Now that the slabs are roughly sized it's time for them to really start to take shape. The rear slab is a piece of cake...so much so that I've opted not to cut it to its final length just yet. Where so much hinges upon the front slab I think I'm going to hold off chopping the rear one to a specific length until I'm ready to do the same on the front.
But I do need to square up the right edge in prep for the end cap tenon. I believe my front slab has a bit of a twist in it so in an effort to counter act that twist I made all of my marks from the front edge of the slab.
As I mentioned in my last post I did end up with some hairline gaps in the laminate. Thankfully the worst of them are on the left edge (right side in the picture as we're working from the bottom) which allowed me to really only have to cut off the first few inches of the right side in order to cut off any snipe that may have resulted in the initial milling. This is where I wish I had a larger circular saw...in all my years of woodworking I never thought I would say that...honestly I didn't see it coming. I've only ever needed my cordless circular saw as I typically rely on my table saw or sliding compound miter for these kinds of cuts. But then again I never thought I would be cutting a slab this large either...
Anyway...with my saws depth of cut sitting just over 2" I was golden...well I would have been if I hadn't left my slab thickness at 4-5/8"...Yeah...oh well not the end of the world. What this translated into was not the nicest of cuts and my having to saw through roughly 1/2" of material over the length of the cut with my crosscut saw. Again, not the end of the world but not really my ideal outcome either. I did have to spend a bit of time with my block plane and chisels to bring the nub left by the crosscut saw down to match the rest of the end. With that out of the way it was time to get my tenon on.
After laying out the tenon and X-ing out the waste I set my saw to the depth of cut and got to work on hogging out most of it. I used an old timber framing trick of running multiple kerfs through the waste (also used by Marc over at the WoodWhisperer during his build/instruction) which then makes the task of cleaning up the face of the tenon that much easier. As I did this I couldn't help but think back on my younger years when I learned this trick from my grandfather...I never saw that man cut a dado, rabbet or tenon in which he didn't use this technique. I remember asking him why one day and the answer was simple...time...in the time it would take for him to swap to a dado blade in his ancient behemoth table saw he could run several kerfs through a piece with a hand saw or his circular saw and have them clean as a whistle with a chisel. It's funny how over the years I've opted to swap my dado blade in for a single cut...I think the next time that rolls around I may just have to give his lesson another go.
With the multiple cuts made it's an easy task to just knock them cleanly away with a wide chisel. With the pieces gone I flipped the slab on to its back side, giving me access to the leading/vice edge and made the final cut as deep as my saw would go. A few strokes from the hand cross cut saw and the last chunk of waste fell to the floor.
Now it's just a matter of cleanup. A few passes with the chisel brings the tenon into shape and removes the nubbin left by the hand saw. A pass or two from the block plane and my trusty old Stanley rabbet plane brought everything into final dimensions.
Now it's time to wrangle an end cap and make this slab start to look like a proper bench.
Total Build Time:
- 1.5 hours (lumber selection, transport & stacking)
-4 hours (Top Slab milling)
- 1.5 hours (slab prep and glue up*)
-0.5 hours (preliminary flattening of both slabs)
-0.5 hours (Final rough slab milling)
-0.5 hours (trimming end and bringing into flat & square)
-1 hour (cutting and finishing tenon
-9.5 hours total
*I havent included my clamp time in these figures if you want to add those figures in, each slab sat for 24 hours each