stevenbunn Sun, 03/20/2016 - 19:17

Building a Shaker Workbench (cont"d)


Building the base


I milled the frame members of the base from 12/4 soft maple. After crosscutting the rough material to approximate length, I jointed one face and edge to square up the stock. Then I ripped the pieces slightly oversized. I went back to the jointer, and resquared all the material which I had just sawn out. This was done to eliminate any twist or bowing created by the release of internal stresses in the wood as the wide stock was cut into smaller widths. The frame pieces were then passed through the thickness planer to clean up the last two rough faces. With the stock at final dimension, I cut the individual components to length, allowing extra length on the center stiles, rails and stretchers for tenons. After the stock was prepared, I oriented the best face of each piece to show and arranged the legs to best match grain patterns across both the front and back of the frame. I marked each piece to maintain the grain match during milling and assembly.


Drill mortises in the legs with the drill press. Then square the shoulders with a chisel
I laid out the mortises on the legs, rails and stretchers and milled them using a forstner bit chucked in the drill press. A temporary fence was mounted to the drill press work table to center the forstner bit correctly in each piece being mortised.The mortises were cut 1-1/16 inches deep to allow for glue compression and to keep the 1 inch long tenons from bottoming out and preventing the joints from pulling together snuggly. All of the mortises in the bench legs open onto one or two adjacent mortises. This requires that the meeting corners of the meeting tenons be cut back at a 45 degree angle so that all tenons can fully seat.