Woodworker's Journal 2007-Winter, страница 15


Building a bench like this is an enjoyable process made up of many simple steps. A craftsman worthy of such a bench will be able to make it with ordinary hand and power tools. The benchtop is very heavy once it is glued up, so you'll want to have a helper on hand when you need to maneuver it around your shop.

Building the Base

The base of this bench consists of two leg trestles connected by two heavy rails that support a storage shelf. (For details, see the Exploded View Drawings on page 16.)

The first thing you must do is determine how high you want your bench to be and size the legs accordingly. For hand planing, the ideal height is generally considered to be the height of your palms from the floor when your arms are at your sides. This height allows you to make the best use of your body weight to push a hand plane down. For chiseling and other bench work, you can put blocks under the feet to raise the height a couple of inches. To determine the overall length of the legs, subtract 6/2" from the overall bench height.

The legs are connected to the top rails with through-wedged mortise and tenon joints and to the foot rails with fox-wedged mortise and tenon joints. (See the Drawings on page 16 and the photo on page 17.) The

shorter tenons may be cut on the table saw, using a tenoning jig for the vertical cuts; but the longer ones are best cut on the band saw, as demonstrated in the bottom photo at right.

Use a cardboard template to lay out the curves on the feet and the top rails. Cut the curves on a band saw and smooth them out with a light pass on the disk sander, but don't cut out the recesses on the bottom of the feet until you have made all the mortises.

Cut the mortises for this bench with a mortising attachment on a drill press (see top photo, right), but you could drill them out with a brad-point or Forstner bit and clean them up with chisels if you don't have a mortiser.

Before you glue up the trestles, mortise the legs for the stub tenons of the stretcher rails that connect the trestles. Drill a 1/2" hole through the center of each mortise for the hex bolts that will join the rails to the legs. Dry-assemble the rails to the legs and drill the long holes into the ends of the rails. Rout or mortise a pocket about 3J8" from the shoulder of each rail for a hex nut. Frank usually makes this pocket oversize, in order to get fingers or pliers in there to hold the nut in place. Finally, glue up the trestles (see the photo on page 17) and set them aside until the top of the bench is completed.

Winter 2007

Mortise the feet before cutting out the recesses on the undersides. Here the author uses a mortising attachment on a drill press.

Cut the shorter bottom tenons of the legs and the stub tenons of the rails with a tenoning jig on the table saw. Use the band saw for shaping the through tenons, as shown here.


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