So the bench build has slowed down drastically. I was making great progress when I received a phone call from my wife while siting on a plane here in Atlanta. She had fallen on Stone Mountain a local park and torn 3 of the 4 ligaments in her right ankle. With two girls in the house under 4 it meant no shop time for me for a while. That was almost a month ago and she is recovering well, she is still not recovered but doing much better.
For me this also meaning that I can start getting a little shop time in. This past weekend I finally spent a few hours getting back to the Roubo build and it felt good. What felt even better was that I knocked out the task that I dread doing more than any other…mortises. As most of you know I am a big hand tool fan and although I thought I would end up resorting to power tools on this project, I have found that my hand tools are often more effective. Not when it comes to cutting all of the mortises in the legs though. I don’t mind chopping out one or two but the twelve required for the legs made me decide to pull out the mortiser.
The mortiser that I have is a Delta of my dads that we carry back and forth between our shops. It can be slow if you are just cutting one mortise but when chopping out a dozen that most time consuming part is just setup.
When using the mortiser, I always leave just a little material to be taken off with the chisel. The bit on the mortiser leaves the surface pretty rough and I like to have it as smooth as possible for maximum surface contact with the tenon. After roughing out a good sharp chisel makes easy work of the rest for a nice clean mortise.
Next, I will start on the tenons for the rails. The irony is though mortises are one of my least favorite tasks…cutting tenons are one of my favorite. Be sure to check back in next week and I will show you my method for cutting clean and accurate tenons.