This is my first real woodworking project. I made a couple small things like a dovetail marker but I count that as practice and this as my first real project. I did a lot of research and am taking inspiration from Bob and Dave’s good fast cheap workbench and a little bit of the Roubo workbench that everyone seems to be building. I looked at a lot of benches people at LumberJocks have built and got a lot of helpful advise from people here.
When I got this wood (Oak) it was rough cut and laying on a scrap heap. I took the wood to a friends to get it cut into boards. The picture here is of my first batch of boards. When I realized I didn’t have enough wood to make the top as wide as I wanted, I picked up some more (even rougher) boards and was able to get a couple more inches out of them to make the total width of the top 20”. I wanted it to be 24” wide but 20” will have to do.
I started gluing up the top in groups of three. I used Titebond III and it seems to have worked pretty well and I hear others have used it for their bench tops.
I then glued up two groups of three boards together. I wasn’t going to glue up more boards than this together because if I wanted to send them through my friends planer they had to be less than 11” wide. I decided, that since I have never really used my hand planes yet, that I wanted to see how flat I could get the top myself and if I couldn’t do it I could always send it through a planer later.
I started with my #5 Stanley Jack plane. This took a while because I didn’t get as good a fit as I wanted to when I was glueing the boards up so it took a while to get them leveled up. The edges of the boards may have been level to each other but the top as a whole, as you can see from the picture, was far from it.
I then used my Record #7 Jointer plane to level up the top. This step went much faster than I thought it would.
Finally, I used my #4 Stanley smoothing plane. I couldn’t believe how good a job these hand planes did! I don’t think I’ll need to use my friends planer at all now. I’m really glad I decided to try to hand plane the top. I learned a lot on how to adjust the planes and, sharpen the blades, and hold and move the planes across the wood.
I just have to do the same thing to the other side and this half of my bench top is done.