|Rough Joinery Complete|
I'm working on a 15th century bench, but don't tell anyone. I got a metric butt load of wood from a fellow church parishioner. The wood is Northern White Cedar from a barn that stood for 90 years. I'm building the bench as a surprise thank you for the wood.
The picture above is the completed joinery on all major components except the seat. The tenons on top are in a V shape and are compressed with clamps immediately before placing in the mating mortise. The expanded wood completes the piece and locks everything in place. That last step is a one shot deal.
The cross members are held to the legs with a bridle joint. Put both of your hands up with your pointy and angry fingers in the air (the classic victory sign). Then put your hands together with the V shape interlocking (a finger of the opposite hand should be tickling your palm). That is a bridle joint, but I'm not sure the above description is any more clear to anyone who doesn't already know what a bridle joint is.
The top tenons necessarily prevent the table saw blade from reaching the full depth of the saddle joint on the bench legs. I used the dado stack, Band saw, hand saw, rasp and chisels to create the saddles in each piece.
The dado stack made short work of the saddles in the cross members. On the left side of the picture behind the bench leg you can see the fence I screwed to the miter sled. My first sacrificial fence several years ago was quite the production. I checked, rechecked, and checked again everything on the fence to make sure disaster wouldn't happen. Move forward to now and it is just a stupid sacrificial fence that took maybe a minute to size, cut, affix and run over the dado stack. I've remarked before about reaching woodworking milestones, so this post is no different in that regard. Complex actions become commonplace and even comfortable with time and repetition. Obligatory warning against familiarity breeding contempt when it comes to safe practices: NEWSFLASH: table saw blades cut without a conscience, including the Sawstop line of saws.
The mating saddle on the bench legs was a bit more difficult. My dado stack is an 8 inch. A lot of folks say the six inch dado stack is all you'll ever need. However, sometimes you might be working on a saddle joint right next to a tenon. The 8" dado stack at full height was able to engage the saddle for about a half inch on the legs. I did this right after the cross members to guarantee a correctly sized saddle mate. The rest of the saddle was cleared with a hand saw and band saw. The hand saw was used to complete the end cuts. To save time, I used the band saw to knock out most of the waste. Rasps and chisels were used to clean up the cuts in all eight saddles.
All that is remaining is to cut the mortises in the seat and complete the decorative profiles on the cross members and legs.
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