Workbench #3: Workbench - Trestle base beginning

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Blog entry by twobyfour16 posted 04-15-2012 06:22 PM 6452 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Trestle components Part 3 of Workbench series Part 4: Stretchers »

Back at it….FINALLY!!!
Considering my last entry on this project was almost 2 years ago, I thought I had better get going. I resumed work on my workbench recently. I had most of the trestle components laminated up (legs & feet anyway), so I started working on the mortises & tennons. I started with the feet, which required 2 big mortises (1 1/2” x 2 1/4”) 2 1/2” long. I drilled most of the material out with a 1/4” drill bit followed by a 3/4” forstener bit. Cleaned up with chisels. They turned out fairly ugly, but good enough considering this was the first time I had ever done a mortis this large.

After all of the foot mortises were done, I went to the bandsaw & cut the thumbnail profile on the feet.

The top members required through mortises, which I did in the same manner as the feet – only all the way through the top member. These will be wedged tenons, the bottom tenons will be draw-bored with dowels, per the plans. The legs also required a through mortis (1” x 3 1/4”). Here are all my mortises done:

I used the table saw and band saw to cut the tenons on the legs (another first for me), and painstakingly fit them with chisels, rasp & files. I do not have a shoulder plane, unfortunately. Then back to the bandsaw to cut spaces for the wedges.

I watched a few videos online on the subject of draw-boring & was able to pull it off fairly well.

A couple of dry-assemblies, fine tuning the tenons & I was ready for glue-up. The draw-boring, by the way, was a lot of fun to do. My wedges turned out a little sloppy, but got better as I progressed. The top members are obviously going to be covered up by the bench top, so I wasn’t too concerned about how they looked – as long as they did what they were meant to.

Side note: I do not have a wood mallet, or dead blow hammer of any kind, so I put a rubber crutch foot on the flat side of my ball-peen hammer & it worked pretty well! You can see it in the picture.

I used purple heart for the wedges (because that is what I had), and although the wedged tenons look a little funky, they sure worked well & the trestle leg assemblies are rock solid!

Now…..what to do about the stretchers? The plans call for stretchers that are 1 3/4” thick x 4” wide x 50 5/8” long. I don’t have anything in my wood pile that is even close to that, so will have to go back to the laminating table! Stay tuned & thanks for checking out my project. Feedback is always welcome….

-- Allan, Portland, OR

6 comments so far

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 2812 days

#1 posted 04-15-2012 07:25 PM

Your trestle looks rock solid.

rubber crutch foot on the flat side of my ball-peen hammer
- “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”. ... very cerebral

tenons look a little funky
- Funky is in the eye of the beholder. The tenons look fine, the purple heart contrast is a nice touch.

Work Safe and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3642 days

#2 posted 04-15-2012 09:30 PM

Nicely done…................

-- mike...............

View Thinman's profile


41 posts in 3898 days

#3 posted 04-17-2012 12:14 AM

It looks awesome so far! I can’t wait to see the finished product.

-- Jeff

View sb194's profile


197 posts in 3558 days

#4 posted 04-17-2012 01:23 PM

I think the wedge tenons look great. The contrasting wood is a nice touch.

I am liking the design so far, and looking forward to the next post.

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3233 days

#5 posted 04-29-2012 11:37 PM

Incredible! Very tight tolerances.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Ben's profile


456 posts in 3397 days

#6 posted 11-09-2016 10:10 PM

Nice job man. Curious – how long are your trestle bases?

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