ryoba. They were quite old and the price on each one was $17. I didn’t buy those either and when I went back to look for them again, they were gone. Like the old adage goes, “the time to buy it, is when you see it” – when it comes to a bargain and such.

-- Rodney, Arkansas

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 2481 days

#3 posted 03-16-2015 01:37 AM

Hi Rodney, I’ve taken a couple classes in Japanese woodworking and such, I’m not expert whatsoever, so take this unsolicited advice for what it’s worth. I don’t think you missed much on those two items. Vintage non-replaceable blade saws require almost a master to sharpen, from my understanding a descent job sharpening a Japanese saw is a lot harder than Western saws. In Japan, there are specialty saw sharpeners where that’s all they do (there’s fewer and fewer of them). I was always recommended to not deal with the hassle and buy replaceable blade ryoba, especially when first starting out. Gyokucho is very easy to find and respected brand.

As for planes, they’re pretty finicky to setup initially but there’s great online resources. I bought my first Kanna new, it’s an economy model that’s has performed wonderfully, all for less than $50, direct message me if you want a couple good online sources.

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