Woodworking 101 – My bench

  • Creator
  • #550794
    Tiago Gonçalves

    Hey there,

    I’m just another noob from Portugal, starting this week on my bench. I built a couple of trestles, to get a jump start on woodworking and to help me make the bench.

    I’m using chestnut wood, I got it from an uncle of mine who is a carpenter. It cost me 235€ (with a discount, since we’re family and all). Paul said my bench would last 50 years, so I guess if I’m gonna be looking at it for so long, might as well be some fine looking bench. 😛 I also had to buy all the necessary tools, since I only had a drill and some bits that I use to occasionally assemble something.

    Since everything came cut to the dimensions Paul provide – already planed – I started right away on the mortices. And.. is it a lot of work. It takes forever to go through the wood. And right about my second mortice, came my first big fail. As I was starting on my top mortice, I aplied to much force on my chisel and I cracked a bit of wood, all the way to the top. Sad. You can see it on the pictures attached. To try to minimize the damage I clamped it with a piece of plywood and I’ll work on it gently now, until the mortice is finished. Then i’ll glue it and hope for the best.

    Anyway, there’s not much more to say. I’ll keep on morticing, and I’ll update again when relevant.

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #550802
    Ecky H


    Hello and welcome Tiago.

    Taking our time is probably one of the most effective time saving operating principle in woodworking with hand tools.

    I had a similar crack on one of my home-made bar clamps and I can assure you that some glue and pressure solves the problem.

    Looking forward to see more of your progress.


    Veni, vidi, serravi.

    Münster, Germany

    harry wheeler


    The good news Tiago is that it was the wood that broke, not the chisel! Just take it slow. You’re going down 2″ or so from each side for those mortises and that’s going to take several passes anyway. If you get down an inch on your first pass, you’re doing great. You can pry that split piece up slightly and force some wood glue into the break and clamp it. An hour later you’ll never know it happened.


    Brian A


    That is a fine, and indeed a superior, wood for a workbench. I installed poplar, but now I’m thinking of replacing it with PS’s laminated pine. That would allow me to use the above average poplar wood for some cool woodworking projects, and also lessen my worries about messing up the expensive wood on the bench-top with work-related mishaps. (that’s my bit, but for actual wisdom, scroll up to Harry and Ecky’s replies).


    robert nixon


    I know how you feel man. Been there done that. I got hasty doing the last top mortise and flat sheared off the top between my knifewalls and just corrected it by not cutting down my Tennon but using that extra height to fill the gap. But yea, save time by taking time, make sure you keep that chisel sharp so your cutting instead of splitting, and be sure to listen for the changes in sound while you chop. Once you hear that dull thud your really at the limit of what the wood can shave before it starts applying pressure in places you don’t want it.

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)

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