Introduction: Build a Sawyer's Bench (Free Plans)
So, you want to enjoy and improve your hand sawing (or power sawing) - well a decent sawyer's bench is a good start. Let me show you how I made mine, and share with you the 3D model and plans
There is also a series of unabridged videos of the build being published on my YouTube channel
I'm entering the 'Build a Tool' contest with this instructable, so if you like it, please head over and vote for it :)
Step 1: Material Preperation
You'll need a little lumber. I'm using a split plank of holly, and some reclaimed meranti (some of which turned out to be a mystery reddish hardwood, much denser and harder to work). What you use isn't too important, although the more stable the wood the better the bench will hold up over the seasons
Avail yourself of the SketchUp model, and drawings, from my website (I've put the drawings here in the instructable, but I'm not sure how clearly they will render). These will give you the dimensions for my sawyer's bench - remember, I'm a tad over six foot tall, so extend or shorten the bench legs to suit yourself. I find the a finished height that is approximately 1/3 the way up my kneecap is comfortable
Dimension the stock for each of the components, keeping the legs a couple of inches longer, before heading to the next step of cutting the legs to length
Step 2: Cut Legs to Length - With Angles!
Only one leg is squared at each end, so cut that to length first
Now follow the drawings, and cut the angled ends on the other three leg blanks. One of these is a compound cut! The angle to use in all cases is 7°
Stand the legs up on a flat surface and mark off the correct height from the initial, squared ended, leg. Now mark around the three legs using a combination of tri-square and bevel gauge, double check against first leg, and make the angled cuts to length
Step 3: Mark & Cut Stretchers and Rails
You could work direct from the plans, but in case of any deviations you might like to lay the components out and take measurements direct from them, as I'm doing in the photo's (I drew the plans after I'd finished!)
With the stretchers and rails marked for length, mark in the dovetails, as per the plans, and then cut them out
Step 4: Mark & Cut Housings
Take the prepared stretchers and rails, and one by one place them in position on the legs and transfer the dovetails with a marking knife
Use a marking gauge to set to the stretcher and rail thicknesses to mark in the required depths on the housings
Saw and pare the housings for a good fit. A router plane will speed up cutting to depth as shown
Step 5: Assembly One
Dry fit the legs, rails, and stretchers
If like me you left the stretchers and rails over length, now is a good time to accurately mark their lengths and then saw the ends off
When you're happy everything fits well, glue in the stretchers to the legs, and allow to cure
Step 6: Prepare Rails for Screws
The rails require screws to give adequate strength to the leg joint (since the dovetails are purely aesthetic)
Clamp the assembly together as shown, and drill two oversized clearance holes through each joint, as shown (oversize holes will allow for a little wood movement over time)
Follow up the clearance hole with pilot holes into the legs, and counter sink for the screw heads
Mark in for four screws in between the legs on each rail, which will secure the two top boards. Remove the rails and drill these holes (counter sink or counter bore them as appropriate for the length of screws to be used)
Step 7: Assembly Two
Glue the rails to the leg assemblies, tying the whole base together, and secure with the two screws into each leg
Clamp and allow to cure
Step 8: Secure the Two Top Boards
Drill 10mm dowel holes in the tops and top of legs to give correct alignment
Insert dowels, and screw the two tops in place
Step 9: You're Done!
Stand back and admire your work, and then grab a hand saw and try it out!
I hope you've enjoyed my instructable. If you did, then please vote for it in the build a tool contest.
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