My Roubo Bench Journey #12: One of those days, not good....

2582 views and 0 favorites in

I finished boring the mortises on the top side of the workbench top and got some help to flip it over. Then I took one leg and marked the two tenons onto the underside of the top and started to bore out the remaining mortise. The thru mortise was close but not perfectly lined up. I was excavating the excess wood from the sides when disaster struck:

The mortise chisel got stuck on the side, I banged it hard and the underside of the mortise gave way, as well as the chisel falling out of my sweaty hand onto the cement floor below. Yikes!!! You can see the blowout at the bottom of the mortise.

Did I tell you how much I dislike Douglas Fir :0(
I was not close to the bottom of the mortise when the wood gave way. I should not be surprised, as there are already numerous dents, dings and peeled wood. Here is a picture from below, keep in mind that this will be the top of the bench top when it is finished:

I may glue in a small patch, I may not, it just depends once the joint is finished.
The good news is that the chisel tip was not damaged during the fall. It does need sharpening, but that is easy. And I will be using a rubber mat below each mortise from now on.

Also, I have been toying with the idea of changing how to cut the sliding dovetail. In the book, it shows CS placing the top on it’s side to cut the dovetails. That way puts you cutting at an angle, which can be discomforting. I was thinking about just leaving the top flat on the saw horses and get on top of the wood and cut from there. That way I would be cutting a straight line downwards and not have to worry about angling the saw during the cut.
Let me know what you think?

View all parts of My Roubo Bench Journey »

I’m enjoying reading the process of you building this bench! I’m not sure if I’ve gotten better as a woodworker over time, but I certainly have gotten better at covering my mistakes…

-- Rob, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Thanks guys.
Brian, I like the idea of using wood filler.
I did finish boring the remaining three mortises today. And I decided that once I finish cleaning out the mortises from the underside of the top, I am going to go back and redo the mortises from the top side. I was in such a hurry to get the mortises done, that I didn’t do a good enough job on the top side, I need to fix that before moving on. I also decided to take off the tail vise and work on it. Where the vise attaches to the bench top, the metal vise is not a true 90 degrees. So I am going to do some grinding and fix that as well.

Well that makes two of us.
I made the dumbest mistake today when I was separating the lid of a box. That one Is going to be hard to fix.

Douglas fir, I am discovering is a pain in the rear to work with. Most of the 2×4 I worked with have a lot of stress inside that are not visible on the outside.

Like they say above, keep digging…

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

^^ LOL perfect advice!

It’s getting there. For the chunk that got knocked out, just use wood filler. You’re the only one that’s ever going to notice it and hey, it’s a work bench anyway. When I was building my office desk top (solid oak) I used the router to route out for a piece of glass to sit flush. I screwed up and took a hunk out about an inch square. I was so disappointed and frustrated. After I calmed down, I filled it with wood filler and then used a #2 pencil to draw in the grain. After finishing with poly, you can not see it unless it was pointed out to you.

Anyway, I guess the point is walk away if you need to. Have a couple of brews and sort out your thoughts and then go back and KEEP DIGGING! :-)

-- Losing fingers since 1969

Sign in to view comments