Time to remove the legs and finish the base of the bench. It was really hard to disassemble it because I could actually use it as a bench even though it was not complete. I am pretty confident that this bench is going to stay together even if my joints are less than. This thing is going to be bomb proof. Since this is my first time making a project by hand, I have looked at just about every possible resource I could find. I’ve looked on the internet, read books, ask the cat, you name it I’ve done it. One thing I have learned though is the more you research the more questions I have and the more doubt I have before even starting the process. So it was just time to grab a chisel and start blasting away at the wood. I have eight mortises to cut in the legs for the stretchers. They will be an inch wide. Why an inch? I don’t know. It just looks right to me. I do not own a 1 inch mortising chisel. So to compensate for that, I used a 5/16 in. mortising chisel and cut two mortises. The theory for this, and this is not coming from experience, just arrogance, is that if I used a 1/2 in. chisel and made two passes the sides would not be square without the support of the wood on the sides of the mortise. This means that I will be cutting 16 mortises. I should get good after I am done.
Here I am making little cuts to define the shape of the mortise. You’ll notice that this raises the wood a little. If you take the chisel and lay it down on the workpiece, sideways, you can just scrap all these pieces off and you have a nice starting point to guide the chisel for the rest of the cut.
Then I kept blasting away until I reached the desired depth of the mortise, which in this case was about 2 1/2 to 3 inches. Once again this is an arbitrary figure, it just seemed right.
Trust me, this gets pretty difficult, for me anyway, once you get this deep with such a little chisel. (The note on the wood that says “DO NOT” was so that I wouldn’t chisel that part because I messed up when I originally marked out my mortises. I make many mistakes)
Here is what the two mortises look like when done.
Chisel out the middle and then two become one.