The Best Intention a Sliding Dovetail Mortise Doesn’t Make

It took about 4 hours total to get all four legs planed, jointed and cut to length (I did that earlier this summer and they were pretty rough straight from the box store) and then the remaining 3 sliding dovetail and tenon joints were cut today in about 5 hours . Most of the latter took place this morning in marking, sawing and cleaning out the center waste and trying to do it accurately.

Next I moved on to the mortises in the benchtop. Actually one of the four that I needed to do. And I can say it was not easy or pretty. I did the first entirely by hand and found out that that particular site on the oak benchtop had some gnarly/wavy figuring which was very uncooperative when it came to laying out and chiseling the mortises. I used a brace to eliminate as much waste as possible but it was still a rather imperfect affair. It doesn’t help that I don’t have much experience with making mortise and tenon joints by hand. Plus 3 ½ inches of white oak can prove to be somewhat difficult.

For the remaining 3 mortises I will use the plunge router and get as close as I possibly can to the edges and then chisel the waste that is left. It just seems that with this oak that accuracy is tough to come by. I can dress up the first mortise that I made so that it won’t look too bad, but I’m never pleased when I know that something could be done better and should have been but wasn’t.

Nonetheless, this crucible of a workbench is coming along. And I’m determined to get it done and get it done correctly even if that means accepting some of the smaller mistakes as long as they can be rectified to both a form and function level of satisfaction.

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