So, I slid the lathe aside, swept up and decided it was time to buckle down and work on my Roubo bench project.
Last February (yikes, has it been that long?) I rough cut the 6″ x 6″ doug fir legs to length and left them to dry. They were pretty soggy. Last weekend I squared up the four faces, now I need to get them all to the same length.
When I rough cut them I left them all long. Three of them 2″ long and one of the 1″ long because I apparently can’t measure. Since then I’ve been concerned that the bench would be too short, so I decided to use the length of the shortest leg and my height. I started by planing the factory-cut end flat and true.
Then at the other end I knifed in a cut line, square to my two reference faces.
I used a chisel to pare to the knife cut to make a shoulder, for what Robert Wearing calls a “first class saw cut”. I call it a “first class saw cut attempt”. The idea is that the saw has a kerf to start in, and the surface fibers are knife-cut and therefore very smooth.
Then I sawed the end off. I started at the far end of the layout, and slowly lowered the saw making sure I was right on the mark. I sawed maybe 1/8″ deep, then rotated it and did the next face the same way. Once all four faces were kerfed in, I started with the saw horizontal in the cut and concentrated in walking down the kerf on the face towards me. Rotate and repeat.
The cut was very close to square, and I was able to use what remained of the knife marks as a guide to plane it perfectly square.
Now I just have to do the other three today, than I can start marking out the joinery to attach the legs to the bench. I’d better go back an re-read how others have approached this. I’m thinking:
- cut tenons on the ends of the legs
- mortise the top for the legs
- with the legs fit into the top, layout out the stretchers
- remove legs, chop mortises for the stretchers
- fit face vise hardware to the left/front leg
- final assemble
That skips over a bottom shelf, the sliding deadman and tail vise — but one thing at a time.