One of the interesting aspects of building this second Roman workbench has been how useless machines are to the process.
The benchtop is too big for a jointer and planer – and too heavy to move without a crane. But a jack plane trued it up quickly without any back strain.
When it came to the tapered legs, my plan was to cut away some of the excess on the table saw. I have a 3 horsepower cabinet saw, which usually can handle anything in furniture making. But the oak legs were too dense and wet. The saw bogged down and the thermal overload switch popped several times.
So I turned to the band saw with a fresh blade. Ditto. Once again, the jack plane and jointer plane did the majority of the work, and in fairly short order. (After wasting away a lot of material I did use my electric jointer to tidy things up with some light passes.)
Turning the tenons was like riding a bronco at a prison rodeo. I have a midi-lathe that I clamp to my massive French oak workbench. Even though I carefully balanced each leg between centers, the entire bench jumped and wobbled as I turned the 3”-diameter 5-1/2”-long tenons at 500 rpm – the slowest speed available.
Now comes the mortises. I hope that my corded drill is up to the task.
— Christopher Schwarz