New Saw Benches

I made a traditional sawyer bench several months ago.  I went all out; 4/4 white ash, dovetail joints for the carcass, and the stretchers where all dowelled in place.  It is the perfect height, perfect width, stable as a rock and works great.  Problem is, it’s also really heavy.

I decided to build a simple six-board saw bench.  It’s just like the older five-board bench, except the top is in two pieces, which allows you to rip along the entire top.

I grabbed some southern yellow pine form the local lumber yard.  Lumber yards have a much better selection than big box stores, and I prefer to support local business over corporate giants.  I plan on making two benches, so I bought a 1x12x8 for the legs, 1x6x12 for the side stretchers, and a 12′ piece of 5/4×12 for the top.  This will give a little more heft for material support.

The finish height of the bench should allow you to kneel on your material, for support, with one leg, and not need to crouch or raise up to keep your back straight.  My finish height is 18-3/4″. I subtracted 1″ for the top, and cut my leg boards to 17-3/4″ long.

Here are the legs, ready for assembly. I cut the notch 3″ from the end, 8″ deep, and drilled a 3/4″ hole at the vertex.  I don’t remember where I saw this suggestion, but I remember it is supposed to prevent splitting of the leg.

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The spreaders are cut to overhang the legs by 3″, with a miter cut to reduce the clumsiness and make a cleaner appearance. They are set into the legs, then I glued the long grain and used 1-1/2″ screws.

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I eased all of the edges, because I didn’t think this one through all the way.  On the next bench, I will wait until after assembly to ease the edges, so I only ease what does not become part of a joint.

Here it is, all glued and screwed.  I’ll let it stay clamped overnight, then fasten the tops.

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