I didn’t stare at my pile of lumber much before I started thinking about how long it was going to take to hand plane to dimension. Based on the limited time I get to do this stuff it would take me weeks, if not months, to complete. I really do enjoy using the hand planes, but gee, I’d like to actually make the bench so that I can use it to make other things.
I thought about my options for a little, then bought a DeWalt 735X thickness planer. Amazon’s $475 price was the lowest ever and it receives rave reviews, so I jumped. This bench will let me do bigger projects, so the ability to quickly dimension is surely going to be useful in the future, too. So, I did it, I bought a planer so I could cheat and get it done.
On Sunday I went through my pile of “A,” “B,” and “C” boards. I hand planed a little twist out of a few of them, then put them through the planer. (By the way, on a recent trip to Home Depot I was able to add another “A” grade piece and another “B” grade piece.)
I was able to get all of them nicely planed down to 1-1/4” thick in a few hours, and they all look quite good! The “B” and “C” graded pieces are pretty much indistinguishable now. With the “A” pieces I’ve now got 23 boards that will make a great top. That’s not to say it’s all perfect, of course, but the top side will surely look great.
Excited to visualize my bench, I slid all of the wood together to see the top. Nice.
Of course, once done I had to clean up. Incidentally, knowing how loud and messy this was going to be I didn’t work in the basement shop area but instead pushed into the garage with “dust collection” happening outside. This is 50 gallons of wood shavings. I’ll dump it on the fruit bush garden this week—fertilizer!