Some of you will just shake your head, some will say “gee, me too”.
I am a beginner, made a few small boxes. First ones pretty sad, but the later ones were turning out very nice. Made a step stool, turned out real nice too. But on to my first big project, the work bench.
Watched Paul’s videos several times to get the steps in my head. Still refer to them as I go. Good lord, he makes it look easy. 50+ years of experience does that I guess.
So onto my build. First off living where I do here in Colombia, my wood choices are limited. Oak, Teak, Cedar mostly. If there is more I haven’t found it yet.
So I decided on Teak, thought it would look pretty and hold up well. It is pretty wood. But I was thinking it was a hard wood. The Teak I get here is anything but hard. And worse, the grain of the wood is like a steel wool pad, it goes every which way.
I started the table top as suggested. This is when I found I was going to have a problem. No matter which way I tried to plane the wood, it wanted to gouge unless I went cross ways to the grain at almost a 90* angle. I struggled along and got by face surfaces level with a few gouges.
I got my plane super sharp, I mean really super sharp, and set the cut very thin, really thin. Got a few gouges anyway. Not sure if it’s me or the wood. I was using a low jack plane. Tried my #4 but was having better luck with the jack.
Ok, I got ready for the glue up. This has take about 3 days so far, I’m not in a hurry. If I get tired, I take a break. The glue up was a disaster. I mean the boards glued together supper, but where Paul’s were almost perfect even, mine were anything but. As much as a 1/8+ variance or more in board heights, glue all over the floor. Well, good practice for planing them flat I guess.
That took a few days in itself. I tried a scrub plane and very quickly realized not going to work. It would plane along just fine then dig out a gouge. So, back to the Jack.
I found I could not plane long ways in either direction. Wood or me? I think it’s the wood, but it could be me. I have planed Oak, Pine, Cedar, Walnut and a few others and did just fine. But this teak is something else. Cross plane, slight angle at best. Very little tear out that way.
Ok, I had a lot of planing to do and it took quite awhile, days. But I got the top and bottom nice and flat. Yes, a couple gouges, but unless I figure out what I’m doing wrong, I’m just going to have to live with it. Now what surprised me was when I cut the table to length, originally was going to be 5 foot, is now 4 foot, I cut the ends straight and square with only a Stanly tool box saw. I’d die for a good set of saws. Later for them.
Planed my aprons, each was a 2×4 and 2×6 glued together. To my surprise they came out very nice fairly easily.
Onto the legs. I guess I should tell you what I order in wood size wise and what I get can be two different things. These mills here are all small mom and pop type operations. The hired labor gets paid about $10 a day. Quality is what it is. Not gripping really, it’s just not like in the States. One thing, the wood here is a whole lot cheaper. Very rough cut though.
I ordered 6 foot lengths of 3 1/2 x 5. I figured this would give me some play room to work around knots. What I got was 4 foot 10 inch lengths, 4×6 strong. Got a couple knots to deal with now. Hey, good practice. I could have gripped about the wrong size, but why? The wood is more than good enough and it’s partly my fault as my Spanish isn’t that good.
So on to planing them. Again cannot plane any direction but across the grain. 2 legs planed out rather fast though, the third was hugely out of square, bellied, humped, twisted. been working on that one for 2 days now. I got one surface nice and flat, referencing all to that. These aren’t 8 hour days either. We are still moving into new house and I have lots of honey do’s to do.
4th leg has a split running the whole length, not useable. Will have to get another piece.
Well, that’s where I am at this point. will update as I go.
I’m going to finish this table, even with all the hardships of the wood. (or is it me?) And then try it all over again with Oak or Cedar and see if I have the same troubles.
Self given grade at this point. A+++ for effort, man I’m really trying. A+ for squaring the table top, it is spot on square. D- for finish work, the gouges are killing me.
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