New to woodworking, workbench build

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    David Gill

    Hi Stephen Welcome.
    Some great advice from the guys I agree nothing to lose, attempt to fix it, I find it is all in the mind if you half hearted attempt the repair you do not get very far , as soon as you make your mind up that you are going to do it, it sort of happens.

    Post a photo soon of the rectified bench top

    Wigan, Lancs. England :

    david o’sullivan

    that bench top looks about right to me.first time i ever picked up a hand plane was to make the bench if i was you i would flatten the under side of the tops and continue with the build when that bench is built your last job is the flatten the top .believe me you will do it and learn an awful lot in the process .i did mine with a Stanley no.4 and a pair of winding sticks .i actually enjoyed the process and got to know the mechanics of hand planning

    "we can learn what to do, by doing" Aristotle


    So i have gotten a bit more done on that section of work top. I cut it down by about three inches, and also have been spending a fair bit of time trying to square it up. I dont have any winding sticks so trying to take the wind out of it hasn’t been the easiest. For the most part i have been using my stanley #7 jointer plane on it, should i be using something different? I also have a #4 and a #5

    Steve Follis

    Try them all Stephen.

    My thought would be to use the #5 for hogging it down quickly, followed by the #7 to level it out, them the #4 for final smoothing. But you need to do what works for you.

    Winding sticks don’t need to be fancy, just a couple of parallel strips of wood or other material will work.

    Your progress is looking good, you are on the right track. Keep up the good work.

    Memphis, Tennessee


    Hey Stephen,

    Winding sticks are a must for this job buddy,even some aluminium angle from the home centre will work great.

    I agree with Steve, but again everyone is going to tell you something different.

    Bottom line always do what works for you. Slab is looking much better now, good job. 😉


    Go for the Aluminum angle from the store. it is indispensable to take out wind

    Hog it down with the No. 5: Take BIG bites out of it until you take the wind out and bring everything down to a flat top… how down traversing or planing diagonnally.

    My bench top was EXACTLY like yours…. dont give up… the trick here is to hog off all the high spots and then dial in with the other planes. It will look UGLY, until you get to the ball park and start refining you planing with the No. 4….

    Dont give up on this top… you can make it work…

    From El Salvador, currently living in Guatemala

    Greg Merritt

    I agree with the above. Winding sticks and the #5 until you are out of wined and flat. It looks like you are doing just fine so far. Keep with it and you will have a bench to be proud of.


    Also,the wind is still fairly obvious in your photo. The winding sticks will pay a big part later, when the wind is harder to see

    Robin ... Richmond, Virginia, USA


    Looking good! Keep up the good work! I also like using the no. 7 as well, until I recently bought a wooden fore plane that has the length, minus the weight, for super cheap.


    My two penneth is that it is not as bad as it looks. For me to can rip it in half then all of a sudden you only have half the wind, but in 2 pieces. Do not take it that one end is flat and the other twisted. It has two high corners diagonally and two low corners. Plane out the high you will end up with only half the scrap that it first seems, also it will take out most of the rounded corners. Get the top or bottom flat on both pieces. Scribe your other sides flat at the sides with a marking gauge or poor mans router from the flattened faces and plane down to the lines. Do the same with the sides getting them square and straight as possible. What have you to lose? Don’t give in. If you don’t get what you want you are no worse off and you got more practice. Look at a forum called Magic 3. You will see if you want winding sticks any length even 8 feet long no problem from any wood you have, in fact any material you can happily cut. It all depends if you want to cry about it and give in or if you want to get bloody minded and say you are going to win one way or another. Personally I don’t like to lose to a piece of wood
    Best of luck with whatever you choose, but ask yourself does it have to be 4″ thick to be stable platform to work on? Measure it, my guess it is undersize when you buy your wood. All you are looking for is a solid top that will take the hammer that working on it will give. It is wood with changes in humidity it will move sometime no matter what wood you use. The point I think to this bench is that it get rigidity from the aprons and the cross members at the “H” frames Keep that in mind, but sooner or later you will have to plane again anyway to re-flatten. Hopefully many years down the line


    Stephen J,

    The workbench was my first build. I made two tops and I still have the first one I did not like in the corner. I originally planed to make two like the video, but realized it was too wide. The second one I made was way better than the first. Don’t be discouraged, the fun part is making something. Once it is made, there is nothing to do.

    PS I love my #7 and use it whenever I can.

    - Jacksonville, Florida


    So i have let it sit with out working on it at all for the past couple of months. I wish i wouldnt have done so, but what is done is done and i cant get that time back. I am hopefully going to start going full blast on it soon and am hoping to finish it by the end of this month. Its hard to find the motivation sometimes once you get discouraged

    Timothy Corcoran

    Sometimes you have to put the tools down and study the piece. Plan your approach. Stay calm. Keep it well supported on both ends and the middle. Start on the low part with your #5 go on an angle toward the high part in a cross-hatching pattern. Knock the high spots down. Then back the iron off and go with the grain. Sometimes the less downward force on the front knob of the plane the better. Finish off with your #4(slight camber on the irons of both planes)with the iron set for very fine shavings this should be close enough. When you feel re-inspired,get to it! You are almost there compared to the previous picture.

    Steve Follis

    I have a tough time getting motivated some days, but I usually find that once I force myself to get started, it becomes easier to keep going. Then all of a sudden I don’t want to stop, I find that peace and get absorbed into it.

    Memphis, Tennessee


    Hey Stephen, I’m in a fairly similar situation as you are, and I’d advise you to give it your best shot, and keep going. The first twisted picture looked just like mine did after my glue-up, and I’ve now got a mostly flat workbench that I can use. It may not end up being perfect, but you’ll surely learn a lot and end up with somewhere to work on other projects.

    I know if I started over, I’d be able to make a much better bench, but I’m still happy that I kept working on the first attempt, and fixing my problems, as I’m now much better at planing large areas, hand-cutting mortises/tennons with a chisel and saw, and making dadoes. All these skills will help me make better furniture going forward, and the experience of building the bench was invaluable to me.

    My bench isn’t even totally finished yet, but it’s far enough along that I can use it. So do your best, make it as well as you can, and realize that it’s not about making a perfect bench the first time, but learning the skills for your future as a woodworker.

    -Tim Anderson, UT, USA

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