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.
The wood was very straight-grained and was quarter-sawn. They were perfect for stretchers.
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.
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.
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.
When they were done for two of the legs they could stand on their own.
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.
The legs and stretchers seem to be from different generations of old-growth wood. The legs have a lot of character.
The long stretchers for the front and back of the bench are done and ready for the drawbore holes and pegs.
The short side stretchers are next. The legs are so thick they don’t need to be very long.