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Sliding Dovetail Bench Camp Hill PA

You can build this bench in a weekend or two. And once you’re set up to build one, multiples are no sweat. So don’t worry if you can’t decide whether this bench would look best in your front hall or at the foot of your bed—build two! If you build your bench from white oak, as I did, you’ll even be able to use it outdoors. I spent about $100 on lumber and another $25 for a dovetail router bit.

The Home Depot
(717)795-9602
6000 Carlisle Pike
Mechanicsburg, PA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Woodcraft - Harrisburg, PA
(717) 939-6770
777 Eisenhower Blvd.
Harrisburg, PA

Data Provided by:
Middletown Lumber
(717) 944-4005
Brown & Clinton Streets PO Box 304
Middletown, PA

Data Provided by:
A.p. Wagner
(716) 856-5005
431 Railroad Ave., Ste A
Camp Hill, PA
 
Fastenal- Lemoyne
717-730-9015
219 S 10th St Lemoyne, PA, 17043
Lemoyne, PA
 
The Home Depot
(717)558-8105
4200 Derry Street
Swatara, PA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(717)651-9699
5101 Jonestown Rd
Harrisburg, PA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

The Home Depot
(717)249-1771
1013 S Hanover Street
Carlisle, PA
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-9:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Capital City Mall
(717) 760-8000
3595 Capital City Mall
Camp Hill, PA
Store Hours
Sears Stores
Store Type
Sears Stores
Hours
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:9.5-21
Sun:11-18
Store Features
Mon:10-21
Tue:10-21
Wed:10-21
Thu:10-21
Fri:10-21
Sat:9.5-21
Sun:11-18

Ritters True Value Hardware Lemoyne
(717) 731-1070
1200 Market Street
Lemoyne, PA
 
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Sliding Dovetail Bench

Sliding Dovetail Bench

Super-strong router joints give it elegant simplicity.

by Tim Johnson

This elegant bench has humble origins: Its forebears have been sat upon, stepped on and dragged about for centuries. Utilitarian ancestry is readily apparent in our bench. It features simple construction and strong interlocking joints. 

The pieces fit together like a puzzle, with sliding dovetails and half-lap joints. Sliding dovetails may sound difficult, but I’ll show you how to master this tricky joint with a simple jig, a router and a router table. 

The bench is sized so you can mill all the pieces with your 12-in. planer. I’ll show you how to cut perfectly fitting half-lap joints and how to make the tapered keys that fill the dovetail sockets.

You can build this bench in a weekend or two. And once you’re set up to build one, multiples are no sweat. So don’t worry if you can’t decide whether this bench would look best in your front hall or at the foot of your bed—build two! If you build your bench from white oak, as I did, you’ll even be able to use it outdoors. I spent about $100 on lumber and another $25 for a dovetail router bit (see Sources, below).

Prepare the Pieces

1. Glue up boards, if necessary, to make stock for the wide top (A, Fig. A, below) and legs (B). Plane this stock to final thickness, along with a piece for the rail (C). Mill extra stock for test cuts and the keys (D) to the same 1-1/8-in. thickness. Your stock must be dead flat when you rout, and also when you assemble the pieces, for the dovetail joints to fit well and slide smoothly. 

2. Rip the top, legs and rail to width; then crosscut the ends to length. Make sure the cuts are square.

Rout the Sliding Dovetails

3. Build the socket-routing jig (Fig. B, below). Use your top (A) to establish the width between the jig’s rails. To make sure the fences are spaced properly during assembly, fit a piece of scrap ripped to the proper width between them. 

4. Establish the dovetail sockets in the jig’s rails by setting the dovetail bit to 3/8 in. exposure and routing a test socket in extra stock. Mark the centers of the sockets in the rails.

5. Mark the socket locations on the edge of the top. Then position the jig by aligning the socket centerlines. Clamp the jig and the top securely to your workbench. Make sure the jig’s rails are flush with the top. If they protrude, the router base will catch on them and cause trouble.

6. Rout the sockets (Fig. A, Detail 1) in a clockwise loop, bearing against the left fence on the way out and the right fence on the way back (Photo 1). A dovetail bit with a 1/2-in. shank produces smooth, chatter-free results. If your dovetail bit has a 1/4-in. shank, rout clearance channels first, with a 1/4-in. straight bit.

7. Rout dovetails in the leg blanks on your router table, with a tall fence installed for support (Photo 2).

Click here to read the rest of the article from American Woodworker