So as I plan out my first “Real” workbench I have read dozens of articles, forum threads and blogs here and around the internet about the different bench styles and the build process for them. One common theme stood out and that was they all were made using mostly if not only hand tools.
While I am still relatively young at 35 I am pretty old fashioned. I love the thought that even in this day and age of instant gratification and robot workers we still have craftsmen out there creating quality products with their hands. This is how I approach everything I do and have decided that is the direction I want to go in with wood working.
Now first let me just say that I am a bit of a hobby whore (can I say that here?) I have always (since childhood) found creating things myself out of raw materials to be far more gratifying than buying something at a store so I have a number of hobbies that cater to that drive of creation. Wood working is new to me mainly due to being a suburban apartment dweller for most of my adult life and not having the space for any equipment or dust making.
I now have a garage and live in a small Navy town in Washington State and can finally explore this new avenue with.
Initially I had written out a list of needed equipment for my garage shop. All of which were power tools most of which are large bench or floor units. This would lead to needing a dust collector plus air filtration unit. Explaining to my neighbors what all the noise is about and trying to fit myself in there once all this is in place. I have come to the realization that what i was planning is a factory and not a quiet stress releasing wood working shop that I really wanted. Then I realized that all of those large units could be replaced with the correct hand tools and I would take up MUCH less space in the garage, make less noise and would only need a broom/dustpan and yes an air filtration unit (that can be a box fan with a furnace filter strapped to it.. no biggie there).
Not only that but I would be learning a craft and not just learning to build stuff and that is what sold me.
SO.. now that that long winded prequel is done I have placed an order for my first “real” hand tool. I am considering this a beginner/learning tool and for $18 and some change I don’t mind if it shows up needing a lot of work. Re working planes is something I will need to know how to do so no better time than the present to start learning.
Here is the Stanley No. 4 Adjustable Bench Plane I ordered.
Yes, I do realize it is not the same Stanley as the old vintage ones but like I said for the price it is bound to be better than my Bucks Brothers 6” plane which is a whole ‘nother blog entry. I started re working it tonight and I’m not sure if it will be useful for anything but holding down papers when I am done but we shall see. It’s already a turd so if it stays that way no loss.
So now, I am building a new list of “must haves” which will include the basic tool kit of hand tools to build on. To start I am going to keep them mid grade while learning and upgrade the ones that need it once I really get the hang of this. I can’t even explain how excited I am to have come to this decision and can’t wait to cut my first mortise and tenon joint with a mallet and chisel!
This series will be updated with new tool acquisitions and such. Thanks LJ for being here and finally pointing me in the right direction!
-- Eric - http://theidiotgaloot.com