View Single Post
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 02-05-2012, 06:02 PM
derekcohen's Avatar
derekcohen derekcohen is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 446
Default Re: Building a Bench in Perth

Building the legs

I began preparing the stock for the legs yesterday afternoon, that is, finding boards in my wood pile for laminating into the desired 5" x 3" size. There were issues with the stock I have.

As I showed earlier, I have a number of rough sawn rafters approximately 3" x 4". Once jointed it became evident that only 2 legs could be created from two boards, and that the other 2 legs would require laminating 3 boards.

The two-board laminations would have to be joined edge-to-edge, and the three-board laminations not only joined edge-to-edge but include a face board to increase the thickness.

A central mortice would occur at the join. Not happy.

It is now Sunday. We spent the morning at the beach. This gave me a chance to switch off and think about the options. A little lateral thinking gave me the answer.

Choices ...

Firstly, I could go out and purchase Jarrah boards to make the legs. There a couple of reasons why I do not do so. It is not simply that these would be expensive. Expensive? Very! I estimate that each leg would end up costing about $125. That is about $500 for the legs, and we have not yet got to the stretchers.

Why is Jarrah (Eucalyptus Marginata) so expensive? Because it has been over-logged in Western Australia for over 100 years, with the timber being exported around the world for bridges and roads. The trees only grow in Western Australia - no where else - and the forests have been decimated. The logging continues, in spite of the frequent protests from the Greens, because the public generally places money above the environment. I really do not wish to support this industry, and 90% of the Jarrah I use comes from salvage - old roof beams, old flooring, etc. Some from the renovations in our house (all the roof beams are rough sawn Jarrah), and some from skips (dumpsters) when houses are demolished (but now there are businesses buying up the old timber - that's OK with me. At least it gets a second life, and I will - and do - happily purchase that).

Secondly, let us not forget the most important factor here - this is a workbench, not a piece of furniture for the home! Yes, I would like to build a bench that is as faithful to the principles of Roubo, and guided by the recommendations of my friends on the forum, but it is still just a bench. Anything I do will be totally overkill compared to the bench I have been using for the past 18 years. I must add that, prior to the current bench (skinny cretin that it is ), my previous "bench" was a door over trestles. This lasted 7 years while we lived in and restored our previous house. So I have had 25 years working with poor benches. I do believe that anything better than I had will last another 25 years, at least.

So ... I thought about what I had to work with, what wood I had on the rack, and hatched the following plan which I shall describe, and then go off and cut the parts to show you later ..

The solution is ... may be - I will hear from you I hope ... to create a sandwich with full width boards on the outside. Inside, the two sections I previously showed will be used, BUT one piece will be recut to sandwich a thick section which is centred in the fill. Now a mortice can be created in solid, un-edge-joined timber.

Since the added laminated with be about 3/4" thick each, I anticipate that the legs end up about 5" long x 4" thick.

Fast forward about 5 hours ...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I try and re-use reclaimed timber. Here is an example. Woolly and twisted ...

One side gets jointed then, because the thickness of the other side is so uneven, I use the bandsaw to cut to the approximate thickness before planing out the saw marks ...

The Jarrah "infill" was ripped to width on the tablesaw. There is now enough meat in the centre of each leg to accept a mortice ...

The wooden screw for the leg vise has a 2" diameter. This will easily fit into the 3" central section in these legs ..

The legs are yet to be glued up. Once done, final dimensioning will be done. The sides (end grain) could be stained to match the fronts. Or I am toying with the idea of mitering and wrapping boards around the infill.

The legs are now 5" wide and 3 5/8" thick.

Each leg weighs 10 kg (22 lbs).

The bench top is expected to weigh 80 kg (172 lbs).

Still to add in stretchers, chop, and end vise.
Articles on furniture construction, shop tools and reviews at
Reply With Quote