Once all the parts were shaped to satisfaction, it was time to put the whole thing together. I started by boring holes to drawbore the feet to the uprights. I prefer a brace and bit for both aspects of this job. For the mortises, it allows me to bore till the point of the auger exits, then reverse and bore from the other side for clean holes on both faces. For the tenons, I can mark them through the hole in the foot, then easily offset slightly towards the shoulder. An auger is better for this than any other bit I’ve tried. It bores where you put it, and doesn’t wander like other bits.
Once the drawbores were prepared, a peg with a tapered point and a liberal dose of liquid hide glue put the joint permanently together. One of the nice things about drawboring is that no clamps are required, and you can “go on with your rat killin’,” as we say in the South.
At this point, I cut the uprights to final length. I was going to use a 1″ deep half-lap joint to attach the top stretcher to the uprights. This meant that 2″ of board width would be taken up with the joint. Since the top stretchers were 3″ wide, this would leave 1″ protruding above the top of the uprights. Accordingly, I cut the uprights to a total height that was 1″ shorter than my bench height.
I had originally planned on planing my through-tenons flush with the surface, and had beveled them slightly before assembly to reduce spelching (blowout) when I planed them. However, once I saw how they looked protruding 1/8″, I decided to leave them as they were. The problem was that the leftover wedges sticking out made for a rather odd look. Don’t worry – there’s an app for that.
The first step was to cut the wedges (and drawbore pegs on the feet) flush with the surface.
This, of course, leaves unsightly protrusions that must be removed.
My tool of choice for this is a shoulder plane. Having the blade flush with the side of the plane allowed me to bring the bevels down flush with the surface of the upright. In addition, the low blade angle and tight mouth allowed me to work crossgrain on the ends of the tenons with little trouble.
The end result is a nicely protruding tenon with beveled corners.
The last step was to add the top stretchers. After cutting a 1″ deep notch in the uprights the same width as the stretcher, I put the stretcher in place and marked a corresponding 1″ deep notch in the stretcher. This is a perfect example of relative measurement. Rather than using a rule to measure the distance and then marking and cutting, just mark it in place. This has the added benefit of allowing you to compensate for warped stock, as one of my uprights had done slightly. When the two were assembled in a half-lap joint, the final height corresponded with the height of my workbench.
The original plan called for finish nails to hold the top stretcher in place, but I decided instead of the more prosaic choice of wood screws. Hey, this is a working tool, and wood screws make for easier replacement of the top stretcher when it becomes worn.
And here they are, ready to go to work! The top stretcher matches my workbench, and the bottom once corresponds with my sawbenches. I’ll probably end up putting a coat of boiled linseed oil on them, but I’m going to leave them plain for now. Call me lazy.
I hope this has inspired you to make a pair of your own sawbents. Even if you already have sawhorses, these bring a different utility to the shop. Keep your eyes peeled, and you’ll see them playing a supporting role in future projects.