We want to make these pieces square, and of identical length. Square is a matter of making sure the saw blade is square and that the cutting guide is square. The trick to getting the pieces of the same length is to clamp them together and to cut them all at once. For the 4x4's, that means making a rough cut in each first, so we have four pieces, each 3-4" longer than we need, from which we'll get our four legs.
I marked out the one hole location, drilled a shallow 1/16" hole into the top. I then put a 1/16" bit through the hole in my template and into the hole I had just drilled. I lined up the template, and drilled a second hole, then put another bit through that. From then on, I worked entirely from the template. With two bits through the holes pinning the template in place, the other holes in the template would be precisely located (or so the theory goes) on a 4x4" grid.
Palomar Community College in San Marcos, located about 35 miles north of San Diego, offers certificate, degree and life-long learning programs to more than 20,000 students a year. In particular, the Cabinetmaking and Furniture Technology Department offers in excess of 50 classes annually, and the present faculty is composed of four full-time teachers, 21 part-time instructors and 11 teaching assistants. As of Fall 2013, woodworking students will have access to a newly remodeled woodworking facility equipped with three machine rooms, three bench rooms, a saw mill and a finish room.
These sorts of things are usually glued and screwed, but it's actually the glue that holds them together - the screws just hold everything tight while the glue cures. Screwing into hardboard or 1/4" ply is an exercise in futility, so I just used glue, and used my two 4x4's as long clamps. It would have been a bit easier, if I'd done this before I'd rough-cut the 4x4's, but it worked out.
I decided to make my own top out of white ash because I had access to a planer and jointer at my local college where I was taking an intro woodworking class. Trim and vice jaws are white ash as well. Everything else is built pretty much as jdege describes. A plunge router with a 3/4" spiral up bit really made quick work of the dog holes. Finished with Danish oil.
We have more than sixty years of excellence (1956-present) with an annual enrollment of more than 1,000 students in over 35 different classes. The Palomar College Cabinet and Furniture Technology program offers the most comprehensive woodworking career curriculum in the nation. Utilizing three fully-equipped shops, our 2 full-time and 20 part-time instructors provide a breadth of courses and depth of expertise impossible to obtain in smaller programs.
My first attempt at making a cutting guide didn't work. What I ended up with worked fine for cutting panels, but the guide-strip was too narrow, and when the saw was extended fully for rough-cutting the 4x4's the clamp heads got in the way. So I made another. Actually, I made two more, so that I could cut one into shorter pieces that would be easier to handle.
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