I have wanted a good
bench for several years now, and I was going to wait until I had
a permanent place to live before building it. When I bought my
house, I thought I would be there forever, but alas, my job
decided to move a year after I bought the house. I have two
basic choices, move with the job, or find another job in the
area, and fix it up.
I am using the WWTM (Wife ĖWants- To- Move)
decision matrix. That being said, with the housing market the
way it is, I may be here awhile anyway. Therefore, I am going to
make my bench. I will make it portable though, so I can take it
when I leave.
I joined the US Navy a
couple years after graduating from high school and I went into
the Data Processing field. I never forgot my dream of building
things. I remember watching Roy Underhill on television, and the
way he seemed to enjoy what ever he was working on, always
impressed me. Thanks Roy for being such a happy instructor.
I remember feeling
challenged in 6th grade woodshop, and I always wanted to improve
my skills. This is the first real project I have had since then.
It was a real pleasure going from digital to analog. I will take
some structured classes later, but for now, this will be merely
the beginning. I make no apologizes for the mistakes that will
show, but I am just a beginner so cut me some slack.
Fortunately, I have
the benefit of the wisdom of Roy Underhill and Chris Schwartz
readily available. Their prolific work is a resource that I
constantly referred back to. Thanks guys. This project would
have resulted in a less satisfying end, if not for your
figure that this will be my last or at least next to last bench.
I am tired of using pallets that I picked up from stores (with
permission) before they made their way to the dumpster.
use the general guidance from Chris and make the dimensions 2 ft
wide and at least 8 ft long. The bench I am using now is 33
inches high. That seems to work pretty good for me, so that is
the height I am going to make this one.
I settled on the Roubo
bench, mainly because I remember loving to use the hand plane.
This bench seemed ideal, especially with the hook on the end. I
think it looks cool and gives the impression that I might
actually know what I am doing. I know a few of the things I
wanted to do, were overkill, but I was using this bench as a
woodworking class. I made it as rugged as I could.
I collected tools for
my entire Navy career, and since I was constantly moving, my
tools were in continual storage. With the exception of a few
items, the vast majority of my tools are hand tools. The best
part is that I was able to buy some higher quality tools over
the years, since I was in no hurry to get anything built. I have
also been scrounging some antique stores and websites to fill
the gaps in my basic collection. I managed to get some tools
from my dad, since he did not use them anymore. To my pleasant
surprise, most of my dadís tools were made in the USA.
I bought some 2x6x8ís
at my local home center, and placed them in my workshop to
acclimate prior to actually starting the work. This was pretty
easy; since I work 14 hr days and most weekends, leaving
something until later was a snap. I left the wood acclimate for
a little more than 3 weeks in my shop before starting work.
The articles on this
site and other readings suggest ripping them to the proper width
prior to laminating them, but I donít have the luxury of
equipment or the time that would be required. I am going to take
a longer but hopefully more fulfilling path of planning it by
hand to remove the rounded edges later in the construction. I
also expect this method to result in a thicker bench top.
I decided to leave the
2x6ís the entire length. It saves me time, results in a heavier
bench and from readings on Chrisís blogs, the longer the better.
It also has the added advantage of irritating my wife, which is
priceless in itself. I used my joiner plane to flatten the
surfaces a little bit before I laminated the boards together.
I calculated that I
would need sixteen 2x8ís to get my two foot wide top. I
laminated 3 at a time, because that seemed to be the best way
for me to accomplish it. It took me 2 weeks to laminate the
boards in groups of three. I could have accomplished it quicker,
but I have so little free time itís ridiculous. I used almost an
entire gallon of Titebond III on the laminating process. I am
glad I covered my bench with wax paper before hand. I had a bit
leak out, but that was OK since this bench will be destined for
What would a project
be without messing up? Before I started gluing up the boards, I
made sure that they would stack together with no bowing.
Everything seemed to work fine, but when I attempted to glue up
boards nine, ten, and eleven, there was a slight bow. I clamped
the boards together anyway, and hoped for the best. When I
removed the clamps the next day, there was still a little bit of
a gap at one of the ends. I figure that once I cut off the end
for the end cap, I will not have too big of a gap.
I noticed as I was
gluing up the boards, that my collection of longs clamps would
not be sufficient. I thought that if I had a clamp every 2 ft
that would be sufficient. While gluing the different groups of
three boards together, I used a clamp every foot or so. I would
have liked to have had at least one more 36 ďlong clamp. I did
not have the luxury of buying some additional clamps, so I had
to continue on and hope for the best.
I had the idea that I
would place the already glued up pieces on top of the remaining
three. That way I could use gravity to assist me (this thing was
getting heavy). I used two clamps to hold it in place, while I
tried to flip it over. The top was a great deal heavier than I
thought it would be and to make the story short I dropped it. I
smashed my foot, fingers and I had glue all over the place.
was broken. I settled for the idea of using some scraps I had to
get the top off the floor and try again. I was pretty
successful, but I did not make it as even as the other boards. I
should have figured out some way to make it line up better, but
I never thought about it. Chalk up another experience point
again. I will have to plane off a little more than I thought to
get a flat top. Experience is a good teacher. I will be a hand
planning fool once this is finished.