2 March 2018 at 7:16 pm #488798
Well, after following Paul’s workbench series religiously and with considerable envy, I decided to make a start on my own today. I live in mid-Wales so I definitely picked the worst weekend ever to start what with the extreme snow we’ve had, but I simply couldn’t wait any longer and it’s a great project for when you can’t do much else!
The snow also had the effect of severely limiting my timber choices from my local merchant as deliveries have been difficult. As such, I’ve had to modify Paul’s plans to suit the sizes I could get hold of. However, the plans that Paul provided perfectly lend themselves to modification and scaling, much appreciated! The one annoying timber set-back to result from this was not being able to get pieces wide enough to make the full apron height from one piece. I managed to get 6 inch wide pieces, however, so I’m going to dowel and glue two together and hopefully the dowels will add enough extra strength to the glue to enable them to function properly as clamps for the bench-top without shearing at the glue line. (EDIT: does anyone with more experience have any thoughts on this? Are the dowels necessary or would a good glue joint be sufficient? I know that if I do dowel it I need to be careful where I place them so that I can cut the leg recesses without exposing them)
I bought planed-all-round timber, too, as I didn’t want to spend forever planing and squaring sawn material and this has already made things a lot easier. I got the bench-top lengths planed to my liking very quickly, just removing the minute machine-scuff marks and leaving a lovely mirror surface. I’ve just finished glueing them up in the last 10 minutes or so, but I was a bit of a drip and forgot to get extra wood glue when I picked the timber up so I’ve had to leave one length off and I’ll glue that to the rest in the morning (typically I realised I didn’t have enough glue after the shops closed!). I also only own 4 clamps of any decent size so I spaced them well and made sure that any slight bow to the lengths was central so that the clamp pressure in the middle was enough to close the gaps. Fingers crossed this was enough!
I’ll crack on with the legs and rails tomorrow and hopefully I can get them all done in a day. Updates and pictures will of course follow!2 March 2018 at 8:34 pm #488856
I used two nominal 6″ planed square edge pieces for each apron too and did not need to dowel or joint them in any way, just plane two good mating surfaces and glue it up with several clamps, should be fine!2 March 2018 at 11:34 pm #489009
Hi nick, thanks for the reply. Glad to hear someone got on with the same materials with success! I was thinking after I posted this that the stress on that glue joint should be minimal. With the legs spanning both pieces in the recess there shouldn’t be excess pressure on the top piece making that joint vulnerable. I’ll give it a go without dowels and can always add them if I run in to issues.
Roll on tomorrow and more bench fun!4 March 2018 at 7:53 am #489879
Your dog looks none too pleased about the choice of workspace. Ha!
Denver, Colorado5 March 2018 at 10:25 pm #490802
lol at the dog hahaaa
good luck with the bench, it’s a bit of a marathon but well worth it9 March 2018 at 11:34 am #493740
Haha, don’t mind the dog, she’s got the inconvenienced look down to a fine art! Although I don’t think she’s impressed with the sawdust all over the living room carpet at the moment! Ah well, cleaning is for when I’m finished!
You’re not wrong about it being a marathon, I live on my own so between work, the pooch and daily chores etc. I only get about an hour and a half a day to do anything on this. It’s hard to find a rhythm in such a short time frame but I’m persevering!
I’ve managed to get the legs mortised and one of the four rails’ tenons cut and fitted since my last post. The knifewall tip truly is a great help to keep the visible edges clean (thanks, Paul!). I went a bit gung-ho with the mortising and chopped through a few knots rather than cutting them with a saw as Paul suggests so I bent my 3/4” chisel, lesson definitely learned though so won’t do it again! Luckily it’s a sturdy old Firth cast steel chisel and a gentle teasing with a mallet got it straight again.
Visiting family this weekend so no working on it until I’m home. Pic of the mortises attached though.28 May 2018 at 4:38 am #548226
Any progress on your bench lately?28 May 2018 at 10:36 am #548229
Oh my goodness, I got carried away and forgot to post! It’s (almost) finished now, as of mid April it’s been built and in light use, but I’ve yet to soften the corners on the legs etc. and apply a finish. Ive rounded the edges on the worktop and the vice is installed too though. Pic attached.
I’m holding off applying a finish to it yet as I’m tempted to put dog holes in. I May do that today if I get some time.
I did make a mistake when modifying Paul’s measurements to fit the wood i had, so my well board wasn’t wide enough to put rebates on the edges and recess it into the top and apron. Instead it fits between the two flush and I’ve used dowels secured into the exposed face of the bench top through from the apron to ‘pin’ it down instead. Works well as a fudge and gives me spaces to slot my chisel box into and sit my planes in the other side. Pic attached of that too.
It was amazing fun to build this though, and I’ve had fun using it so far! Thanks again to Paul for the amazing videos and thorough drawings/cutting list etc! Has anyone else recently completed theirs?28 May 2018 at 1:22 pm #548232
Good-dog doesn’t seem impressed with his new balcony28 May 2018 at 8:49 pm #548233
The bench looks great. I wish I’d used PAR instead of the round over I got.
I started mine last week gluing up 8 lengths of CLS that I got from my timber merchant friend. Today I’ve been trying to plane the surface down. I’ve managed to get it pretty straight and out of twist but found it difficult to get all of the rounded edges down flush.
I’ve also been suffering some bad tear out which has been ruining my enjoyment of the build! I’m blaming the timber but know it’s probably my lack of ability at planing and sharpening!
I’ll keep persevering and hope the legs don’t cause me too much trouble!4 October 2018 at 4:31 am #552473
Hope I’m not too late to this thread. I have watched the Master Class and also the YouTube video and I also have the Woodworking book with the workbench chapter. In one of more of these Paul glues up pieces for his aprons without reinforcement (like dowels or splines). I was thinking of making my aprons from 3 pieces each (construction lumber) when I get to my own bench.
What I am curious about is how to size the height. Paul says his bench measures 38″ at the top, which works well for him, but can be adjusted for our own benches. However, he does not say how to choose the height that is best for you. If we knew his height we might be able to scale it that way (anyone have this data point?). Or would it be better to compare inseam and sleeve length? Paul?
Gordon4 October 2018 at 8:12 am #552474
With regards gluing the aprons, I was reticent at not using dowels at first, but came to realise that the stress on the upper piceces would be negligible as the bottom lengths had the bolts through them and the worktop and well boards would sit flush and not exert pressure. I’ve been using mine for over four months now, and it’s been disassembled and reassembled to change which room it is in and has survived perfectly. It’s a really super strong design!
For height, I had the same conundrum and decided to play off something I already new. I used my kitchen worktop as a guide essentially. I’m just under 6’ 2” and my kitchen worktop is 37” at the surface. This works for me when chopping veg and cooking so I clamped a board to it and planed it for a while to see how it felt and I wasn’t bent over or reaching so I went with that.
I’d suggest doing something similar, use a known height in your house/garage to gauge it from.4 October 2018 at 8:12 am #552475
I only had 3x2s available and laminated these for the apron. When clamping up however I found they had a tendency to fail so I drilled a hole on the top of the apron at each corner which went through most of the laminations and inserted and glued a long dowel (spar from an old baby’s cot!) – that strengthened the whole apron and I have had no problems with it since,
Harry4 October 2018 at 4:07 pm #552501
beauty how were they failing , i am thinking about using the same stuff for a chair and don’t want it to break on me,5 October 2018 at 1:15 am #552503
Paul has said he’s 5’10.5″ on a number of videos if that’s any help. I am as well so used the same measurements for the height of mine.
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