My First WorkBench Build #1: The Stack of Oak for My laminated top

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Blog entry by BerBer5985 posted 12-17-2011 12:00 AM 2536 reads 1 time favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My First WorkBench Build series Part 2: The top lamination »

The need for this bench started with the slipper slope of acquiring hand planes and since that time, I’ve been eyeing more and more handplanes and while I’m doing that and using them, I’ve been doing all my work with a ghetto rigged Rockwell Jawhorse (which is a great tool, but not ideal for handplaning). Sooo, after seeing so many nice workbenches and realizes I desperately need one, I started to acquire some hardwood for the top. My first bench will be using this recycled hardwood flooring, and basic big box store pine 4×4’s and 2×4’s. I’m shooting for somewhere between 5-6’ long depending on the what the completed top ends up being. The idea is try to use my handtools has much as possible for all of the joints, but def power tools for the laminate top just because of the amount of lumber I’ll have to mill to make the top and the lack of an existing workbench for dimensioning anything, but I will attempt handcut mortise and tenons in hopes to learn something from my first budget build. I might also use it as excuse to pick up a couple new hand tools like a shoulder plane, perhaps a new saw from either LN, Bad Axe Tool works, or Wenzloff to do the tenon work and a set of mortise chisels.

We own a flooring store and we started a job that required us to take up existing 2 1/2” thick oak hardwood, mostly longer boards instead of shorts, which is nice. I had my guys set aside all the boards they pulled up between the 5’+ length and I have about 50-60 boards that length to use. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m not in a rush. I will pull all of the nails, then joint and plane them down, cut the tongue and groove off, and laminate them to between 2 1/2’ – 3’ wide (once again depending on the amount of wood I actually end up with. It should result in roughly a 2” thick x 3’ wide x 5’6” top roughly which isn’t ideal, but for my first bench and the fact that it’s free and recycled oak, I think it will suit me fine for now. So here’s what I’m starting with:

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

1 comment so far

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104 posts in 2593 days

#1 posted 12-18-2011 01:50 AM

Kudos for taking the plunge and building your own bench!!

Having built my own—and with hand tools—I would put in one word. If you have a little voice
speaking to you saying something like, “What I’d really like is a 4” thick solid top,” you might
want to heed it. Why? Several reasons—first, those 2 1/2 inches can come down quickly when
leveling and flattening. Secondly, thicker is better for a heavier bench and for vise attachment.

The effort you put into this is the real value of the bench. Making another
one later is time away from greater projects.

Being in the wood flooring business might put you in touch with excellent wood, better dimensions, and a better price than most of us can come by.

Having said that, I’m anxious to see your progress regardless of what you finally use.

-- Jay in Changsha

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