I had some heavy timber benches, made from four-by-twelve Douglas fir headers, that stood on paired stacks of cinder blocks. These actually worked fairly well, but I got tired of complaints about barked ankles, so I had a bright idea. One of the benches was warped, making it a little wobbly and uncomfortable to sit on. I decided to cut this warped beam into short lengths, and use the pieces to make actual legs for the benches. For the legs I just tapered the pieces slightly and mounted them in slots cut with a circular saw. A tight fit and pocket hole screws on each side keep the legs secure.

Of course, using a bench to make legs meant I’d need a new header for the second bench. I was pretty confident I could pick just the right end grain to avoid getting a header that would warp, I dug through a big stack of those heavy beams at the lumber store, and found just the right one. My confidence was not rewarded. As soon as the beam started to dry I noticed it was beging to twist. I put heavy counterweights on the ends of long two-by-fours, clamped to the ends of the bench, but that did’n’t discourage the warping at all. Eventually there was about an inch of difference between the corners of the bench, and the opposite legs had lifted off the ground.

A couple of years have passed, and I’m feeling pretty confident that the plank is finished twisting. I decided to fix this wobbly bench by making a jig so I could «plane» down the high corners of the bench with a router. Since this is a one-time job (I’m pretty confident about that), I’m just making a jury-rigged setup that will be cheap and easy to make.

Leveling the bench is a two step process: first, the legs need to be reset so they sit flat on the ground; and second, I need to build a jig so I can run the router back and forth across the entire top of the bench to make it level. I know some people build dedicated router sleds, but I barely have room for a router. This jig is mostly made from scraps I had lying around. It’s not fancy, but it works

Before I begin, let me state that I considered just buying another beam to re-make the bench, but that would be a waste of wood, and it’s a lot of work cutting the slots for the legs. Also, I’m not at all confident that a new board wouldn’t warp just like this one. Planing off the surface seemed like the best solution.

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