At the end of my last post, I had made the frame and panel lid for the bottom of my workbench base, but there were gaps on either side of it. I had anticipated these gaps and planned for them. When I cut the rabbets in the top of the front and back stretchers that support the lid/shelf, I cut identical ones on the side stretchers. I will fit boards into these rabbets that will fill the gap between the stretcher and the edge of the lid.
You can read /see what was done previously here:
- Part 1 – Design, milling, and chopping of the mortises in the stiles.
- Part 2 – Finishing and fitting the tenons on the rails.
- Part 3 – Making the panels and the wedges for the tenons.
- Part 4 – Kerfing the tenons, glue-up and assembly, and fine tuning the fit.
In the below picture you can see the gap caused by the legs being thicker than the stretchers.
I’ll keep this post shorter than the others as I’m only fitting two boards after all.
I selected some lumber from my remaining douglas fir pile and cut them to an oversize length.
I jointed them and then ran them through the planer until they were a little over 3/4″, which is the depth of the rabbets.
I tested the fit against one of the rabbets in the long stretchers. You can see that it is just a hair proud of the surface. During final fitting, I will flush this up with a smoothing plane.
I cut one end square.
And cleaned up the cut, right to the knife line, with a block plane.
I took that freshly cut end and held it in place against the inside edge of the back leg.
I held a steel rule flush against the inside edge of the front leg and marked the board to length.
I then cut to this line a cleaned up the end with the block plane. I planed until I had a nice tight fit. If I had a shooting board, this would have been a perfect use for it. When this bench is finished, a shooting board will be one of my first add-ons.
With the board cut to length, all that remains was to cut it to width. I marked the width directly off the leg.
I cut the board to width on the table saw. I deliberately left it wider than needed so that I could fine tune the fit later.
I used a No. 4 to plane down to the marks and then rechecked the fit.
I put glue on both surfaces (the rabbet and the board). I always apply glue to both surfaces in a joint as I feel it yields a superior strength at the glue line. The rabbets are ¾” x ¾”, so this gives me 1 ½” of long-grain to long-grain glue surface per board. The other edge of each board is unsupported. I don’t think this is going to be a problem as they aren’t likely to have to support any weight and are a little less than 3″ wide.
I used some scrap wood, not really as cauls, but rather to protect the boards from clamp marks.
I clamped up both sides of the bench and wiped off the little bit of glue squeeze-out with damp paper towels.
The next day I removed the clamps and gave the boards a light sanding with 220 grit paper.
They’re nothing fancy, but they perform the needed function of closing the gaps. I’m happy with how the workbench base looks with the addition of these.
In the next post, I’ll start installing the hardware on the lid.
– Jonathan White