The Holtzapffel Workbench – Day 9

(Part 8 of a series)

Taking a day off can be a good thing. So it was for me. Fantastic progress was made toward the ultimate goal on Sunday.

I started out the day by taking the stretcher glue-ups out of the clamps and checking things out. No real surprises here, and I ran them through the jointer to straighten and clean them up. By the way, scraping the glue off while only partially dry? Much better. Only minimal scraping was needed for the remainder.

That done, it was time to square up the ends of the legs and cut them to length. I tuned up my sliding table and trimmed the ends of all four legs on the table saw. I have to say this was a scary experience. I had to take the guard off the saw and crank the blade up to capacity to make it through the cut. All square, I cut the other three legs down to math the original. I then marked the length of the tenon and tried to cut the waste away. Unfortunately I guess I forgot to not glue that part, as it didn’t just fall away. Not having a traditional tenon jig, I brought the legs over to my bench and bought out a recent purchase – the Veritas crosscut saw. I hasn’t been too terribly impressed with it to that point, but everything changed today. It was pretty effortless to create the tenons here, with the slight exception to trying to hold the glue line. It was hot, and sweat was produced, but it went so much better than I was anticipating. It took all of 15 minutes at most to get the tenons cut on all three remaining legs.

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Once the initial tenons were cut on all the legs, it was time to create shoulders on all the legs and stretchers. I decided to do all this on the table saw to speed things up and to also get a good vertical surface. I used the sliding table again, but I didn’t switch to the dado stack. I decided I didn’t want to set it up and just nibbled the waste off with the thin kerf blade. I think I saved time in total, and now the saw is still ready to go for doing the top rip cuts.

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Now for the fun part – mortises.

I have said, and I’ll say again…I’ve never done an M&T joint. I was excited to learn to do it, as I always look to learn new skills. I was so excited to tackle it I just went at it without any drilling. I marked the mortise out with the knife, and started paring away with the bench chisel. I alternated between it and the mortise chisel for almost the entire mortise. I did ‘cheat’ a little by using one of my drills and a forstner bit to get a bit deeper, faster.

You can see here I have some work to do, but its close. I need to clean the shoulder on most of the stretchers and legs, actually. But its not hard work to do, it will just take a couple of minutes.

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Today was an excellent day. I spent about three hours and got all of that done. It helped that the heat was down slightly and I wasn’t drenched in sweat after a few minutes. In fact, my fan was off for a majority of the time. I think I will short cut the other leg mortises on the drill press, as I know the top mortises will all have to be done by hand. No reason to torture myself.

The outlook right now is that I will possibly have the base ready for dry fit Thursday. It will be at that point, if the base looks good, to drill for the dowels then and put the base aside. Friday might see the top started. I’m ahead of schedule, certainly. No timetable, but the sooner it is done the sooner I can move on to other needed projects.

Apologies for this last pic, didn’t realize how bad it was.

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