I haven't posted much lately because I've had other tasks on the front burner. But one project that I've recently had time to work at is helping to run a clinic at the Kansas City Woodworkers' Guild to build three Roubo workbenches.
We received a big (and HEAVY) load of 19 foot reclaimed timber. Right around 5" x 5", douglas fir. We bucked them down with my Disston D-8 handsaw because they were way to big for the machines.
Then some processing to get them ready for glue up. By this time, the individual boards could be machined but final fitting had to be done with handplanes because you can't force joints in giant timbers closed with clamp pressure. They needed to be as close to perfect as possible!
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We have three tops glued up and here are a few pictures of clinic participants learning the fine art of using foreplanes and jointer planes to flatten the top and then bring the top side parallel. Again, this is a hand tool job because the tops are too big for the 15" planer or 8" joiner to handle.
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The legs are double through tenons, with the front tenon being cut as a dovetail. Not hard but time consuming. Here is a shot of one member learning to use a handsaw to cut the tenons.
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While it is nice to know how, frankly a bandsaw with a 1" blade makes this much easier, at least for the straight cuts. Cutting the dovetail is easier by hand. I've got more legs to cut so at some point I'll get some photos of the process. The leg locations are marked out and then the fun begins cutting the matching mortises. While we had a few power drills with big bits, everybody liked playing with my brace and using an auger to waste out the material.
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Today I worked mostly alone on the bench (oddly enough, things went faster that way...
) because this wasn't a scheduled clinic time. I just wanted to get things moving forward and have a bench standing on its own four feet for our guild meeting this Wednesday. However one of the clinic regulars wandered in (Carl) and helped fit the final leg.
Here is the first of three benches standing on its dry fitted legs. Over 4" thick, 6 feet long, about 20" wide and my rough estimate is 200 lbs of weight. Even with a dry fit joints, it is rock steady.
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Once glued and the lower stretchers are in place it is going to be a monster. Next step is to outfit the leg vice and chop in for the tail vice (re-purposed Record 73).
Only two more of these to go. Plus I'm building one at home and we have at least three other members building their own.