It has been nearly a month since I posted anything about my “Ambidextrous Grizz-ubo” workbench build. Frankly, there hasn’t been much to post as progress has been next to none. I have been fanatically watching all the World Cup matches and the little time that I did spend in the shop was spent restoring some recent old tool acquisitions. When I left off last month, I had cut tongues on the ends of my workbench top and fitted bread board ends. I had also cut the tails portion of the dovetails that will hold the sides of the benchtop to the bread board ends. The next step, is to transfer the dovetail layout to the bread board ends and cut the half blind pins. I fitted the breadboard ends onto the benchtop and then clamped the side boards (with the tails on them) in place. I was happy to see that the shoulders of the tails lined up perfectly with the breadboard ends. Using a marking knife I traced around the tails and marked the end grain of the breadboard ends.
I used the in-expensive marking knife that Lee Valley Veritas sells and it worked great. Although, with tails 6/4 thick, I was about at the limits of the knife.
With the tails transferred to the pins, I un-clamped everything and took the breadboard ends off the bench.
I needed to saw the half-blind pins, but I don’t have a workbench… Or do I? I clamped the breadboard end to the edge of the workbench top. Even though the benchtop is only sitting on saw horses, this top is so massive that it really immobilizes the work-piece and doesn’t shake or move at all.
I went slowly, and very carefully tried to stay within the layout lines. When I was sawing the tails, I also tried to closely follow my layout lines, but I knew that if I strayed from them a little it wouldn’t matter. However, now that the tails are cut, the pins must be cut with greater care or the joint will either be too loose or too tight.
With the lines sawed as deep a I can without crossing the layout line, it was time to switch my saw for a mallet and chisel to remove the waste. Since I have so much waste to remove, I thought that I would drill out some of the waste the make the chisel work a little easier.
Here’s what I ended up with:
And so my first major design flaw is revealed. When I was gluing up the breadboard ends, I should have made the pieces that filled the gap in the breadboard ends longer. This would have meant that the tongue on the ends of the benchtop would have had to be trimmed down so that it was not as wide, but it would have left some material behind the center pin for some support. Oh well, you live an learn. Still, I think that I can make this work. Speaking of trimming down the tongue, I took about half an inch off each side of the tongue so that the tongue did not entirely fill the dado in the breadboard end.
One down, three more to go. This took a little while. As I chiseled the pins on each end, I tested them to ensure a proper fit with the corresponding tails. Once they were all done, I put the breadboard ends back on the bench.
Your help and opinion needed here:
Before I glue on the sideboards and complete the workbench top, I think that I should draw-bore the breadboard ends onto the benchtop. Since they are a cross-grain joint, I am not going to glue the breadboard ends onto the benchtop. As it stands now, the only thing that will hold them in place is the dovetails on either end. I think that I should add a draw-bore peg in the middle of the breadboard end. However, the center sapele “stringer” in the bench is a lamination and I don’t think that it would be a good idea to put a draw-bore peg right through the stringer. I think it wont be strong enough and the wood will fail when I hammer in the peg. I also don’t want a single peg that is not centered as I don’t think that it will look right. What about two draw-bore pegs, one either side of the stringer? I cut two half inch circles of blue painters tape to represent the peg locations. If I use two pegs, the cross-gain wood in between them is completely immobilized, so I figure that they need to be close enough together that any wood movement between them is insignificant, but far enough apart that I don’t split out the sapele when I hammer in the pegs. What do you think? Do the planned peg locations in the below pictures look like they will work?
While had the breadboard ends dry fitted, I pushed one of the sideboards gently into the pins and everything lined up perfectly. The remaining glue up shouldn’t be too difficult.
I’m almost done with the top and I’ll be glad to move onto the legs and stretchers. Let me know what you think about the draw-bore pegs.