I found a few bits of time in the last week or so to make some progress. First, I spent time milling the slots in the stiles (the long, vertical pieces of wood) using my router and a fence.

I then made mortises for the rails to join the stiles. My friend Ray loaned me his hollow chisel mortiser, which is a good way to make mortises quickly. First step was to do a series of test cuts, adjusting the chisel and bit to be square to the fence. It took a while to dial in the right orientation to get a straight mortise.

mortise tests

I then cut all the mortises in the stiles.

cutting mortises

The mortising machine is particularly nice because I could cut mortises near the bottom where the stile is left wide to become the side of the window seat cabinet.

cutting mortises 2

There are lots of little wood chips afterward.

front stile template 2

I then picked which rails should go with which stiles.

picking rails to go with stiles

I made slots in the rails with the table saw and my dado cutting set to cut the slot in one pass. The router was too unstable on top of the short strips sitting on the workbench, even with them ganged together. And I couldn’t find a way to support them against the side of the workbench that would have been as quick as using the saw. This left me with slotted rails but no tenons to go into the stiles.

slotted rails

I love my workholding on my workbench. I was able to hold the long stiles with a new-for-me configuration, using bench dogs (the ‘pins’ on the left) and holdfasts to hold the stiles in place while I cleaned up the insides of the mortises.

cleaning up mortises with creative workholding

I use my dado set to cut the tenons close to proper thickness and then my router plane (and a shoulder plane) to clean up the ‘cheek’ surfaces for a nice slip fit.

using the router plane to clean up a tenon cheek

This left me with my rails ready for fitting.

slab after cutting

This evening I made the panels out of 1/2" plywood, cutting a rabbet around all four edges to create a 1/4" edge that fit into the slots in the frames. Dry fitting took a bit of time, but things are looking good.

left panel dry fitted

right panel dry fitted