Workbench continued - Page 4
The next step was to cut the large dovetails to attach the left endcap to the dog-hole block. Since I wanted all face grain at the left end of the bench where the face vise would go, I went with half-blind dovetails. I was cautious since these were the first hand-cut dovetails I had attempted, having only used router-cut dovetails previously. Given the 2˝” width of the endcap, I decided to notch out a portion of the end, so that the tails were only about an inch deep, which I figured would reduce the difficulty of cutting them. I carefully laid out my tails first, and cut them using a newly purchased dovetail saw. I then cleaned them up with chisels. I then used the tails to lay out the pins. The end of the dog-hole block wound up being quite a complicated affair, as you can see in the picture. I needed to have the breadboard tenon continue onto the dog-hole block and have it all line up when the block was attached to the main body of the top, while also notching out for the reduced depth of the dovetails and having the dovetails line up properly. I took quite a bit of time getting all of this fussy work right, since I did not want to screw anything up this far along and risk having to start over with the dog-hole block. I then cut the pins in the end of the dog-hole block, which was a bit tricky since I had to work on the block on-end. Since these were my first hand-cut dovetails, I took my time with them to try and get a good fit. I think I succeeded fairly well, although the picture isn’t all that clear. I then cut the slot required for the tail vise hardware on the main body of the top since it is easier to do it before attaching the dog-hole block. Once that was cut, I glued the block to the main body of the top.
Tails cut on the left endcap: Pins cut on the dog-hole block:
Dry-fit of the endcap and dog-hole block: Gluing dog-hole block to main top (vise slot at bottom right):
Next step was to cut dovetails to connect the rear apron to the endcaps. I again went with half-blind dovetails due to the thickness of the endcaps. These dovetails went a little easier, having cut the most difficult set already on the dog-hole block. Again I was fairly pleased with how the dovetails turned out.
Dry-fit of endcaps for laying out rear apron: Rear apron after dovetails are cut:
Dovetails in rear apron and opening for tool tray: Close-up of dovetails.