Bench Repair (Part 2)

Over the weekend, I made further progress on the bench seat repair and started by preparing all my previously sawn stock down to finished dimensions.

When I’m working with timber that’s been at least partially sawn on a circular saw, which leaves a much cleaner finish than most bandsaw blades, I find it helpful to scribble over the sawn faces to void confusion later. Unless your planer knives are razor-sharp, it can sometimes be tricky to distinguish the prepared face and edge from the two other surfaces… On a few occasions, yes, I have made the mistake of referencing off the wrong face and edges when feeding stock through a thicknesser! 😳

My biggest mistake though, was that I only previously cut enough stock to give me six of the seven slats for this seat! 😑 So, I had to quickly machine up the seventh slat on its own, from a short but wide length of “red hardwood” that I didn’t realise I had before:

I’m still not convinced that this species is afromosia… It could easily be something else, like idigbo or meranti (also known as ‘lauan’) – both of which are commonly used in exterior joinery work; neither of which I have previously worked with! πŸ™„

Here’s a quick tip for you:

More often that I’d like, I find that my workbench is covered in all manner of timber and tools that I may not even be using on a current project. So, when I want to quickly crosscut a length of timber and my mitre saw is not plugged in [or, as is more likely – covered in more junk!], I have to resort to alternative measures…

This time, I’ve discovered that the ΒΎin wide slot cut in to my router table’s slot provides is ideal at holding narrow parts steady, where I would otherwise previously need to use a couple of bench dogs or a bench hook. What’s more, if I’m able to bring the fence forward and clear of the cutter, I should be able to crosscut wider boards as well! πŸ˜€

I tried laying out the slats for some kind of grain-match or colour configuration and I was surprised to find two slats were distinctly different in colour to the rest. So, whatever configuration I tried, it was never going to look ‘perfect’.

If I haven’t already produced a rod or scale drawing with all the mortise positions already set-out, getting the spacings right first time can sometimes be tricky. That’s why you’ll occasionally see me do all the initial marking out on one of the wider faces, before transferring lines on to the edge. The last thing I want is a series of pencil lines on a narrow edge that’s difficult to clean. Not only that but, it can make things very confusing for you, when your looking for a location to cut your mortises.

Chopping out the mortises on the faithful old cast-iron mortiser I bought back in 2009. Once it’s set, it’s a joy to use and makes light work of any associated tasks. The only trouble is the time it takes to set the fence… But, at least all that work reorganising the workshop is now beginning to pay off – I was able to get to this machine without having to clear a path towards it! πŸ˜‰

Although I have made more progress since, I’d like to wrap this post up here and save the further details of this project for the next post (I’m trying to keep my posts down in to more manageable sizes plus, as I’m only able to get in the workshop for three or four hours at a time now, this literally did conclude the action for one working ‘day’).

Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “Bench Repair (Part 2)

  1. Nice looking looking mortice machine you have there Olly. Looks to be doing a good job too.
    A useful tip about the marking up straight off the saw as well. Glad to hear the workshop is working smoothly, though it sounds like you mitre saw could use some ‘uncovering’ πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing.

  2. I think you hit the nail on the head with Luan. Around here most door and window shops use it for jambs and frames. Very nice to mill but kind of a plain wood that loves to drink up finish. Almost mahogany like.

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