Workbench Build — 2019, Part 6

The Top Sliding Dovetails

The mortises for the straight tenons were cut but we can’t fit them until the sliding dovetails are cut as well.

I started by cutting a knife wall for the saw to follow.

The knife walls cut into a leg for the sliding dovetails.

The cut starts with the saw vertical until it can be tilted to the angle of the dovetail.

The saw is vertical to start the cut.

It ends up being about 1/8" before I can turn the saw.

The saw tilted to the angle of the dovetail.

Then I cut down the front where I can see where the cut is going. Then I repeated this from the other side.

The cut on the front of the joint.

Once both side are cut down to the line the middle is cleaned out.

The saw has cut one angled side of the joint.

A few cuts in the middle of the waste allows for chip clearance.

More cuts in the middle of the joint.

I got to whack out most of the wast with a chisel and a hammer. That was fun and fast.

A hammer and a chisel removing waste.

I chopped out most of the wast down to very close to the final line.

The sliding dovetail joint with most of the waste cleared out.

Here I switched to paring the side and bottom with chisels and floats. The leg starts fitting into the mortises and goes farther as I pare down.

The leg tenons are starting to fit into the mortises.

When I got close to having the first leg fitted it was pretty exciting. This is a large and very strong joint.

The first leg almost fully fitted into the top.

The first one is seated! This was a great milestone. The joint seems intimidating when you first see one. They do take some care but aren’t that bad really.

One leg in the top.

The top of the joint extends through the top and will be trimmed after everthing is glued up.

The finished joint from the front.

Here’s a video of the joint in action.


At this point even with no glue this joint is very solid. It won’t wiggle at all.

A finished leg joint from the top.

I repeated the joint for all the legs. The second one went a little faster.

Two legs in the top.

With all four joints cut the bench can stand on its own for the first time. That made the project seem real.

The bench sitting upright on its legs for the first time.

The bench is starting to look like a real bench. This was a great milestone for the build.

On to the stretchers next.

-Eric

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