After a few small projects, getting familiar with some hand-tools and spending a lot of time devising ridiculous clamp configurations to keep the work steady, it’s time to take up the challenge of building a proper workbench. Following Paul Seller’s design as presented in the Woodworking 1 & 2 Book, and taking cues from his instructional videos.
The first hurdle was finding stock. I live in Kansas, USA and had a hard time finding suitable material. Eventually I settled for big box store lumber.
For a 3″ thick, 10-1/2″ X 60″ benchtop:
15 “quality” pine boards @ 1″ X 4″ (Actual 3/4″ X 3-1/2″).
This will make for a good amount of planing to remove surface defects and get the top to the desired thickness (which is great because I need the practice). I think I got a bit over-zealous in trying to remove some twist from a couple boards and created some gaps in laminating of the first half. We’ll see how it turns out.
For two 1-1/2″ thick, 11″ X 60″ Aprons:
10 construction grade 2″ X 3″s (Actual 1-1/2″ X 2-1/2″)
This stuff felt like it had a lot of moisture in it as I was picking through piles in the store. They are currently sitting in my garage and I am hoping the don’t warp or crack too much. Fingers crossed.
So Begins the Task
At this stage, half of the benchtop is glued up, and I will be starting on the second half later today. The aprons are next. I will be taking pictures as I go and making regular posts as things progress.
If you all have suggestions on where to go for good stock, general suggestions pointers or criticisms, I would love to hear them all! Happy woodworking 🙂
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Great start! Try not to get disheartened if the wood moves. It’s very frustrating but something we all need to accept and learn to deal with. You’ll get plenty of planing practice!
Don’t be afraid to put a rag down and work on the floor. I think I did all the mortising on the floor, and a lot of planing, when I built my bench.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most of us here have built Paul’s style of bench and have a lot of experience to share.
I also made some projects, so about my joinery: dados ok, dove tails almost but I suck on mortice and tenons. I was always thinking that I’ll fail in the workbench…
But one day, it came to me some free wood that I salve from the skip. So i got nothing to lose, right?
I made my mind – I won’t be defeated by my fear.
Although I was ambitious taking of the twists, so my wood had some discrepancies, one legs frame was only half a millimeter of square and the other about 1mm thicker! And the tenons have a few gaps… But that thing is very solid. And I learn a lot during the process.
So as You can imagine, I was very very happy!
Stick to it, and carry on…
You won’t regret building your own workbench. I also followed Paul’s design as closely as I could (allowing for wood dimension differences) and have been delighted with the outcome.
First – I needed a workbench to do anything (including make my workbench – like George I ended up working on the floor). I bought cheap wood locally and had twists and other defects to deal with.
Second – my workbench is not perfect, but it’s mine. I got a huge lift from finishing it. It’s dead solid and a huge help to me as I (slowly) work on projects.
I look forward to watching progress in your posts
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