Tugboat's workbench #1: Baby Steps! (...or, Can't Start Without Wood!)

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Blog entry by Tugboat706 posted 07-01-2012 12:00 AM 1851 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I am new to real woodworking, but I have been doing some reading on what a proper wood shop should have, and thing one always seems to be a workbench. Which I do NOT have. I found the LumberJocks forum while searching for ‘plywood toolbox’, but that led me to the forums, where a number of you have been great about offering advice and encouragement. One in particular (Danny) lives within a reasonable drive and has his own sawmill! So I made the 2:20 trek.

This was a great person to hook up with, because while he is is not a commercial operation, he had some very nice wood that he was able to sell me, and he also gave me a bit of an education while I was at his shop. Below is the white oak that I went with, loaded in my Tacoma. The 4 big slabs are around 9.5” wide, 2.25” thick, and 8 feet long. Those will provide the top of the bench, and the legs. The smaller pieces will be stretchers and other stuff.

I also got some cedar (smells good!) that’ll go towards drawer sides. You can see it in the bed of the truck shortly after I got home. It shifted a little, but nothing wanted to come loose. You may be able to see a coiled up piece of broken band saw blade from his sawmill that he gave me. While I can think of several projects for it, one of the early ones will be to use a short length of it, shaped with some files, as a scraper. There are probably better metals for such things, and it’s easy enough to buy them, but something about home made :) My old one could use a break :)

I’ve sketched a few ideas for how I want to go, but having the wood in hand changes a few assumptions I was making; for example, I can make the top from 3 big pieces of wood, vice laminating a whole bunch of smaller ones. Danny’s workbench had a feature that I’d like to copy, which is that the big drawers underneath open from either side. Very handy and one can actually use the ‘back’ of the drawer! I’ll post some pics of the design I settle on soon.

-- Clark in Georgia

2 comments so far

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4077 days

#1 posted 07-01-2012 04:09 AM

good luck…a work bench is a great place to start…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View paddlecreek's profile


4 posts in 2160 days

#2 posted 07-14-2012 09:03 PM

Great start. A good workbench is essential. Before you settle on design decide on your vise first. For help on design get Chris Schwarz’s book on Workbenches: From Design and Theory to Construction and Use. A world of knowledge can be gleaned from this book.

-- Van

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