Workbench #5: Making the foundation

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Blog entry by yuri posted 03-15-2011 04:27 PM 2578 reads 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Demolition! Part 5 of Workbench series Part 6: Finishing The Base »

I still keep the pace in building my workbench. Started to prepare legs and stretchers.
I cut the legs to final length and removed corner from top of the legs, that portion will support bench top. If you remember how bench top is done, you will understand how they will fit. For that I used my shop made tenoning jig.

and little bit closer.

I cut tenons in the small stretchers similarly

Checked if stretcher’s length is OK, it turned out as I wanted.

Started to work on mortises in bench legs. I used my drill press with forster bit to remove majority of material and the rest is done by chisel. I used Some wood block as a guide to make clean sides in the mortises.

I attached the guide with clamps.

I never used the guides before, but that time I thought they could help, because mortises are pretty large. I really like that technique and will use it in future.

I think I got it right ;-)

Next step is drill holdfast holes in legs. I decided to do it only in front legs. For now I plane to put my bench against a wall and I am not going to work at back side. Again, I used my drill press for that

It was not that straight forward as I expected. The forstner bit is 3/4” and chips clogged the drill pretty quickly and I have to get the drill out of the hole and stop drill press for cleaning.

It took me a while to finish the legs. Besides the bit is not long enough.

The rest I am going to finish with hand drill

I had little bit longer forstner bit than I used in drill press. I could not use it at first step, my drill press has pretty good range, but still not enough to use advantage of longer bit.

Even longer forstner bit is not long enough to complete the job and I did not have anything longer. But I found the solution

I did not drill all the way through to keep hole entry clean, but deep enough to mark center of the hole to work from other side.

Finally it is done

Now I decided to cut long stretcher to final size, I measured and cut first one. As soon I did that I realized that I forgot to add couple inches for short tenons. Aggrr… OK, I went out of my shop to drink some water and cool of from what I did. I am glad I did and I got the idea how to fix it. Loose tenon! I think that is right term. I got back to work. I used router for the work. Made a template.

and cut a mortise

Hmm, it came out pretty neat, huh?

The tenons are not long, because I am going to attach stretchers and legs with long bolts and the tenons are used for alignment only, they will not be glued.

Stay tuned.

6 comments so far

View CrossGrain (Josh)'s profile

CrossGrain (Josh)

64 posts in 3650 days

#1 posted 03-15-2011 04:47 PM

Great work Yuri! I’ll be doing similar with my bench legs as soon as I get them all glued up.

-- Josh, Virginia ,

View GaryD's profile


623 posts in 4002 days

#2 posted 03-15-2011 06:39 PM

Yuri, great recovery!! This thing is ging to be a monster when you get finished. One thing for sure it will be sturdy. Good Job.

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

View Bertha's profile


13575 posts in 3325 days

#3 posted 03-15-2011 06:49 PM

Outstanding. That router jig worked really well for that mortise. That big boy’s going nowhere.

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

View yuri's profile


136 posts in 4235 days

#4 posted 03-15-2011 06:59 PM

it will be sturdy, at least it is what I am to. This past weekend I was at woodshow and saw commercial workbenches. Sure they look nice but they do not stay rock solid on the floor. One with adjustable height. Great concept, but if you lean on a top, it will shake. Or another one owned by Washington DC woodworking guild. They have some of the Sjobergs. It looks gorgeous! Nice and THICK top, great vises …. and all that is resting on unproportionally sized weak legs. Like a giant bodybuilder who disregarded his legs. Good thing doing your own bench, you can make it as you want.

View Julian's profile


1534 posts in 3323 days

#5 posted 03-15-2011 09:31 PM

Great photos. I just finished a workbench and having thick, sturdy legs is a must.
Look forward to seeing your finished bench.

-- Julian

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3806 days

#6 posted 03-15-2011 09:34 PM

GREAT pictures.

GREAT job on your mortises AND tenons.

How many people will it take to MOVE that bench ? Those are some BEEFY legs … and I mean that as a GOOD thing :-)

Wonderful post. I’ll have to look at the rest of your blog.

-- -- Neil

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