I usually keep a log that records all the time I work on a project in the shop. But few people believe me when I say that I spend about 40 hours building an ancient workbench.
Their disbelief is understandable. I hear stories about people spending a year constructing a traditional European-style bench and sinking hundreds and hundreds of hours into the project.
I don’t begrudge them. Heck, I’m sure their benches look a lot better than mine does. But I doubt those purebreds can perform any tricks that my mongrel cannot.
We just wrapped up the second day of the bench-building class here at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking in Berea, Ky., and things are moving smoothly, though we are a tad behind.
Here’s the status report after two days in the shop. (Read about day 1 here.)
1. All the tops are glued up with all the through-joinery complete, plus all the cavities and complex recesses for the tail-vise hardware.
2. All the legs and stretchers are cut to size. All the tenons are cut on the stretchers. All the mortises are cut in the legs.
3. About half the class is doing a final fitting of the joints on their bases.
4. We’re riving the pegs to drawbore the bases.
Tomorrow will be all about installing their leg-vise hardware and preparing the parts for final assembly. If we are lucky (meaning, if I yell at them enough) we should be assembling the benches on Thursday and bolting on the hardware on Friday.
Today we also made some sore backs. On the tool list I told them to bring ibuprofen and brown liquor. One student commented tonight at dinner:
“I thought that was BS. I’m not so sure now.”
Wait until Friday about lunchtime.
— Christopher Schwarz