Mr Roubo Gets Stretchers

I made decent progress today on my workbench.  I got all the legs fit so they are square.  Unfortunately, several of them are loose.  When I glue it up I’ll drive wedges into the gaps to tighten everything up as best I can.

Four Legs, Four Mortises, Four Dovetail Sockets

Four Legs, Four Mortises, Four Dovetail Sockets

I dimensioned the stock for the stretchers using my jointer and planer.  This is the first power tool work (except for the jigsaw trick I posted) I’ve done on this project.  The material is 3×5 green Fir that I bought 18 months ago.  It’s dried some, but it also oozed a ton of sap.  Nasty stick stuff, it reminds me of climbing the neighbor’s pine tree when I was a kid.

I used a trick from one of Schwarz’ workbench books to help lay out the shoulders on the stretchers.  I used two spacers made from scrap to position the stretcher in the right place, then scribed the shoulder directly from the legs.  After making sure the legs were at plumb as possible of course.

Stretcher Mockup

Stretcher Mockup

Stretcher Mocked Up for Scribing Shoulders

Stretcher Mocked Up for Scribing Shoulders

While the stretcher was clamped in place I also marked the top and bottom of the stretcher onto the leg and then squared these layout lines across the face of the leg.  I made sure the stretcher would end up flush with the front of the legs.  The mortise is set back about 3/4″, and is 1″ wide.

Mortise Layout

Mortise Layout

In the interests of speeding the process up I used a dado blade in my table saw to rough in the tenons (GASP!) and used a block plane and chisel to trim them up to fit snugly.

Tenon, trimmed and ready to go

Tenon, trimmed and ready to go

The mortises I did the same as the ones in the top of the bench, but since I had a scribed line to work to from the mortise gauge they cam out a lot nicer.  Of course they are only 3″ deep instead of going though a 5″ bench top.

Blind Mortises

Blind Mortises

First Stretcher Done

First Stretcher Done

Now do it all again and I have the second stretcher in place.

Second Stretcher

Second Stretcher

The second stretcher didn’t take that long – maybe an hour total.  So, in theory, two more hours and I’ll be ready to start on my leg vise.  I’d like to say I stopped working out of a sense of familial obligation, but the truth is I mis cut one of of the short stretchers, so I’ll need to go to the lumberyard this week and get another piece of Fir for the stretchers.  And I’ll pick up some 8/4 stock for the leg vise and tail vise chop.  Something cheap but reasonably sturdy and less splintery than fir.  Poplar perhaps?

Awww, Snap!

Awww, Snap!  Too Short.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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