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A Bench for My Uncle #1: Getting Started

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Blog entry by Aaron McCain posted 07-22-2012 11:15 PM 3518 reads 3 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of A Bench for My Uncle series Part 2: The Back Legs »

A few weeks ago my uncle visited me and my family to help me add lights and outlets on a new 20A circuit in the portion of my garage that I have claimed as my workshop. I bought all the materials and he provided the know-how and labor. I was all set to pay him for his services when he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. He asked me to build him an outdoor bench and that he would pay for the materials. So I get to work in my shop and I don’t even have to pay for the wood. What a deal. So I thought I would track my progress via a blog. I don’t consider myself an expert in anything related to woodworking, but I enjoy reading others blogs so I thought I would give back a little.

Earlier this week, I stopped at the local lumber yard to pick up some cedar boards. I went with the tight-knot option, not the clear. I figured I could pick and choose and work my way around some of the bigger knots without paying the extra costs (3 times) for not having to deal with any knots. I ended up pretty happy with the selection and I think only a few of the knots will show up, but they will be in inconspicuous locations. Here is the collection of boards after sitting in my shop for about a week.

The legs and arms are 2.5 inches thick which required laminating some 2x stock. So today I started by breaking down the 2×8’s. Between working in the garage and being a dad (I did beat my son at baseball on the Wii), I almost got everything that needed to be laminated done.

Cross-cutting the boards on the table saw because they were too wide for my chopsaw:

Here are the boards broken down into manageable pieces ready for the jointer and planer:

One of the challenges that I faced was jointing boards that were wider than my jointer. The woodwhisperer just did a segment on tackling this task. I used the method of jointing what I could to get a flat register and then adhering that portion to a thin piece of MDF and passing it through the planer. I’m not good at taking pictures as I work so I went through the planer process without stopping for a shot. I had a few hiccups, but got everything flat!

Because the lumber is “green”, the plans that I am following in Wood Magazine suggest using polyurethane glue to take advantage of the higher moisture in the wood. I’ve never used this stuff before, it seemed odd to have a water squirt bottle, but it seemed to work.

In the clamps and watch the foam ooze out the ends.

This is where I finished up for the night. One board laminated, a second in the clamps, and the rest planed and squared.



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