The Glue Up
The time has come for the glue up. This is a nerve wracking step that is a barely controlled panic. Once the glue starts being applied you have a time limit imposed. You have to get everything together before the glue hardens. I knew this would take more time than usual for many of my projects. I had to use a glue with a longer working time than common Titebond yellow glue. The two main choices are some slow-set epoxy and liquid hide glue. I choose the hide glue.
Here is the bench after a dry run for timing. I mimicked applying the glue and it took close to an hour. I concluded that I needed a full hour for the glue up.
Did I ever mention that the old barn beams have some character? Here’s an example, yup, that’s character alright.
I cobbled together some frames to hold the legs on edge so I could chamfer the edges.
I tried to make the big double tenon joints as tight as I could. They still have a lot of gaps. I am heeding the advice from many woodworkers, including Monsieur Roubo himself, to use a lot of wedges when gluing the bench together. The drawbore pegs are oak dowels. I hope I have enough wedges.
Everything is set. I made sure that I wouldn’t be interrupted and put my phone in Do-Not-Disturb mode. I couldn’t take photos during the glue up and I didn’t want a video being recorded. I didn’t want that extra stress. Just imagine that for the next hour I was moving fast.
It went together without any major drama. I am so relieved. I did use a lot of wedges. The drawbore joints didn’t really need any glue but I used some anyway. I didn’t see any reason not to.
To have my bench to this point was quite emotional. It took 6 months of work to get here.
The drawbore pins went in without incident. I really like that joint and plan on using it whenever I can.
Yup, that’s a lot of wedges.
This is how the bench will be oriented in my shop. I can almost feel what it will be like.
The next day I cut the tops of the legs and wedges off with a saw. I didn’t want to get too close to the top and will plane off the rest.
I grabbed the sharpest plane in the till and leveled the legs to the top. This is my Record No. 7 that I got in the mid-1980s for a lot less money than planes like this cost now. It’s a good one.
I wiped them down with some mineral spirits and I like how this looks. I like it a lot.
The next task was to flatten and true the top. I was very surprised at how flat and how little wind it had. It didn’t take long to get to where I wanted. Another moment of relief.
Here’s the money shot of the leg that will have the vise. That’s some nice wood, I feel very fortunate to have found it.
The bench is assembled. It’s so close to being usable I can hardly stand it. I’ve wanted a good bench for so long and to have one is so exciting. I could hardly sleep that night.