When it came to adding the housing joint recesses into the Aprons, this was one of the steps in building the workbench that I enjoyed the most.

I think this was because it was one of the steps which made me the most nervous in the build up. All other steps so far could afford mistakes or errors and would be fairly easy to rectify. Even if I botched a mortice on one of the legs, one 2″x 4″ would allow me to create another without too much issue.

But in chopping the recesses into the aprons, an error in the layout or a ham-fisted effort would mean having re-create an apron from scratch, laminating and flattening it; not something I wanted to have to do.

The initial task was the layout:

Layout of a housing in the Apron

Layout of the housing recess in the Apron

The dimensions of my recesses were 9 inches in height, 4 3/4″ at the bottom to 5 1/4″ at the top, allowing for a wedge to be fitted in the recess next to the legs, using any lateral motion between the legs and the aprons to allow the wedge to drive itself lower and lower, making the joint more secure.

 

Tools for the job of removing the recesses

Tools for the job of removing the recesses

A chisel worked well for removing the bulk of the wood, with the final work being carried out by using a Paul Sellers “Poor Man’s Router”. If you have not met the Poor Man’s Router before, please click Here.

After completing all four recesses, the next step was to make the bearers for the top of the leg frames. This was straightforward, plane some 2″ x 4″ smooth, square and falt, then cut to length to match the width of the leg frames.

Both Leg frames with their bearers glued, screwed and "trued"!

Both Leg frames with their bearers glued, screwed and “trued”!

With the leg frames fully completed, you can then try them in the recesses and ensure they are going to seat ok, then you can start to cut your wedges and tweak each one to fit nice and snug.

Checking the wedges seat ok

Checking the wedges seat well

After making sure the wedges are cut well and the aprons are fully ready, the nest step is what I would call initial assembly. Hang the aprons on the leg frames, drop the wedges into place and add a few clamps to ensure that everything fits together nicely.

Aprons hung on the leg frames, wedges in place and clamps added to check all is well

Aprons hung on the leg frames, wedges in place and clamps added to check all is well (notice the “all important” Costa cup! AKA Work Fuel!)

This was after making sure the aprons were squared and as flat as possible on the outside and that the leg frames and bearers were the exact same width and height. For my leg frames I had to make a very fine adjustments to one of the bearers, planing off some excess to ensure both were equal in height.

In the next post we will carry on with the initial assembly.

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