Roughing the saw bench parts…

If you read my post on ripping one of my 6×8 oak beams in half  (here) then you may remember me mentioning that I’m planning on making  a new, super-duper saw bench. I’ve decided that its time to take things to the next level with my saw appliances…my little saw bench is nice, but it feels under built for my work. I want my new saw bench to be bomb-proof….I weigh about 240 and I’m clumsy…I’m not very nice to inanimate objects.  

So this new design will be built entirely from one of my oak beams, which, since my big rip, is now two 8 and 1/2 foot long 4×6 inch beams, actually. So the next step is to rough out all of the parts.

I start by cross cutting both 4×6 beams in half to make them more manageable. I’m using one of my 20 inch panel saws here because with the beam trestled up on the floor, I’m pretty sure the teeth of a full size saw would be biting concrete as much as wood…

You can see that I’m using a little cross cutting guide here to make the cut. It’s essentially an upside down bench hook with 180 grit sand paper glued to the underside to grip the work. I place it directly next to the cut line and stroke away. This low on the ground and kneeling makes for some inaccurate work. So, I figure when making a big cross cut like this, if you can’t bring the work to the bench hook, bring the bench hook to the work. It works like a charm! Here’s a close up…

The nicer of the two cross-cut beams will become the top…two side by side, 4 foot lengths at 4 inches thick and 6 inches wide…lots of real estate to hold the work!

For the legs of the bench, I’m thinking I need four 18 inch lengths. My current saw bench is around 20 inches tall and I want this one to be about two inches taller. With the added height from the four-inch thick top, I should have plenty to work with.

So I switch to my new favorite cross-cut saw…the old Disston #7 that I made a new handle for here, and mark out my cuts. Up on the bench, its much easier to track a line, so no need for the cross-cut guide. I will kerf in the top and side of the cut to give me a two-dimensional guide however.

To do this, I start on the top of the work, line up the saw teeth parallel with the face of the wood and stroke slowly back and forth to establish a shallow kerf the whole width of the cut…

Now I do the same thing to the side of the cut line…

Now I just line up those two lines with the saw plate and saw away…

I gotta say…this old #7 is a real gem….its fast, smooth and leaves a really fine finish. I measured the saw plate thickness all around and at 0.032 at the tooth line and tapering to .024 at the back…its super thin for a 26 inch hand saw by today’s standards. The thin plate gives it that almost Japanese pull saw smoothness (yes Wilbur…I do love the smoothness!)

So here are the four legs roughed to length….

You can see where the pith has caused some fierce checking, so I’ve decided to rip these down to get rid of the checks.

I’ll rip these on my workbench by securing them with holdfasts…this is definitely the easiest way to rip. You can rip all day like this without tiring at all because of all the upper body weight you can use and multiple muscle groups at work.

I use my 26 inch, 5 point Disston #9 with the Wenzloff saw plate…I figure it did so well on the big beam, why mess with a good thing? These oak legs are only 4 inches thick now, so the work should be fast and relatively easy.

First, I kerf in the vertical cut line to keep the saw plumb…

Next I get the cut going with an overhand grip making sure to split the line perfectly…

And once I’m at full depth, I switch to a side by side upright grip and stroke away like a madman…

In a few minutes, I’ve got all four legs roughed into 4×4’s…

All that’s left is to cut the two cross members that join the legs and the top…I mark and  rip them to remove the checked area as well…

…and soon, I’ve got all my parts for the bench roughed to size…

I’ll let these parts acclimate for a week or so and then true them up and start building my new super saw bench…I can’t wait!

More to come…

-Matt

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Published in: on December 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very cool Matt. I bought some saws. I’ll send pics soon. Your saw bench article comes at a good time…looks like I’m going to need to make one.

    V

  2. Looking good Matt, will be following this one closely. That is about 3rd or 4th on my list to do for the shop. Keep up the good work.

    Steve

  3. I can’t wait to see what you come up with Matt. The guide looks like a good idea, I may have to try it as well. Going to start my sawbench once all the last minute Christmas stuff is finished.

  4. good work

    tukul

  5. Good article. I really like the cross cut guide you made. I think i will make on of those for myself.

    yaakov….


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