It Starts With a Workbench #4: Get this thing off the ground 2

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Blog entry by DocTux posted 07-01-2015 06:39 PM 2563 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Project: Get this thing off the ground Part 4 of It Starts With a Workbench series Part 5: Get this thing off the ground... with a vengeance »

Last post I realized that to build a workbench you first need a workbench. Which means you either need to find a friend with a workbench or you need to jerry rig one. I chose the latter. My bench is only 16” or so off the ground, so it’s not the greatest surface to work on, but hey. It’s something to brace on and cut on as I build my saw horses (saw benches?). This leads me to my big epiphany. My first true project is not a true workbench! It is a pair of saw horses/saw benches.

Which means I’ll have a project that I can complete in a very reasonable amount of time! Very few tools are required for my first project!

That was a very exciting realization for me; mostly because it was very disheartening to look at the workbench as this long bear of a project that is going to cost a fortune in tool purchases to get started on! After all, I just want to cut some wood and make some stuff. I’m not entirely particular what I want to make. I just want to make something so I can look at it and feel manly and accomplished.

So now it is literally time to get things off the ground… and onto my tough boxes! I found a sheet of plywood in my garage that I’m using as a makeshift bench top. So color me excited. I also made my first set of purchases toward starting a woodworking tool collection. My first purchase looked like this:

  1. A cheap 6” block plane: $10, to square off the really rough cuts that my cheap saw makes
  2. 4 set of chisels that were on clearance: Ideally I would like wooden handled, nicer chisels, but these have decent reviews and I can just sharpen them up (they were a little dull)
  3. box of 3” screws: these were also on clearance
  4. 4 pack of dewalt quick release clamps
  5. 2 jorgensen bar clamps that were on clearance
  6. lots of wood glue
  7. 4 snap clamps that cost about 3 dollars for the set

Most of the other things I had already purchased. Color me excited to get home and start working on this.

Also, thanks to all the people who have been commenting and giving advice! It’s extremely helpful, I’ll try and encorporate as much of the advice into these posts as possible.

-- Of the three rules of combat medicine, the third is the most important.

6 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


13569 posts in 2037 days

#1 posted 07-01-2015 07:06 PM

Looking good!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View paxorion's profile


1100 posts in 1464 days

#2 posted 07-01-2015 07:24 PM

Jorgensen (parallel) bar clamps on clearance? Where! =)

-- paxorion

View DocTux's profile


15 posts in 483 days

#3 posted 07-01-2015 08:07 PM

Paxorion, I found them at Home Depot. Both have really bad scratches on the face, I picked up two and there was one left. The two that I got were knocked off almost half. The last that was left was only 4 dollars off. I was pretty happy with the score!

-- Of the three rules of combat medicine, the third is the most important.

View MrFid's profile


791 posts in 1323 days

#4 posted 07-01-2015 09:59 PM

Good luck with your build! Not sure how much reading/viewing you’ve done on planes and sharpening, but that one will definitely need a good tune-up before it’s ready to cut smoothly. Even expensive planes usually need a touch up before they’re ready for action, but cheap ones especially do. It’ll take some adjustment before you’re happy with it. If you live in a city, you might consider finding a place that sells used tools and go hang out there for a while. You’ll find some good conversation for sure, and you might find a deal on some tools that are of better quality than those from HD. Most of the planes I have bought are from craigslist or my local rust shop. If you can find a cheap, used, quality block plane in one of those places, then you can return the one you’ve bought from HD (keep the box even if you’ve used the plane. They’ll never look inside, and if they do they won’t care if you’ve tuned it for them!!)

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2753 days

#5 posted 07-02-2015 01:32 PM

Off to good start for your first project.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2285 days

#6 posted 07-02-2015 02:13 PM

You can build a decent workbench to get started with from plywood and 2×4’s for the base. Two pieces of 3/4 plywood laminated together makes a good top. The base can be fabricated from plywood for shelves and 2×4’s for legs and 2×4’s for cross pieces. You can nail or bolt the base together. I used a bench like this for 7 years and there was little or no racking and it was also quite heavy. It doesn’t take many tools to build such a bench.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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