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Author Topic: Rustic (?) ash log benches  (Read 1332 times)

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Online WV Sawmiller

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Rustic (?) ash log benches
« on: February 14, 2017, 07:57:53 pm »
   Never posted in this category before and after you see my workmanship Jeff may ban me from returning here again.

    Yesterday I split a rough looking 6' ash upper section into 2 4" "slabs" for benches. I  first flattened the bottom pieces opening about a 6-8 inch face. I made a homemade jig out of a scrap piece of 1X6 to help guide the angle for the legs. Its a little touchy as you don't want the legs sticking out too far or they will be a trip hazard. Too vertical and the bench will fall over. I found I had to tack the jig to the bottom of the log or it would move when I tried to bore holes with a 1-1'2" spade bit. The jig also served as a depth guide.
 

 
I start with a 3X3 I cut yesterday for the legs by clamping it into a vice mounted on the upright of my pole barn.
 

 
This is my homemade jig mounted on the bottom of the bench. Once the holes are drilled I remove the jig and move it to the other end.
 

 
Next I mount the tenon cutter (like a big pencil sharpener) on a 1/2" drill. This is a potential wrist breaker and would be much better mounted in a proper shop on a boring machine rather than hand held. During the process I even broke my T-handle on this bargain brand drill making it even harder to use.
 

 
I grind off the end of the 3X3 into the shape of the male end of the tenon. This is a 3" long 1.5" tenon (Dowel part) with a 60 degree slope if I remember the specs correctly.
 

 
I reverse the 3X3, do the other end then do the next pair of legs and place them where I can cut them in half with a chainsaw.
 

 
A quick cut and I have 4 overlength legs to install. I don't try to measure up front - cut overlong then trim. I drill and clean out the holes for the legs using a 1-1/2" spade bit 3" deep then apply wood glue to the male ends of the tenons, drive them in with a mallet (baby sledge) and even drill in a 4" deck screw to help keep the leg in place till the glue dries.
 

 
I take the bench to the mill and place it face down on the rails and shim is to help center it. When I started to cut I actually found the scrap/shim was too wide and had to put a smaller piece in and clamp the bench upside down.
 

 
I move the blade guides out wide and set the height at 17".
 

 
I pass the blade slowly through the legs cutting them all perfectly level to the bed.
 

 
Finished bench sitting on the trailer upright. Note all 4 legs fit perfectly level on the flat bed as they will on the floor of the house or porch.
 

 
Sampson says we are done and wants to go up in the woods and look for my next candidate log. These 2 benches will go to a consignment shop tomorrow and we will see if they sell.
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline pineywoods

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2017, 08:20:57 pm »
I been using my mill to level off table and stool legs for a long time. I use a forstner bit to drill the holes for the legs. Makes a much cleaner hole than a spade bit.
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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2017, 08:31:46 pm »
Piney,

   I have the Forstner bit that came with the tenon maker but have trouble getting these angled holes started with it. Is there a special trick I am overlooking. I can see where they would work fine on a stationary boring machine but maybe freehanding is the problem.

   Yes the mill works great for cutting the legs all level and straight.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Ox

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2017, 08:36:55 pm »
Don't be so hard on yourself - that bench looks great and will sell quickly.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2017, 08:17:54 am »
Hopefully, the legs will stay flat.  One potential issue with using green slabs is that if they warp a bit as they dry, the warp will pull the legs out of level flat. 

What do you value one of these benches?
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Online WV Sawmiller

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2017, 09:09:27 am »
Danny,

   This is WV. Few of us around here have level floors anyway but somebody on his way to Ga might buy them :D Yes, I realize they may shift a bit and require future adjustment. The first I made I split with a chainsaw and tapered with an ax and leveled with a chainsaw. They are used at my outside picnic area and find their own level. I used basswood cut by the utility company with locust legs. I later used buckeye. Buckeye is real soft and lighter and mostly trash wood for us. Ash is naturally a little drier than many other woods anyway but these are definitely green.

    I will start off pricing them at around $100 and see how well them move. If they move fast I may jack the price up. Other woods would be priced differently.

   Sampson and I looked around yesterday and I spotted 2 standing, dead walnuts with the sapwood already gone about the same size I may cut next and use for benches or such. I've been meaning to cut them for years and never got around to it yet. Not sure how walnut would do as legs as it is not going to be as strong as ash or locust IMO.

   Using the tenon cutter I understand it is actually better to use dry legs and greener wood. Then as the wood dries it naturally tightens around the tenon. Of course I guess that offers a chance fo splitting too. Time will tell.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2017, 11:20:41 am »
I still find my 2 year old air dried white pine slab benches will move some
i put adjustable feet on them
That has worked for me
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Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2017, 11:37:33 am »


 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
Sampson says we are done and wants to go up in the woods and look for my next candidate log. These 2 benches will go to a consignment shop tomorrow and we will see if they sell.
Your furniture skills are fine.  Sampson wants you to venture into some upholstery work. :laugh:
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Offline Darrel

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2017, 01:23:49 pm »
WV Sawmiller, I have a leg leveler that looks very much like yours. You won't believe how excited I was when I discovered that I could use it for sawing logs into lumber! ;D

Good looking bench too!
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Offline 21incher

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2017, 05:04:36 pm »
That is a good looking bench. I like how you put the tenon on a square leg. I bet it is sold in no time.  :)
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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2017, 07:40:41 pm »
TT,

   Not sure about Sampson and upholstery. He is in the doghouse this week for getting bored and taking my favorite worn our $20 work coat (which was only 20-25 y/o), dragging it off the 4 wheeler and chewing the jersey hood off it. Don;t worry, I will commute his sentence in short order.

21"r,

   We will see. I took a truck load of big slabs and these benches and a bunch of cookies and donuts (cookies off a hollow log) over to the consignment shop today. The owner did think the benches will sell quickly and the cookies also. I hope so as I have several dozen more and several tops I can cut into more. They would make better cookies than lumber or woodworking slabs. The guy at the shop wanted to know my hourly rate for making tenons as he wants to make a log bed and needed 4 cut. I told him if just 4 no charge and come on over and I'd cut them for him and show him how the tenon maker works and he can buy one himself if he likes it and wants one.

Bruno,

   More on the adjustable feet if you will. I think I missed something there.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline Ox

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2017, 08:52:59 am »
WV - a quick question on your tenon cutter.  I've never used one - do you have to really lean into it in order for it to feed and as such you have to really hang on?  Or can you let it kinda hang there taking little tiny shaves off nice and easy but taking much longer?  You mentioned breaking the grab handle off so I'm guessing it really bites.  Nice work - I like your bench.
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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 03:49:58 pm »
Ox,

   In all honesty the tenon cutter would work much better on a horizontal boring machine with adjustable low speeds or such than a handheld drill. It can be a real wrist breaker on a half inch drill.

   As to pressure you want to use a very light pressure and let it cut small chips off the end. If/When you lean on it too hard it will certainly bind and stop the drill.

   The "kit" came with the tenon maker, a 1-1/2" Forstner bit and a booklet showing various projects you can build with it. I think there are other, larger kits with different size tenon maker but I did not see any larger ones than this (1-1/2") and this was what I figured I needed and trusted for making benches.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2017, 06:03:33 pm »
I mount my tenon cutter in my wood lathe and i made a slide to
put the log in. the slide has two scissor jacks in it to center the log.
I have a short rope that wraps around the log to keep it from turning.
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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2017, 09:20:40 pm »
Kbeitz,

   On my radial arm saw there is an extra shaft connection to hook up another device. Do you think it would power the tenon cutter or would the speed be too fast? If you think it would work how would you suggest I mount it? It has a threaded bolt just like the saw blade. I looked and it would be spinning in the correct direction.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2017, 02:35:40 pm »
WV
the feet are sold at most hardware stores
i buy the metal heavy duty ones with the drive in nuts
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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2017, 07:27:39 pm »
WV Sawmiller

Oh my God... Please don't even try that...
I turn my bits at the slowest speed I can get on my lathe.
The RPM of a radial arm saw alone would snap the stub
of your saw off before you even got close to it with a log.
You want 750 rpm tops. Radial arm speeds start at 3,450
and some are 5000 rpm. I think I running at 200 rpm.
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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2017, 09:29:52 pm »
Kbeitz,

   Thanks for the warning. I was a little nervous because the of the speed of the drill and because the tenon cover is a pretty heavy little piece of equipment. I will scrap that idea immediately. I think the aux. shaft says something about for use with drill, router, sander, etc.

Bruno,

   So you are talking about the little round metal screw in/out feet like on a washing machine or such. I had never thought about installing them. My benches in the past were always planned to be used on dirt and such leveling would not work. On solid floors they would. I will consider that too. Thanks for the assist.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2017, 11:14:17 pm »
Do you realize you can use your table saw and or radial arm saw to make those tenons with a simple jig

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Re: Rustic (?) ash log benches
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2017, 11:32:41 pm »
Ox,
   In all honesty the tenon cutter would work much better on a horizontal boring machine with adjustable low speeds or such than a handheld drill. It can be a real wrist breaker on a half inch drill.
I have a couple of Shopsmith 10ERs.  They can be set up to horizontal boring rigs.  They show up free or really cheap on CL quite often.  That's why I have two.  If I didn't have so much stuff in my shop, I'd probably have more! :D
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