Okay, I think I failed to emphasize in the first post how much of a learning experience this was for me. I knew that I would learn a bunch before I started, but I definitely didn’t know how much. The more time I spend in the shop, the more I realize I do not know, and wish I could spend more time and have more room, and have more time, etc.
This entry is going to be about the next stage of this process of building a workbench. At some point after I had milled up the many pieces for the top, I decided that I did not just want it to be Douglas Fir all the way across the top. I just thought it might look a little too bland. I think it was around the time I was doing the initial glueeup of the top 6” sections.
You can see if you look closely in the next photo that I didn’t have them all completely the same height. I did this because I intended to run them through the planer as sections. I think that in retrospect that I would have liked to have had the top a little thicker and that I might have put more thought into this particular part rather than what I did. It did end up working out, but I still would have liked it thicker.
The next picture shows all four of the top sections glued up and planed.
Like I said before, I wanted a little more visual appeal, and I had seen a photo in one or both of the books I was reading that had a bench with accent strips in a darker wood with that darker wood also being the apron around the edges. I had noticed that my local Woodcraft had some nice 8/4 Sapele and thought that the dark brown Mahogany color would look good around all of the Douglas Fir. I also thought that the vises would be a little bit more effective with the denser wood as the main wood. Here is a picture of the 3/4” wide sections that I put in between the 6” Douglas Fir chunks.
This next photo is the first of many things that taught me how to better tuneup my machines. In this case, the planer. I have the Delta 13” planer, and while I love it, when I first got it, and when I was first using it, there was definitely some snipe involved in all of my workpieces. You will notice in the bottom right hand corner of the picture on the end of one of the Douglas Fir sections that there was some definite snipe. I loved the look of the Sapele with the Fir, but I ended up having the cut a little more of the ends off because of the Snipe than I had wanted to. My Father-in-Law was over for dinner one night and he noticed the snipe and asked what it was. I told him, but it irked me that I had to deal with it. I eventually went through the manual for the planer reading every word and then checked a few other sites and realized that if you cant the tables up just a fraction that almost, if not all, of the snipe goes away. One major woodworking machine tuned up.
Since I had the chunks for the top about done, I figured I would want to start working on the base so that I could have somewhere to put the top once I got it all glued up. This whole process involved a great deal of moving things around for each subsection of the whole workbench to be built with the size constraints of my garage (and the incredibly lame placement of our chimney, which by the way, doesn’t work because it is cracked in several places, so it uses up 10 square feet of shop space and wall in a place that is very inconvenient) Here are the blanks for the legs, feet, and top of the base. You might notice that I have a couple of extra blanks, but the way the cutlist worked, I had a few extra pieces that wouldn’t go anywhere else, so I milled a couple of extra in case.
The next few pictures are of the glueup of the legs with their readymade tenons. I think I will leave the finetuning of the legs, mortising the feet and top and the glue up of the base for the next entry. Thanks for reading.
Oh, and I almost forgot, along the way (since I drew it out so long), I was able to purchase and receive a few tools as gifts that definitely helped out in the process. The first of these that was truly significant was the new Starrett 12” square that I picked up. My old one was a cheapie from HD and it turned out that it wasn’t all that square to begin with and was the reason that some of my earlier stuff wasn’t quite square.
Here is a picture of the new square…well worth the extra money, that is for sure.