Once the leg/stretcher joints were dry, I bored the holes for the stepped dowels, using a dedicated drill bit in my brace. The dowels I have chosen for this project are made from walnut, which I thought might offer a bit of contrast with the cherry. The dowels were glued in place and, once dry, sawn and plane flush.
I then turned my attention to the aprons and cleats. The cleats had already been marked during my most recent dry fit, so I started by cutting them to length, making one end of each 100º to accommodate the slope of the splayed legs. I then glued them to the aprons and clamped them overnight.
All that was done last night, so this morning I planed the cleat apron assemblies flush, making sure that they remain square where they will support the top boards. I dry assembled the bench and marked out the final length of the aprons and cut them.
Now it’s time to glue up the top boards to the leg assemblies, using the apron and cleat assemblies to make sure everything is squared up. Although these joints will be pegged in due course, I want to make sure that the bond is as strong as possible. I will probably leave things clamped for the rest of the day and carry on with the assembly tomorrow.
While the glue is going off however, I can address the only outstanding component: the fence. Although it is already dimensioned, I thought that I could try to emulate the design detail in the original – a decorative bead scratched along the top with a beading tool. Sadly, I don’t have a beading tool, so I improvised by making deep scores about ¼” from each edge with a marking gauge. Then, using the corner of an old heavy gauge card scraper, I widen each score into a ‘V’ shaped groove, cleaning up with a bit of sandpaper.
Finally, I glued the dowels into the removable fence. I should be ready for final assembly tomorrow, although whether I can find the time to get to it is another matter. If not tomorrow then Friday.
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