There is Always One

I’m no stranger to angled mortises.  But I’ve never done staked furniture before, so when it came time to bore the through mortises into the Roman Workbench slab, I didn’t know what I was getting into.  I read and reread the entries in both The Anarchist’s Design Book and Roman Workbenches, and I think I nailed the sight line and resultant angles, but it was still a bit touch and go.

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The front two mortises look pretty good.

I should have done a test mortise because, as often happens, the first one is a bit wonky.  It’s not quite lined up laterally, and I can tell the rake is off by a few degrees.  Not just by eye, but also because it’s the only mortise that had any blowout on the top face. While I can fill in the chipping (and might even paint the top), there is not much I can do about the angle.  Luckily, it’s the back right leg, so I won’t see it day to day.

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There is always one.

So that means it’s just about time to make the legs.  Shaping the tenons without a lathe will be one challenge, but before that, I’ve got to rip down the legs.  By hand.  Out of 8/4 air dried red oak.  At least it will be a workout.

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I wish I had a table saw right about now.

Speaking of wishful thinking, it would have been great to know about the Roman Workbench form when I first started woodworking five years ago.  This seems like the perfect workbench for getting started in an apartment with a limited set of hand tools.  It’s easy to make and straightforward.  Hell, you could probably even make the top from a single sheet of 3/4″ plywood ripped four times down the length.

Plus, with an extra cleat on the underside, a Roman Workbench could also go up on saw horses and act like a Japanese-style workbench for added flexibility.  And flexibility is the key to apartment woodworking, in my experience.

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Like this, basically.

Oh well, coulda, woulda, shoulda, right?

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