This bench is made for sawing, completed

Hurricanes and tropical storms sure can put a damper on shop time.  Especially when you go 5 days without power and your shop is in your basement.  If I had my shop out in our barn, I could have gotten some work done, but then I’d be S.O.L. come winter since it has no heat or electricity.  Maybe I need to build an outdoor bench, with a gazebo and stereo equipment, and a place for an amplifier and drum riser.  I’d rock the oaks, and scare the chipmunks, perhaps get the deer tapping their hoofs.

Along with glue, I decided to use some screws for the top and leg joinery.  The stretchers I cut a dado in the legs, and then used the same glue and screw connection.  The cross stretchers I just used screws.  I just found whichever scrap wood would fit across the legs, without worrying too much about whether or not the scraps were equal. It turned out pretty sturdy and while not level immediately, it did not take much to get there.

For leveling I put the bench on top of the work bench.  I had some contractor’s shims, which I put under the legs until the top was level.  Then using dividers I found the highest gap leg, then traced that height all the way around all the legs. I only had my poor camera phone pictures for this part, so sorry about the photo quality.

I cut the legs following the line I scribed (with a little pencil added), then tried the saw bench again.  A little bit of rock-n-roll, but it wasn’t too bad, so rather than getting the saw back out, I just ID’ed the high spots and planed them, checked the level again, do some more planing.  Rock gone.  I then got out my japanese saw which looks like an Aztec sword and trimmed off the stretchers and cross stretchers.

I decided to go high-class and put some paint on the legs.  For the top, I did put a thin coat of tried & true varnish oil, just to resist any glue spotting if I use the bench for assembly.  I went with one of favorite finishes, Old-fashioned milk paint (pumpkin in this case) and some dark, raw tung oil from the Real milk paint company.  I put a single coat on the entire lower assembly, then two more coats on the outside surfaces of the lower assembly.  The main legs were rough (not even planed), but the stretches were planed on four sides.  It was quite noticeable  when painting and applying the tung oil.

You can tell the difference between the matte/chalky milk paint and the oiled paint.  For applying the oil, I use a 3m white pad, which I believe is about like 0000 steel wool.  I avoid steel wool because of my guitar work–steel wool bits and magnetic pickups don’t play well together.  I then let the oil sit for maybe 10-15 minutes, and wipe off any excess.

Oil slick.

Abrasive pad application.

And here is the bench, ready for work once the oil is completely dry. I’ll need to build a cousin for this one so I can rip or crosscut longer stock.  I am considering something out of the ordinary, and we’ll see if I can pull it off without making kindling.

Leave a comment


  1. Al (Thomas)

     /  September 5, 2011

    Nice to see you are staying busy making things. I’m sure your new saw bench will come in handy. And soon to have a twin… I agree being without power was certainly no fun. Imagine if Irene was even stronger?!?!
    I have a 2×10 that has volunteered to become a saw bench.
    Keep making things!

  2. Hey Al, yeah it looks like almost the entire state is re-electrified. So glad we didn’t have much damage, I was expecting to have to chainsaw my way out to the road. Look forward to hearing about your sawbench. You going to the open house this coming Sat? I don’t think I’ll be able to get the school box done in time to show it, but I might bring a guitar to show.

  3. Al (Thomas)

     /  September 5, 2011

    See you at the CVSW open house.


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