Herman-Style Sawbench – A Firm Footing


Sawbench Foot 1

The last major step in constructing this bench is the addition of feet.  The end board sits in a rabbet cut in a piece of 2×4, as shown above, and is secured with screws.  This gives a replaceable bottom for the ends, and provides a support for stock clamped vertically on the end of the bench.  As you can see, this arrangement also allowed me to handily add 1 1/4″ to the height of the bench, matching the height of my preexisting one (I told you I had a solution!).

If I were using a tablesaw, this rabbet would be a simple matter of two saw cuts that meet to define the recess.  Using hand tools, the traditional approach would be to do the same thing with a ripsaw.  My concern was that this was a very long vertical cut in a piece of wood that was relatively narrow.  This precluded using a reference surface to start the cut, as is often done when cutting for dadoes or sliding dovetails.  If I were doing several, I could cobble something together.  However, I decided to try something that was, at least to me, somewhat novel.

Sawbench Foot 2

I have recently become the proud owner of a new Veritas small plow plane, and I saw a way it might help.  I had the idea to start the cuts by plowing grooves to define the start of the rabbets, and then finishing with the saw.  This would provide a vertical bearing surface to keep the cuts on track.

Sawbench 12

Accordingly, I set up the plow plane with a 1/8″ iron, and plowed two full-depth grooves.  The plow plane has a maximum depth of 1/2″, but this was a start.

Sawbench 13

I followed this with my large tenon saw to finish the cut.  True, it’s shorter than my ripsaw, but the Bad Axe’s 10 tpi filing is extremely aggressive, and finished the cut quickly, while the rigid back added stability.  You will notice that the ends are mitered.  I plowed the grooves with the ends square, but cut the miters prior to sawing the rabbets.  This allowed me to accurately cut the miters while the surfaces were flat, and had the added benefit of reducing the length of the saw cut.  All that was left was a little clean-up with block plane and shoulder plane

Sawbench Finished

The feet were attached with screws, and the project was done – well, mostly done.  It still needs a finish, which will consist of a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil.  The last step will be to bore holes for holdfasts and other such stock holding options.  I think I’ll wait till I need them, and let the need pick the location for me.  All in all, this makes for a good hand tools-only project that will sharpen your skills and at the same time provide a useful addition to your shop.  Give it a try!

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4 responses to “Herman-Style Sawbench – A Firm Footing

  1. Looks great. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Very nice! So are you happy with your plow plane?

  3. Pingback: Blanket Chest – Creating the Coves | Little Good Pieces

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