Now for the half-lap joints.
1. Flatten and square the edges of the boards that will form the joint. Here I’m removing the band saw marks using a block plane and a spokeshave.
2. Check to ensure the area is square and flat. A flashlight behind a straightedge does the trick.
If you can see light underneath your straightedge you have more work to do.
3. Lay the two boards to be joined on to of one another. Mark one side with a marking knife. Shift the board over so it just barely covers the knife line, and then mark the other side. If you don’t shift the board over you will be off by the thickness of the knife line (I wish I had pictures of this). Pencil in the knife lines to make them more visible.
4. Remove the waste (half the thickness of the board). Here I use a drill press to remove the waste because the joint is not a 90 degree joint (I normally use a table saw with a miter gauge).
5. Register a chisel in your knife line to clean up the sidewall. Sight down the chisel to ensure it is vertical and chop out the waste.
6. Check the fit. It should be a little too tight. Resit the temptation to hammer it into place. Use a block plane to shave down the edges of the other board until it fits.
7. Repeat the process with the other board.
Finished. The layout marks in the picture are for the through mortise, which will be part 3.
After I finished the half-lap joints I had to get a preview. The stretcher is resting on a bucket for now so I can see how it will look; it will get through-mortised into the legs in part 3.