Workbench Build

After looking around the internet and reading a couple of books, I decided to go with a modification of the benchcrafted split top roubo.  Here is a, very basic, sketchup rendering of where I am headed.

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I didn’t go with the leg vise because I have the face vise hardware from the old bench, so we’ll try a hybrid approach.  The benchcrafted design has the long stretcher bolts going through the side tenons.  I moved the long stretchers up because boring a hole through the tenon made me feel like I was removing too much wood in the leg.  The arrangement above gives me about 6 inches of clear space under the long stretchers and 3 inches under the short stretchers. Having the short stretchers lower should allow me to store my lathe under the bench.

I started out by gluing up and then squaring up the legs

That’s nearly every clamp I own.  One observation from this process, cheap bar clamps are horrible.  They twist when you clamp down and you spend an enormous amount of time shifting everything around.  I am putting some quality parallel clamps on my christmas list this year.

I squared up the legs by first traversing the reference side of the legs using a jack plane and then followed up with a jointer plane. Incidentally, Chris Schwarz described the same traversing process that I used on the legs just a day or two later on his blog here when starting his roman workbench build.  I then ran the legs through my surface planer to get the other side level and to make all the legs the same thickness (height?).  I left the legs long.

That part was actually kinda fun.  Mortising the stretchers has not been fun.

I am currently augering out most of the mortise and then chopping the waste.  This is sweaty work, but it is coming out ok. I have found that it’s better to drill a couple of smaller holes and start chopping rather than trying to drill the biggest hole possible.  I tend to not keep the far edge of the mortise square when chopping.  Hopefully I’ll get better.  One side and 4 mortises done.  12 more to go.

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