How to Make a Bench with Traditional Woodworking Joinery



hey I'm Caleb with you can make this – thank you for joining me had a whole lot of fun with this project because these joints were really challenging making these wedge through mortise and Tenon's I've never done them before but you can make this too is about not accepting your limits and just going for whatever it is you want to make and that's what I did challenging myself on this project now let me show you you can make this to like most of my hardwood projects this one started with breaking down the material to rough lengths and milling the material now I did a video on my milling process that I'll link below but the short of it is I'm making the wood flat square and straight while I work on that though I want to talk about tools I'm using a lot of big machines to speed things up but you don't need them last summer I did a series on machine substitutions and went over how to do everything I'm doing with these machines but with other tools and as far as milling goes you can also just by s4s lumber which is wood that has already been milled for you and the joinery for this can be done with just three tools and we'll get into that later none of the material I had was wide enough for the bench so after milling I had to do some glue ups to make the legs in benchtop now this project for me was a challenge to see how fine of a project I could make so you'll see more planing than usual like how I'm hand drawn ting each glue joint with my jointer plane before glueing them up to get the tightest possible glue seem like if I had hair I couldn't fit it in this joint these boards are super flat so I was able to get away with just using a small clamp right on the glue seam itself to keep the board's aligned but a better technique is to make and use a clamping call especially if you have multiple seams or your stock isn't completely flat or you can just use a domino after the glue dried I fed the panels through my thickness planer again to make sure they stayed flat I should have waited till later because I had to do touch-ups but after the glue ups and milling I removed all of the milling marks for my pieces with my smoothing plane I was thinking that it'd be better to smooth them before the joinery was finished but I didn't really think about how they would get dinged up while I manhandled cutting the joinery so I have to do this again later now before I can lay out my joinery though I needed to get the top and legs cut to final dimension because I'm gonna be measuring from the edges so to get the legs cut to identical lengths I made sure my miter gauge was square to my table saw blade and cut one end on each piece then I set my stop on my gauge and get both of the pieces to length the bench top was a little wide and needed to be cut down now for aesthetics I wanted the glue light to stay in the middle of the piece though so instead of bringing it down to the mention with one cut I made two cuts removing equal amounts from each side the first ordinary I laid out was the tenon on the end of the stretcher that will span between the legs I used a marking gauge to get really accurate lines I'm marking two sets of cut lines on these I'm going to remove some of the material from the very edges to create a shoulder and the other line is farther inside will be for the wedge the first cuts I made were the shoulder but before I cut those I set up some extra lighting for dramatic effect now it's pretty obvious to you but these shoulders are actually very important and that wasn't obvious to me I practice this joint in some scrap wood before building this because I've never done these type of joints before and I didn't put shoulders on the practice piece and then as I drove the wedge then the wedge is actually pulled the entire piece through the mortise because you know there were any shoulders there to catch the outside of the mortise and pull the joint tight so you got to have shoulders next I cut the slots that the wedges will go into I started by drilling a quarter inch hole at the base of the line now this hole makes sure that the wood on the outside is going to Bend and fill the mortise instead of breaking off or creating a split that goes way down the wood and then I cut the line now for the mortises I did two different techniques for them but there are way more ways to do this for the legs after I marked out the location I drilled out most of the waste at the drill press of course a hand rule would work as well just have to make sure that the drill goes straight or is angled slightly towards the middle of the mortise so that way the drill doesn't accidentally wander outside of the lines to clean up the mortis I switched it rizal's up my bench and began hogging out the wastes and I slowed down as I get closer to the line and take a lot of care not to accidentally go past it I like to use a wide chisel on the sides as I get close to keep them flat but then when I switched to squaring the corners I prefer to use a smaller chisel this mortise was cut to the size of the tenon but I'm going to put a wedge in the tenon so the ends of the mortise need to be slanted at the same angle as the wedge now the number of that angle totally doesn't matter I cut a line for the wedge a quarter inch from the edge and the wedge is going to be 1/4 inch thick so they're the same so all I need to do is off-camera mark a line 1/4 inch from the edge of the mortise and chisel back to that line I'll show more on the marking process later I'm gonna chisel through in grain right now which is super hard so I started with a narrow chisel to take smaller bites and then as I get closer to finish I switched to a wide chisel to finesse it down to the final size and make it nice and flat and of course I do this on both ends of the mortise time for the Tenon's on the top of the legs that will go through the bench top this will be a double tenon so I need to establish a shoulder at each end and then remove some waste in the middle to form both of the tenants to keep these super consistent and do them quickly I set up some stops on my miter gauge and use it at my table saw to remove almost all the waste now for the waste in the middle I leave some chips and I'll just break them out with a chisel and smooth them when I set the depth of cut at the table saw I said it deeper than the thickness of the top that these Tenon's will be going through so that way they're a little proud then I can flush cut them at the end so I use my marking gauge to transfer the actual depth of cut around the piece so I cut off the rest of the waste from the shoulders now yeah it would have been easy to do this at the table saw but part of my goal with this project was to get a lot of hand tool practice in so that's what I'm doing now I go through the trial at an error of Lane the mortises on the underside of the bench top I just use my marking gauge and keep going back and forth and back and forth until I see that everything is spaced equally then I know they're in the same spots now I haven't cut the slots of the wedges and the Tenon's yet because it was afraid that having that floppy piece at the end of the tenon as I measured against it may deflect and throw off my measurements so I'll cut that later with the mortises marked out I start cutting them out and this time I use my hand drill because the bench top is too big to manage at my drill press I tried finishing the mortise with the chisel like before but you'll notice that these mortises are oriented perpendicular to the grain instead of along the grain like on the legs that means that the long side of these mortises are all in Grain hard maple and chiseling that stuff was really challenging so I switched methods I decided to set up a fence and use my palm router to clean up the mortise now the mortise could have actually been cut out entirely with the router instead of drilling and then routing it but the router was kind of a last-minute idea the other nice part of this technique is it makes sure that both of the mortises are perfectly in line with each other and as soon as I finish one side I just move my fence to the other side and repeat it but my bit isn't long enough to go all the way through the mortise not a big deal so once I finished the first side I just flip the piece over put a flush trim bit in my router and finish up the other side the ends of the mortise are short so I just free handed them with a router pretty close to line and I'll be chiseling the angle in them soon anyway and that's long grain which is pretty easy to chisel once the routing is done I square up the corners with a chisel this might seem unnecessary but I needed to next I lay out marks a quarter inch past the end of the mortises for the angle the wedges will need I use my marking gauge for the ends but it's not long enough to reach into the middle so I just use a rule and a marking knife to mark out those next is something I haven't seen before but probably has been done before I use a flush cut saw to make sort of a depth and angle mark to chisel to I cut to the line at the top of the mortise and on the bottom I don't cut inside the mortise at all so my saw makes a cut that goes from the stop line on the top of the mortise to the edge of the mortise on the bottom yeah if I hadn't squared away the corners a minute ago that cut would have been a lot harder to make then I just chisel away and make sure not to go past the saw cut now I jump back to finishing the Tenon's on the legs I drill quarter inch holes at the drill press just like I did on the stretcher and cut them out with the handsaw I'm no hand tool expert but I've been using them a lot more and learning a whole lot about good technique and form if you're interested in me doing a video on a hand saw technique then please let me know in the comments below and whenever I stop feeling like I really suck at it I'll go ahead and do it up for you guys if there's interest everything is ready for glue up at this point so I take the smoother plane back to all of the parts because it's going to be a lot harder to smooth it after they blew up it also becomes super obvious at this point that I didn't do a good job flattening my work bench top so I guess that's gonna go on my to-do list if you're interested in a work bench I recently did a video on this one and I have plans there will be links to that below there's really not much to say about the glue up but I think watching it all get wedged together is really satisfying so I'll shut up and roll the montage [Music] once the glue dried I flesh cut all of the Tenon's to the surface then I came back and smoothed it down with my plane I'm new at this kind of woodworking though and didn't get the finish I wanted so I broke out my sander I know take my hand tool card and tell me I'm not a real woodworker but that's okay at least I didn't use a CNC last step is finished I stuck with my staple of three coats of general finish's armour seal lightly sanding in between according to YouTube's over 90% of the people watching this aren't subscribed so if you liked this please hit that subscribe button and bail maybe a thumbs up as well now if I didn't tickle your pickle please let me know what I can do better in the comments below and if you would like to support this channel you can use my affiliate links below consider becoming a patron and get some swag from the merch shelf below buy some plans or just smash that share button whatever you decide though thank you for taking the time to watch I do hope you enjoyed this and until next time make time to make something [Music]

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