beginners corner, the work bench

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  • #470467
    5ivestring
    Participant

    Hi people,

    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.

    Gary

Viewing 15 replies - 31 through 45 (of 49 total)
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  • #483074
    5ivestring
    Participant

    @5ivestring

    Hi Jake,

    If I did it over I would have chosen Cider too. Love the smell for one thing. That is one of the lessons learned. I’ve learned a lot though and it’s been a good experience.

    Being a beginner, this is one way to learn what woods work best for different projects. I choose this wood for this project because I thought it would be pretty, and it is. But I gave no thought to the hardness, in fact my first reaction was it was a soft wood. I guess I picked just the right piece, lots of white in it and it just didn’t seem hard. Boy did I learn. The brown wood is very hard and the dark brown is even harder.

    You advise on setting the chip breaker backs up advise from a lot of people. I’ve been using the jack plane I have which has no chip breaker and have gotten pretty good at planing the wood. Today though I think I will try my #4 and set the chip breaker real close and see what happens. First though I’ll try it on a piece of scrap I have now so I don’t risk the work I have done already.

    Thanks for you input.
    Gary

    #483362
    David B
    Participant

    @dbockel2

    Your jack plane has no chip breaker?

    #485760
    5ivestring
    Participant

    @5ivestring

    Hi Dave,

    That is correct, no chip breaker on my Low Jack plane. It’s a Lie Nielsen, cost an arm and a leg. Since I can’t inspect the tools before buying them, I would rather pay a high price for known quality than risk a poorly made tool. My first plane was of a brand name, but a awful tool at a lower price. So now I tend to stay with something I know will be good, even if it cost more.

    I also worked with my #4, setting the chip breaker really close to the edge of the blade. Really close. As I was told, it would only be very thin shavings. But it did work. No gouging and a clean surface. I want to practice more with it on scrap wood first and make sure it will continue.

    I’m also getting my confindence up on this project. Haven’t had time to work on it the last few days, but I’ll be back at it tomorrow. Two legs done, the third underway. I have also really picked up speed on cutting the mortises. I know now that if I were to start this bench over with the teak, I could do it in half the time I have so far, but that’s part of the learning.

    #493249
    5ivestring
    Participant

    @5ivestring

    Haven’t had much time to work this past week, but getting back to it now. So many things I have learned so far.

    Cutting the mortises at first was very time consuming, a day just to get the first one done. But as I moved on and on, I got the feel for it, learned what to look for and by the last leg, I was up to speed. Next time I well do better and much faster.

    Today I got my first tenon cut. Just one end. On one side I tried cutting it with a hand saw. Took a long time as I still don’t have a good saw. The other side I used a knife wall then started in with a chisel. Went fairly fast, used a hand router to finish levelling and then my #4 which I am really getting to like now that everyone has given me tips on using it. Yea, Paul covered it too, but some times my mind is like a black hole.

    So one mortise tenon complete, 7 more to go. I expect by the time I’m done with my second tenon I’ll be moving right along. Oh, the first one fits nice and snug. I have a clamp on the end of the leg as it had a split in that top 1 inch. Wanted to make sure it didn’t go further.

    Attachments:
    #502537
    5ivestring
    Participant

    @5ivestring

    Well I did the test fit for the whole table minus the well tray. To my surprise, it all went together. Somehow I did manage to miss-calculate the width. I had planned on a 6 inch well tray, and somehow came up very short. I allowed for the housing dado and everything, but really goofed by almost 3 inches. I guess I could recut new rails, if I had the wood, but no. Tomorrow I’ll finish the well board, the apron board and table are already cut to receive it.

    As is, I’m very happy with it, flaws and all. Weighs in at 200 lbs for a 4 foot table.

    I am open to suggestions on what to finish it with. I haven’t found Lensed Oil here yet. Probably here, just haven’t found it. I have some Teak oil, Lacquer and Varnish. I also haven’t found shellac yet either.

    ??Just wax it as is??

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by 5ivestring.
    #503001
    David B
    Participant

    @dbockel2

    Boiled Linseed Oil is usually in the same section as the solvents, not finishes (in my experience at Home Depot, etc). So you’d more likely find it next to a can of denatured alcohol or mineral spirits than a can of shellac.

    Good luck! Looking forward to seeing your finished bench!

    #503004
    Ed
    Participant

    @ed

    Do yourself a favor and avoid the linseed oil. It dries very slowly, if ever. Since you’re in Australia, I cannot suggest an alternative because you have a completely different set of products available. If you post links to things that are available, someone here can probably give comments. I seem to remember someone mentioning good products in Australia that are either available at a floor finishing specialist or actually for floors, but good for furniture. I don’t recall what they were, though. I don’t remember if they were water born or oil based finishes.

    #512240
    5ivestring
    Participant

    @5ivestring

    Ok folks, the bench is completed in every way except final cleanup and a finish if I even put one on.

    Learned so much on this adventure. Finely following advise here I got my #4 to cut just fine, chipper extremely close to the end, sharp, oiled, no more tear out. However the shavings are super fine too. So it will be an on going project for a long time to come working on the beauty aspect of the bench.

    Rock solid, over 230 pounds, 4 foot long 22 inches wide.

    My number one amazement is it’s perfectly square! Second amazement, it’s solid on the floor, does not rock at all.

    Grading for this project.

    Choice of wood….D. Over kill in strength, very hard to work with.
    Mortices……….C. Square but could have been cleaner inside.
    Tenons…………F. Fit snug, but ugly finish. Could be a whole lot cleaner looking.
    Square…………A. everything came out square, legs, top, rails, bearers, total.
    Well…………..C. Works perfectly, looks good. But was over an inch narrower than planned.
    Legs…………..A. All even in hight, wedges worked perfectly.
    Apron………….C.
    Finish…………Incomplete. On going project there for a long time to come. Will work on it little by
    little as time goes on.

    Over all grade for a beginner… C– . Table is solid, nice vise and well. Beauty is attainable but over a period of time. Tenons are the major let down. Just could have been so much better.

    Grade as a journeyman carpenter…. Best look for another line of work, maybe grocery clerk.

    All that said, I tried the table out yesterday making shelves for Ramona. Oh man, this bench is nice. I’m proud I stuck with the project and didn’t give up. It will serve well and last darn near forever.

    Thanks to everyone for all suggestions, they really helped.

    Attachments:
    #512338
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @lorenzojose

    Oh man, this bench is nice.

    Modify your grade to A+

    #512358
    btyreman
    Participant

    @btyreman

    I’d recommend pure tung oil mixed with pure turpentine for the finish, it will look amazing on teak. Your bench looks superb! I bet it weighs a lot! well done!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by btyreman.
    #512383
    jakegevorgian
    Participant

    @jakegevorgian

    Looks good. I’m a bit worried about the bench top being too brutal, but I guess you’ll be working harder woods, so the bench top won’t damage your work, I hope.

    As for the finish…focus on finishing the aprons and legs and well board so that it can be dusted off easily. The bench top shouldn’t have a finish because it’ll make it slippery—pretty dangerous if you’re chiseling in the bench top.

    #512402
    5ivestring
    Participant

    @5ivestring

    @lorenzojose

    Thanks Larry, I do feel good about it.

    #512408
    5ivestring
    Participant

    @5ivestring

    @btyreman

    Thanks btyreman, I just found a new paint store, deals only in paints. I’ve been having trouble finding things here, just a different country. The different names of products throws me too.

    #512424
    5ivestring
    Participant

    @5ivestring

    @jakegevorgian

    Hi Jake, Thanks for the tip on not finishing the top, never thought about it becoming slippery. As for the table being too brutal, I never thought about that. And I will be working with softer woods like Cedar. In fact I’ll be going to one of the local mills this week and order some more wood. Oak and Cedar for sure, but they also had some other wood there that was knockout gorgeous. Hopefully they will have more of that in stock.

    #512466
    jakegevorgian
    Participant

    @jakegevorgian

    You’re very welcome. Don’t worry about the hardness of the top—you can always pad it with cedar wood laminated (although you may need to use an adhesive that works with teak woods silica content.)

    Also, I think that everyone gets used to their bench. Here is my bench that I replaced with my previous longer model and I’m not fully used to it yet—look at the mess! This drives me nuts, so I will now need to make a tool cabinet adjacent to it (where the milk crates are.)

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Viewing 15 replies - 31 through 45 (of 49 total)

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