Thank you Paul Sellers and crew for making available the educational resources required to complete this project and many others. Thank you for making so many workbenches and putting the videos on youtube. I know the woodworking masterclass books and dvds that you released about 10 years ago may not have turned out the way you wanted, but they are still a valuable resource! The workbench I made is the one in that original book. I plan to now work through the book starting with the spatula and have several other projects in mind like finally making an Osage Orange Self Bow.
I dislike the noise and power consumption associated with machine tools and had set my heart on focusing on hand tools before I realized that Paul Sellers was making these great videos. Discovering the book before I realized this website existed I hastily purchased it and began carefully researching/purchasing/refurbishing old tools for about 3 months leading in to October. I didn’t want to ignorantly attempt a first project with dull blades or out of tune planes and give up.
My step brother’s wife works at a planing mill and I set out to go purchase the bench wood from her. The day of my journey the company I worked for laid off most of their employees including me and I just laughed the whole drive over to the planing mill. I had been anticipating the layoff. I came back with 2 8 foot long rough cut red oak posts 3 7/8″ to 4 1/16″ thick, and a bunch of poplar. I did end up going to Lowes and got some ‘fir’ to make part of each apron and the laminated bench top.
During the months that I had been researching tools I had used a C-clamp and my kitchen counter to make a pair of saw horses. Using your videos it took me about a week. It was the first real wood project I had ever completed. Over the next 6 weeks I used the rough cut poplar and red oak, plus the fir I got from Lowes, the saw horses, and the new/old refurbished tools to complete the bench. I used your book, the dvds, and the 2 other video series that you put on youtube.
I put the first 2×4 on the saw horses, put my number 4 plane (that I had put a camber on with a flagstone and 60 grit sandpaper, sharpened it on my stones), to the wood and went to town. I couldn’t stop. It smelled great. At the end of 6 weeks, a few days before Thanksgiving I was staring at the bench that was no where out of square by more than 1/32 of an inch.
There were ups and downs through out the entire process. There were times when I was keenly aware that I was a complete novice attempting a project far out of my range of abilities. I questioned many times whether this thing would even come together. Would my girlfriend/friends/family just shake their heads as a room filled with assorted wood and old pieces of sharp metal just laid there forever surrounded by a half completed, abandoned project?
In hindsight the ups and downs were mental/emotional ups and downs within my own mind and soul, the actual process just went smoothly. When I encountered a step that was objectively hard I just went more slowly. Inch by inch I just went along step by step. The red oak was intimidating but I 4 squared it (3 squared? 1 side didn’t matter, I was just careful when I made the dados on the aprons and they were TIGHT!).
I realized that I had to stop right there before I proceeded with the spatula. The holidays were upon us and I needed to complete a painting that would eventually be the Christmas card that I sent to friends and family. Now that the New Year is here I am going back to the spatula, back to the book. I plan to begin working with an Arborist hauling brush and training the climbing ropes, in hopes that I can have access to beautiful fresh wood.
Thank you Paul Sellers and team.
- This topic was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by Justin Maxey.
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“I was just careful when I made the dados on the aprons and they were TIGHT!”
?!? One of the interesting features of the Paul Sellers workbench is the use of wedges. They can compensate the possible shrinking of the legs and avoid subsequent raking.
By the way, for the correct working of the wedges, the leg frame must be able to move a little bit (left-right). To allow for this, the hole in the leg frame for the carriage bolt must be a little bit larger then the bolt diameter.
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