Four Guys, Four Days, Five Workbenches – Day 4

The fourth day brought everything together.  Since everyone had their benches on their feet by the end of Day 3 we were in really great shape and I was confident that the scheme I devised for the workshop would result in everyone going home with a completed bench.  But this was the day with lots of odds and ends.


The day involved a lot of sawing.  For starters I asked everyone to trim the tenons protruding through their bench tops as a good warm-up.  Using a selection of saws from my collection everything was done in a flash.



Following that we trimmed all the benches to finished length, then flipped the benches on their sides on top of low saw benches and sawed the legs to each person’s preferred height.  Like I said earlier, the small number of participants allowed us fair latitude to customize each bench.




With the tenons trimmed and the legs cut to the desired height the task was then to get the tops flattened.  Much like the undersides, a few minutes with a scrub plane was followed by perhaps an hour or so with a fore plane.  This put the benches in shape to be used for work right away.  The final smoothing of the bench tops will not occur until next spring after they have gone through a year’s seasoning.

As we were ramping up for the planing I tuned each plane they would be using, then gave a brief tutorial on the method I use for sharpening.  It may or may not be the correct technique, but it works for me and now they know how I do it.  Whether or not they use the same approach is for them to decide.


Once the tops were flat it was time to chop the mortise for the planing stop.  I had intended to create these mortises in the same manner as the leg mortises but just forgot to do it at the right time.  So, chopping.


Once the mortise was half chopped from the top we flipped the benches over and finished them from the underside.  A little time with the rasp and the planing stops were a snug and functional fit.


Once the guys were done with their planing stops they used an ultra-high-tech precision jig I made to drill their holdfast holes.

While all of this was going on I cut the stretchers and slats for the shelf under the bench.  For the most part these were simply packed up as four of the five benches were being disassembled for the trip home.

During our traditional Thursday night ribfest everyone confirmed that they were done with constructing their benches and wanted to pack up and head home the following morning.  So we trudged up the hill for the glamour shot, then disassembled the benches and loaded them.  Since the legs were a precise snug fit driving them out of the mortises was no trouble with a block of wood and the two-pound sledge.


And with that, the First Fellowship of the Workbench was disbanded and scattered to the winds.