Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Workbench Part III - Milling the Short Rails

As I mentioned in the last post, I pulled a couple of old Siberian Spruce beams from outside into the garage that I plan to use for the upper and lower short rails on the workbench base.  You can see the short rails highlighted in the 3D drawing of the bench which is available as a free download from Benchcrafted.  These short rails are fit into the bench legs using mortise and tenon joinery.  To add even more strength, the tenons are drawbored (pegged in layman terms) which helps keep the joint tight during seasonal wood movement.

I left the straighter beam to use for the long base rails on the bench and started breaking down the other beam for the four rails.  I cut each to a rough length of 23" and started milling them up.

  I ran the beams over the jointer, then the planar and got them to the table saw before I realized
something was amiss.  Either through user error or the wood "springing" as I milled it, only one of the pieces ran truly square to the table saw fence.  I have often read that it is best to do a first phase of milling where you let the wood acclimate a little more before finishing it off to final dimensions.  After seeing what happened here, I decided to stop with most of the material removed and let the rails sit for a few days before doing anything else.  I want to make sure the wood has stopped moving before I get into cutting the joinery.  

Recently I added a cast iron extension wing onto the new table saw to provide a more stable surface for crosscutting, etc.   With the wing installed I thought that a good test would be to trim the ends of the milled legs.  The result was pretty cool when the legs were placed in a way that created a annular ring "circle" so to speak.  This add-on to the table saw will definitely help when it comes to cutting the tenons in the base.

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