Hi guys, this is my first Blog as I start my journey into the realm of fine wood working. I decided earlier this year that I would like to get more involved in working with wood and creating my own furniture and such. It all started with building a Apothecary style console for my wife that I got the plans for off the internet. While building that project I soon learned that I desperately needed to upgrade my tools. Since then I have acquired a few of the must have power and hand tools but I still have no proper workbench. So that leads me to this build.
After finding this site, I soon found the Workbench Smack Down thread, which has a ton of awesome benches. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to build an 18th century style work bench, aka a Roubo work bench. The thread also has a lot of incite into how to build your bench and a ton of knowledgeable people that will answer nearly any question or concern that you may have regarding your build.
With resources and funds being limited, I decided to start saving every penny that I could in order to purchase the wood needed to build a bench. I tried finding a reclaimed lumber source, but the only thing I found was some crack selling reclaimed wood at about three to five times what any person in there right mind would pay. So, back to saving pennies. Then, I came across some large timbers at work. There was a few 8” x 8” x 8’ Oak timbers being used for rigging on few pieces of large equipment. I also spotted a couple of pieces of 12” x 12” x 4’ laying around too that I thought would work great for the legs. I asked what was to be of the wood and soon I was loading the salvageable pieces into my truck.
So now with the large timbers in my possession, I had to figure out a way to break them down into manageable sized pieces. A band saw! So I searched Craiglist for weeks in hopes to find a band saw that would handle the timbers and also fit into my budget. No such luck. I then stumbled upon a Craftsman band saw that had enough re-saw capacity to suit my needs and the price was better than what I was finding on CL. So after giving CL two more weeks, I decided to get the Craftsman Model # BAS350, which actually was on sale and I had a coupon I found online, so I ended up get it for under $275. Not bad. If I decide to upgrade down the road, I should be able to re-coop most of what I invested.
Now for the 12” x 12”. How am I to cut this? I decided to only was to rip it with a handsaw. I knew this was going to be a challenge, but I failed to realize that it would take me about 5 hours to get through this beast. I thought that after about a solid hour of sawing and I’d be through it, but that was only wishful thinking. I’m not sure exactly how long it took, but it was 5 hours from when I started to when I had two pieces setting in front of me. I even took to Lowe’s to buy a new 24” Stanley hand saw thinking that the old Disston I got from my Dad just wasn’t sharp enough. I did take a pass on either side with my circular saw, but that wasn’t much help, and may have actually made it more difficult as the kerf was wider than my hand saw allowing the blade to bind and bow, resulting in an even wider kerf.
With that challenge tackled, I set out to cut down the two pieces of 6” x 12” in half and get them prepped. I was able to easily rip them on the band saw and then squared them up with my hand planes. I was still not happy that all the legs were of different size from 5 3/8” to 5 9/16”, so I decided to rip them all to the same size on my table saw. Now after another quick planing and little sanding, the legs are ready to be cut to length and have the dovetails/tenons cut.
Now I am patiently waiting for my copy of Chris Schwarz’s Workbenches: from Design and Theory to Construction and Use arrive so that I can get the design of my bench finalized before I proceed any further.
During this and other builds I found it difficult using my table saw as a workbench, it seems that tools would just pile up too quick and I was constantly moving tools and stuff out of my way so that I could work. To resolve this I built a mobile workstation that also have tool storage capacity. I can use this for a workbench as well, but it intended purpose is to have some where other than my work space to set my tools. Since I have no really storage, this will also store my most used tools so that they are always in arms reach.
Thanks for reading!
-- Rob - Learning... one mistake at a time...