Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In the Short Rows

I like to tell myself it is getting close....BS of course because the trimming, finding the ugly bits in the mortices, getting it to all square up and finally driving home the draw bore pins will take some time. But if you squint it is starting to look like a work bench base. Once the base is finished I will mark out the mortices on the slabs and drill/router/chisel as needed to fit the base. That part will go fast. Once the base is connected to the slabs I'll add the Paramo #52 face vise, find some muscle to flip it upright and drill a few 3/4" round holes, add a lower shelf, a bench jack and that will be about all....At least until I find something else is needed.

BTW, I will not know if it will be flattened by hand or router and sled until it is upright and I can see any wind, hollows, or bellies. Small amount to remove it will be by hand but the old router sled is there if needed.


  1. Hi Ken,
    could I cajole you into showing the draw boring? It's something I have read about, never done, but I would like to try it.

  2. Ralph,

    When I start putting the base together I will document the steps. I like to drill the mortice holes before chopping the mortice as you can see on the legs. Once I do the final fitting of the tenons I will mark the tenons then take every thing apart and drill the tenon holes. Then it is back together and drive in the pins. More when I start the process.


  3. That’s fine.

    The reason I asked is that, in my experience, wide and thick cross sections of Beech tend retain what may be termed ‘residual tensions’; it moves very gradually over a long time after you presume that drying is complete.

    I made a Beech bench about 16 years ago out of 2- 1/2” thick waney edged slabs that were planked at 4” and dried prior to construction which was all glued. I’m still using it daily, but the top needed some serious flattening after a couple of years, not because it had twisted out of shape, but to remove the ripples caused by further drying and I resolved that if I made another I’d do two things: make it 2 feet longer and dry joint the top so that it could be taken apart for maintenance.
    Anyway, an interesting series, keep writing,

    All best from a very humid Wales

  4. Thanks, I appreciate the information. This is the first time I've worked Beech, for some reason it is cheap, less than our domestic hardwoods. I've found it a great wood to work it saws, chisels and planes very easily but I have noticed it can have some internal tension, most boards seem very well behaved but I've a couple of 3 meter bananas I had to put back in the wood pile.

    You should be in Tucson during the the 90Fs (32C to 38C and above) with 40 to 50% RH. It will slow progress, but the good news once Monsoon is over we face 8 months of almost perfect WX.