Friday, March 12, 2010

The Joinery Bench: Part I - Tiny Wood?

OK. So this was to be the first entry on building the" Joinery Bench"," was" being the operative word, but found my recent trip to the local wood monger to be disappointing and frustrating.White Ash is my first wood of choice for this bench due to it's mass and strength, which is paramount for this project because of the small size. Tape measure in hand I fumbled through a honking stack of 8/4 Ash, all of which clocked in at less than 5" wide. What the?

8/4 lumber is 80% of the materials needed, and you only need 48/bf of it, but it needs to finish out at 6" milled or the legs are too small and the yield for the top requires more wood, and at less than 5" I would have had to buy 70/bf of it. Ash is pretty cheap, but spending $80 more and not even getting appropriate sized lumber to make the leg assembly seemed, I don't know, moronic. So let's do this instead.

Start with 8/4 White Ash milled to 1 7/8" thick, ripped to 2 3/4" wide to allow for planing and flattening. This will take roughly 11/bf of 8/4 Ash. I am going to increase the width to 36" so you will need approx. 8 pieces that will finish up at 34 1/2" after gluing them up and squaring them off..

Glue up your blanks face to face with the grain running in the same direction throughout, if you alternate grain orientation it will be a nightmare to flatten the top with a hand plane.Do as many glue ups as you need to based on the size of the power planer you have available. The finished dimension of the top should be 32 3/8' long by 15' wide.I personally like the Titebond slower set time glue for everything I do.

These are the dimensions I have been using for this bench, although it is open to interpretation and improvisation at this point because the formula for doing the offset leg angles are based on the top size and can be adjusted to any configuration. There are no set angles for the legs as you will want to build yours based on your height. I am 5' 10" tall and mine is 38" from the floor, if you are taller or shorter than me I strongly suggest that you make a modification in height to achieve a properly ergonomic height for you, because otherwise why build it.

This is a good starting point until I get appropriate sized wood, I may have to do a little driving to get it, please post any questions you have as we are in it together now. I will get my top glued up and post pics which are not really necessary at this time, but will be for the next post, which will be the apron/ tool tray assembly and the integrated tool slot/ planing stop.

I surely hope you have better luck finding larger lumber than I did! Wait! This is starting to sound very similar to the same fifty e-mails I get every week. Larger lumber? Ask me how!!!!


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More