I began my woodworking journey a little over two years ago now. My wife and I had just bought our first house together, she had quit her job and became a full time law student and I was looking for something to do that was a little more engaging than television. My previous hobby had been tinkering with cars which I still enjoy, when I can, to this day. But our new home had no garage and we had little money to spare. So I searched my soul and the internet and decided that I would teach myself electronics. I already had all of the tools for small electronics work save one; a work bench. And my interest, my wife would say obsession, in woodworking started.
I found the plans for a basic work bench on the Popular Mechanics website. It looked simple enough for me to construct with my limited tools and sturdy enough to serve any purpose I could find for it. So I trotted off to the neighborhood Borg center, picked up a bunch of 2×4’s, lag screws and bolts, a full sheet of 3/4” baltic birch ply and dragged it all down to my laundry room. I borrowed an ancient 10” benchtop table saw and an equally ancient Skill saw from my dad and over several nights built my very first work bench.
Over the next several weeks many small packages of even smaller electronics components arrived in the mail and began accumulating on my new bench. As I accumulated more and more of the parts for my first project (an engraving laser) my enthusiasm waned. The parts sat on the bench for several months. Then small household projects began coming up. The parts went into a drawer where they still sit today but the bench was finally being used, and used more and more frequently.
Fast forward two years. I’ve accumulated enough tools both complete many projects and fill my small laundry room to near capacity. But the tight space is but a minor annoyance compared to my very real and severe problem… I’ve caught the handplane disease. For those unfamiliar with the handplane disease, it starts out innocent enough with just a plane or two. Then you learn to sharpen; you buy another plane or two. By the time you figure out how to use a jointer and a smoothing plane it’s all over, you have an incurable disease. There is only one way to treat this disease and that is to build a bench with enough efficient work holding and weight to enable you to swing around all variety of different hand planes with out having to move your bench back into position everything third stroke. And that, of course, is why I am writing this today.
I will be building, indeed have already begun building, a Roubo style bench. This is a pretty massive bench based on the designs of Andre Roubo in the 18th century and revived by PWW’s Christopher Schwartz around 2005. I do not undertake this lightly; I have read many articles and several books on the topic of work benches, their design and use and come to the conclusion that this is the best bench for me. Not only is it massive in both size and weight but it’s construction is remarkably simple. I think it even has fewer joints to cut than the Popular Mechanics bench I started with! Today is just the introduction, check back tomorrow for part two when I begin construction.
And now because I know I rarely read a blog post with out pictures, here is a picture of my #7 Bedrock on my electronics work bench.