The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Toothbrushing Bench

My son's 3 little kids all have to brush their teeth at the same time. The bench they use to stand on at the sink is not long enough to accommodate all 3. My son requested I build a custom bench for the grandkids.

My Sketchup Design

I will make it from pine. The legs will be 1.5x1.5 inches..........the rest will be standard 3/4" thick pine.

I am using 1x4's, so I had to glue up 4 boards to make the top.

I will use steel table top fasteners to allow the top to move with temperature/humidity changes, and the top won't split.

4 Boards glued and clamped for top

I use the "poor man's method" of getting the joints ready for gluing.  I run the left edge of the board thru the table saw with the fence on the normal RH side.........then I move the fence to the other side.........and run the right edge through the table saw.  Any error in the angle between the table saw leg and is removed using this method.

Mortise and Tenon corner joints

My mortises will be 3/8" wide. Since pine is not that strong, I won't start the joint in the left until I am down 3/4" from the top.  I put 45 degree cuts on the ends of the tenons so they can be the max length for more gripping power when they are glued.

In the Sketchup view below, I changed the leg to be a translucent material, so you can see the mortise and tenon joints.

Making Mortises

I chose to make the mortises first, then I can adjust the thickness of the tenon to match the actual rectangular hole as close as possible.  My Delta machine made easy work of making the 3/8" wide mortises :)

Making the Tenons

I used my tenon fixture on the table saw to make the tenons.

Then I cut the 45 degree angles on the ends on the miter saw.

I made the frame 3 inches high and 3.5" wide 1x4's.  I should have left them at 3.5" wide while tenoning, got the normal saw tearout, then table sawed them on each side down to 3" height, and removed and tear-out.   The tear out was not too bad.

To reduce the tenon width, I had to remove 1/4" from one side and 3/4" from the other side.  I put the boards in the vise and used the dovetail saw to cut with the grain, then I used a hand jig saw to remove the stock.  The only problem with this method is I never seem to get the saw against the grain exactly in line with the table saw cut.........I had to kiss the surface with my Dremel and 1/2" diameter sanding drum to make it more flush with the rest.

Remembered to make grooves for table top fasteners before gluing

Usually I get all excited about gluing up the frame, and I forget to cut the grooves or the steel table top fasteners on the side rails.  If I forget, it is more difficult to cut the groove on the router table after the frame is assembled.  The groove should start 7/16" below the top of the rail.  I cut it 1/4" deep.

Merlin band clamp

I usually don't use this clamp unless I have to.........because it almost takes 2 people to get it in position to clamp it up.  I decided to use it on this project.  I had to remove 2 clamps because it had 6 on it, and this job only requires 4.  The last time I used it was clamping a 6 sided hexagon project.  Once I got it into position it worked fine.

Installing table-top brackets - 6 of them

I did make a small 45 degree chamfer on the bottom of all 4 legs, on all 4 sides, as you can see in the photo above.  I just held the leg at about 45 degrees on the horizontal belt sander and made the chamfer.  This will prevent splinters coming out of the bottom of the legs as they are slid on the floor.

Ready to Prime

Sketchup Warehouse

I uploaded my design to the warehouse. You can use this link to download a copy of the design.

Primer and Paint Used

Signing the Project

I normally burn in my name and year built using an electric burner.  Since this is such a dark brown, that would not show up well.  I burned the bare pine, then covered it with blue masking tape while I painted it.  Then I removed the tape and put on 1 coat of polyurethane over the bare wood.

Finished Project

Closing Thoughts on this Project

I have built more than 20 benches/tables over the years, so this project was pretty straight-forwards for me.  The bench is strong..........I jumped up and down on the center and it did not phase it at all.  Should hold up well for the grandkids !!!!!!!