Workbench Build. Mortise chopping and dovetail sliding.
Now that the tenons for the legs of my bench are cut, it’s time to get busy with the mortises and sliding dovetails. I have been really timid in approaching this because of my limited experience and my lack of tools. I really wanted everything to fit just so with no visible gaps like a piece of fine furniture. Then I got over it and just decided to put the !@#$ing thing together. It’s just a workbench that is going to have the crap beat out of it on a regular basis. (If i am lucky)
First I drilled out the bulk of the mortise with a people powered drill. I don’t have enough batteries for my drill to handle this type hard hittin’ wood removal. It was a good workout though.
Then it’s time to chop out the rest of the wood and try to make everything square. I started on one side of the benchtop then flipped the thing over to try and meet in the center of the mortise, which is not so easy being that weighs over 100lbs. (guessing) This was an attempt at preventing one side of the mortise from being “blown out”. What I found, however, was despite my attempts at lining everything up so that my cuts would meet in the center and in line with each other, I somehow managed to get off coarse and now I had a “ledge” in the middle of the mortise. I cleaned it up with a bench chisel but now I am doubting the the legs are going to just slip into place.
Next I grabbed my Japanese style pull saw and cut the profile of the sliding dovetails and then used a bench chisel to cut out the waist. I did this the same as the mortises, starting on one side then finishing up on the other, trying to avoid blowing out one side.
Then I cleaned everything up with bench chisels, rasps, beer and lots of swearing.
This is where my lack of experience really rears it’s ugly head. After countless shaving, fitting, rasping, chiseling, rinse and repeats, this is where I am at. Legs that just don’t want to fit. Yes, I do have a 2lb hammer to help persuade this things to mate, but I still want to be able to take it apart to cut the mortises and install the stretchers.
Truly a labor of love. Lagscrews are starting to look attractive.