Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Workbench Part II - Milling the Legs

After rough cutting the legs to length last weekend, it was time to start milling them down to final dimensions.  I learned early on that to get a piece of lumber flat and square for woodworking there is a certain order that will produce the best results.  I started by flattening the widest face on the jointer bed.  You can see one of the legs on the jointer bed in the first picture to the right.  My jointer has a 6" wide bed so it's always nice if the rough lumber doesn't exceed that dimension.  From this post you might think that I'm sponsored by Ridgid tools, but alas they haven't come calling yet.  Once you have one wide face of your piece flat, you can rotate it 90º and run that flat face up against the jointer fence to get the other face square to it.  Then it's time to move to the planer which will mill the other wide face parallel to the first face.  I ran a couple legs through the planer and it was struggling mightily.  I decided to take it apart to look at the knives and sure enough they had lost their edge.  The nice thing about the Ridgid knives is that they have a sharpened edge on both sides, so it was just a matter of rotating them to get a fresh edge.  I also set the planer right on the garage floor to minimize vibrations.  In little time I had three faces flat and square.  Then I took the legs over to the table saw and ripped them to final width.  The finished dimensions of the legs are 5" wide by 3-1/4" wide and they have some pretty good heft.  Not as massive or heavy as maple or oak but a great reuse of a discarded beam.  There are still some pretty good checks and other defects but I think I can work around most of them.  I also pulled a couple of old Siberian spruce beams into the garage to acclimate that I picked up locally years ago from Salvage Works (  If you live in the area and haven't been to their store yet then make the trip.  Preston and crew have an amazing assortment of salvaged wood, hardware, shop made furniture and other unique odds and ends.  Tune in next time when I will work on milling the spruce beams into what will serve as the lower and upper rails of the bench.


  1. This all sounds so interesting...I know nothing about woodworking but my husband does and he is reading your posts.
    We didn't know about Savage Works but will make a trip there in the future, as we have years of projects on our house in Vancouver. Thanks for the link.
    Have a nice week.

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