This is my interpretation of this cleverly designed bench by Fine Woodworking’s shop manager, John White. There have been a few mentions of this bench on the site and I have been eagerly anticipating having the time to build my version of the bench.
I’ve had the lumber for about a month but had to sacrifice time in the shop to get our condo ready for sale this summer. Those preparations are all behind KT and I now and I can finally work in the shop when I want to. We’ve had stellar weather here this week and I basically lived in the shop this weekend. I ripped most of the 2×8 and 2×10 Douglas Fir stock 3 weeks ago before the condo tasks became overwhelming. This is good because it had plenty of time to do any weird warping, cupping, or bowing that it needed to do because as with most construction lumber, the moisture content was still pretty high when I got it home from the big box.
Link to a video about the bench on Taunton’s FineWordworking.com website: http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/Workshop/WorkshopArticle.aspx?id=28530
Forum topic started about the bench by Osconer: http://lumberjocks.com/topics/391
This weekend, though, I was bound and determined to mill all my stock and at least get the base assembled. I almost made it. I was really close to meeting this goal. No worries, it will still be there tomorrow or the next day. I milled all the stock, did all the drill press work and now I just have to do some quick chamfering on the router table (yes, I will do most of this mechanically since the main reason for building the bench is to have an appropriate tool for working with my planes.) This is the reason I didn’t meet my goal. I got so excited to have all the milling done and jumped right in to assembly before chamfering all the hard edges on legs, feet and etc. I was half way through screwing in the last lag bolt on the left side of the leg assembly when I realized what I had done. The day was getting short and I was just so excited… Grasshopper must learn patience… I’m a little perturbed with myself for this because I really don’t want to take out the lag bolts since this is Fir. I’ll have to see what I can do with the block and bullnose planes by hand. It will slow down the process but not getting anxious is what I should have done in the first place!
Since the FWW design in the article is very loose, I thought it appropriate to do a Sketchup rendering based on the space where I plan to use the bench. This proved to be a very good idea because all I had to do was figure out what pieces of stock would get used for what part. (That was quite the challenge but I feel a better woodworker for it.) Hear is the rendering. Funny thing is that despite using Sketchup as a tool, I still made a major error… For some silly reason, I had 5 feet stuck in my mind instead of 6 feet as originally planned for the length. Fortunately, I had only worked on the benchtop supports and leg components prior to making this realization. I got lucky and avoided a potentially disheartening mistake.
Here is a pic of 98% of the milled wood. The big slab of super-thick particle board is from an industrial strength office door that I was lucky enough to salvage. That is actually the offcut from the piece that I originally intended for my bench top. I cut down the door prior to seeing the article on FWW.com. Luckily, it was just the right width to work with the design.
Finally, here is the almost assembled leg support for the left end of the bench. This is as I left it when I realized I hadn’t cleaned up the edges as I wanted. Next posting should be about a completed base…
-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN