Workbench Build — 2019, Part 7

The Long Stretchers

The long front and back stretchers came from a piece of the barn wood that didn’t seem like great wood at first. It was darkened from age and the ends were too dirty to show the grain direction. I clean them up with a scrub plane and a jack and was quite surprised with what I found.

Before and after surfacing the stretchers.

The wood was very straight-grained and was quarter-sawn. They were perfect for stretchers.

The end of a stretcher board showing its grain.

Once I got them cut, squared, and sized I started on the tenons. The precision I can get with good hand tools always makes me smile. These joints will use barefaced tenons to allow the stretcher to be flush with the legs. Here is one tenon before the side cheeks were cut.

A barefaced tenon.

After the tenons where cut I clamped them to the legs for mark the mortises. I used battens to establish the same height on each leg.

A stretcher clamped to a leg.

The mortises where marked, drilled, and finished with chisels and floats. Here’s a video of drilling one hole for the mortise.


The first one is done.

A completed mortise and tenon joint.

When they were done for two of the legs they could stand on their own.

Two legs with a stretcher.

This joint was special as it didn’t need any trimming. It fit the first time I tried it. That sure doesn’t happen often.

Closeup of the mortise and tenon joint.

The legs and stretchers seem to be from different generations of old-growth wood. The legs have a lot of character.

Closeup of a leg and stretcher joint.

The long stretchers for the front and back of the bench are done and ready for the drawbore holes and pegs.

The legs and the long stretchers.

The short side stretchers are next. The legs are so thick they don’t need to be very long.

-Eric

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