The pic below shows the top and the wood that I will
use in this project. The wood has been collected
over the last year.
For shop projects I donít usually buy the
materials, but try to use what I have, what I can repurpose, or
can find from others discards. The first thing I found was the
top. It is a high pressure laminated countertop that a cabinet
maker in my building no longer wanted.
The leg stock is Douglas fir 4◊4ís that I have
had for many years. The oak board is door sill stock that I got
from an estate cleanout several years ago. It will now be used
for a shelf.
In this case I did buy a Douglas fir 2x10x8′ board
because I needed apron stock and wanted to begin the project so
I spent a few dollars on that. The final dimensions for the
bench were driven by the already existing top which is 24 1/4″ x
Today I finalized several key dimensions. Using
the chair that will be used with this bench the minimum
clearance under the benches apron was determined that would
allow my legs to go under the bench.
The location of the saw
tooth line when being sharpened was determined also using the
chair. I placed a saw in my workbenches front vise and, using
the chair, the vertical position of the saw was adjusted until a
comfortable height for tooth filing was achieved. These critical
dimensions along with some
measurements from the vise gave me
the information needed to determine the length of the legs and
the height of the aprons.
The rest of the day I spent breaking down,
jointing, and milling the stock for the bench base to S4S final
size. As you can see in the pic above I stand my project stock
on edge on stickers keeping it spaced apart to allow air
Never lay your freshly milled wood flat on your
bench top. It can inhibit moisture loss from the face in contact
with the bench top causing the board to cup. I have had this
happen. Tomorrow the lengths will be cut as will the joinery.
And hopefully glue-up can be done next day.
I started joinery with the legs. They are 3″ x
3″ Douglas Fir and the first operation was to cut them to their
final length on the table saw. The height of the blade was set
to just over the center of the legs and cuts on opposite sides
completed the cut.
Next, holes were drilled in the bottom of the
legs to accommodate T-nuts and threaded rubber feet to allow for
leveling the bench for use.
This is a feature that I frequently
use because I have never seen a level, flat floor and I hate
when things roll off my work surface.
The legs were too long to
get into my drill press so I drilled them by hand. Sighting down
2 squares using a hand drill or a brace will give you a very
Then it was time to cut the mortises.
There are sixteen 1/2″ x 3″ mortises to cut so I
brought out my benchtop mortiser and it made quick work of the
task. I always cut mortises first and fit the tenons to them.