Saturday, March 28, 2009

Travel Bench Part 4

I milled the stock for the two top sections in a couple hours this weekend and proceeded to prep the joints with a jointer plane. My planer snipes a bit, and the Shelix cutterhead doesn't leave a good enough finish for a glue joint, at least in my view. It only takes a little time to tweak each joint for a perfect glue line. And for a bench that sees pounding and racking, I think its a good idea to make the joinery as stout and sound as my abilities allow. The soft maple planes easily, but it's still hard work to prep the edges of the top laminates. Using my 8' Roubo bench is a joy for tasks like this. Especially since the top boards are 74" long.

I aim for dead tight joints in the top that close with hand pressure only. I don't like to glue stress into a top, but a little concave bow, especially on the outer laminates doesn't bother me if I can close it tight with hand pressure.

This is one half of the top, minus dog hole strip and front laminate, ready for assembly. It's about 10" wide.

The two end sections of the base will be drawbored together, and will form the base via knockdown joints with the long rails.

The tenons here are 1" long. I routed the slot and access for the nut. It's large enough to accomodate a box wrench. The ideal fastener here would be a large square nut, which would eliminate the need for a washer or wrench for assembly. I'm a bit pressed for time on this bench, so I didn't have time to source any.

The short rails join the front and rear legs with drawbored tenons.

Here the offset can be seen. I offset them by 3/32" or so. For some reason these look a bit too offset in the pics. I guess I'll have to whittle the tapered ends of the peg a bit more.

I dusted off my brace and bits for boring some holdfast holes. I don't have a power tool capable of drilling these holes. I guess a spade bit and electric drill would work, but I can be more precise with a brace and bit.


  1. Excellent ideas here. I want to build a knock down Roubo, and this is leading me in the right direction.


  2. I think the split top is also going to offer some real advantages with regards to portability and ease of construction. Not to mention it will add some nice capabilities that a one-piece top doesn't have.

  3. Let me clarify. I love my shelix head. But I get the best joints when I handplane the surfaces. Before I had a shelix I hand planed surfaces from the straight knife planer too. Hand planes will get the joint flatter than any machine. A drum sander will make your boards less flat than your planer, and will make your top joints very frustrating to glue up tightly. The shelix is a better value in the long run since you get better edge life. I've had mine for about a year, and so far I'm very satisfied.


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