In the academic world, the term ABD is almost a dreaded one. It stands for “All But Dissertation” and refers to that point in your Ph.D. studies where you’ve done all the coursework and all of the research, have defended your research proposal, and “merely” have to do your dissertation to finish your degree.

As for me, I am now officially ABD in regards to my workbench: All But Dovetails. I have glued up 24 out of the 28 boards for my benchtop. I now need to cut the dovetails on the outer leg tenons and then glue up the last two boards on each side (to fit the dovetails). For a long time, I have dreaded this step in the process. What if my measurements are slightly off and the benchtop won’t fit on the legs? Dovetails are not the most complex job to perform but they are more difficult than perfectly-straight or even 45-degree joints.

But now that I’ve gotten to this point, it’s really not that intimidating. The benchtop is snug enough with the inner leg tenons that joint-al perfection is not necessary with the dovetails. I will try to have the front and top be as tight with the legs as possible, but quite honestly, I might just over-pare the unseen part of the joint just to ensure that I don’t have issues with over-snugness. As it is, with four of the eight tenons, it is a bear to get the benchtop off the legs.

So hopefully today I will start cutting the four dovetails on the outer leg tenons, and then the corresponding benchtop pieces that will fit around them. I also need to chop an inch or so off the top of all the tenons. Then it’s just a simple glueup, and I’ll be done! What? DONE? I’ll believe it when I see it. 🙂

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