Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #124156
    Jim Braun

    It’s finally done and I am pleased with the result, enjoyed the process, and I thought I would share my experience.

    I have been doing home improvement type projects for years and wanted to start wood working as a hobby. My initial research had me looking into power tools; the associated dust and noise that they produce was quickly dampening my enthusiasm. I stumbled across Paul’s youtube video while researching workbenches, and thought that hand tool methods might be a better choice for a hobby that I intended as a means of relaxation.

    I bought the Working Wood book and DVDs, studied the tools and methods, and then set out to build a bench based on the designs provided. The entire bench was built with hand tools, except for the vice cutout, since I didn’t have a handsaw that would allow that type of cut, I cheated and used a power jig saw. Oh, and some screws were counter sunk and driven using a cordless screwdriver.

    The bench is 72×28 and 40 inches tall, built using construction grade lumber that I purchased from the local Home Depot and Lowes. The legs where 4×4 douglas fir, the top and aprons where fashioned from 2x4s and the well board is a 1×12. If I were to do it again I would pay better attention to the “density” of the boards; some have widely spaced growth rings and a notably “softer” than others. The softer ones were used near the well.

    The top lamination went together well, and I flattened the first side with my Stanley No. 4. Prior to doing the other side I reground an extra iron to use as a scrub plane, what a difference this made, flattening was much easier and faster.

    The aprons were the most troublesome part of the build, but I eventually got the twist out of them and managed to keep them to a little over 1 inch in thickness.

    Assembling the legs and aprons was another learning experience, during dry fit the whole thing seemed twisted and would rock. It was very frustrating since I checked all the individual components and they where square/flat, and correctly dimensioned. I put the tools down for a day to think, and it occured to me that I should check the floor that I was building the bench on, it turned out that the concrete floor was far from flat and level! I used a level to find a relative flat portion of the room and with a 1/4 inch shim under a leg the dry fit was rock solid.

    The vise is a steel model that I got from Lee Valley, and as the build progressed I noticed that the front mounting holes would be impossible to access as they are located within the apron. I decided to mount the vise on a oak shim and used carriage bolts in the front holes and lag screws in the rear and to the sides to the vise.

    I plan on adding a finish once the weather improves and I can open a window.

    Now I need to start a project 🙂

    Monmouth County, New Jersey

    Greg Merritt

    Congratulations on completing your workbench. It will open up a whole new world for you. There is no substitute for a solid