Ain’t She a Beaute?

So I have a new workbench. It’s really pretty, if I do say so myself.  With any luck, it will be there last workbench I ever make.

Soft focus like a Barbara Walters interview.

Made of air-dried ash, it’s a monster, even without the shelf and the benchtop extension (both to come soon). The slab is 92″ x 15″ x 4″, the legs and top stretchers are 3″ x 4″, and the lower stretchers are 1.5″ x 4″. Why only 1.5″ thick?  Because the lower shelf will be supported by some 1″ x full-length brackets glued and screwed to the inside faces of the stretchers. And it’s all I had leftover on the pile.

It’s important to me to show how the slab and the frame are held together. There are two blind mortises on the underside of the slab, to match two stub tenons on the front legs.  The top stretchers form the inside shoulder of the tenon and support the slab (which, when put into place, went “thunk” and has stayed put). Much like the subconscious inspiration.

I did use a door shim to wedge the right-hand tenon.

I would be remiss not to note that the tenons for the long stretchers are only about 1.5″ long, but they are both glued and drawbored. I feel confident that is sufficient for the heaviest planing strain.

The last tenon, cut at my Stent Panel Workbench.

I’m very pleased with how the bench came out, but I will admit one complaint: how the long stretcher shoulders look. I rounded over the corners of the legs, and the long stretchers are in plane with that. You can see the problem. I will probably get over it. Probably.

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There are a few crimes to hide, but this isn’t supposed to be fine furniture.

I haven’t decided on what type of planing stop to use, but I’m leaning toward a Veritas aluminum stop like I use on my current bench. It will span the entire width of the slab and doesn’t mar the work like a toothed stop would. But it uses a different-sized hole than my Crucible holdfast.

More in a few days when I square the ends of the benchtop and attach the bottom shelf.

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