Weekend Bench #2: Rough lumber

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Blog entry by dsb1829 posted 12-29-2008 05:54 AM 1411 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Getting Started Part 2 of Weekend Bench series Part 3: Aprons for the MDF top »

Rough lumber

Could be worse, but without a proper bench it is pretty hard to deal with.

My secret weapon (s)

Cheap Harbor Freight clamp on vises. They are barely functional stock. However with a few small alterations they can work quite well. I use hard maple cauls with sand paper for better grip to make them hold to the bench better. I lined the jaws with 1/8in plywood adhered with double sided duct tape. Not going to win any awards or admiration, but these vises will do in a pinch and the pair only set me back about $35-40. I do think that getting a pair is the key to stable clamping and also for working longer boards.

For long boards you will need support in the middle. I clamp a couple of parallel clamps to the bench and put a board on top of them for additional backing. Here is my setup for cleaning up a 98in long board.

My rough lumber buddies

The scrub is my new best friend. Today was my first heavy use. I can tell we are going to get along splendidly. The scrub takes about 1/16-3/32in per swipe, but it leaves a bunch of troughs behind that need to be cleaned up. Enter the No5. I start it at 45* and smooth out the scrub marks. Then I transition to working with the grain. Then out comes the No8 to flatten. Once flat I may take a lighter pass with the No5 to smooth out any blade marks from the No8.

In the end it ends up something like this. It takes me about 30 minute to flatten a face. I hope to get faster, but it may just depend on the material needing to be removed.

From here I can go to my planer and the tablesaw to 4 square the board.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

4 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2103 posts in 3150 days

#1 posted 12-29-2008 07:32 AM

I’d love to get better at my handplaning but my practicing has caused an unexpected problem. The planing motion is causing me to quickly tear apart my cheap workbench! So right now, I need to limit my planing until I can get some type of stable work surface to plane on. I sometimes use the floor, but that does get really cold in winter.

A better workbench is in the work for the future, but how to build a workbench without already having one? LOL.

Considering you just got into handplane restoration, I’d say this was a pretty good effort with some great results. I’m sure it is just going to get easier and easier down the line when the new bench is done. I’m off to read post #3.

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3095 days

#2 posted 12-29-2008 06:34 PM


When I built my bench most of the hand planing was done on saw horses. I made the horses with carriage bolts so I could re tighten things as the wracking forces played havoc.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 3095 days

#3 posted 12-30-2008 03:00 AM

Nice progress, Doug!

View dsb1829's profile


367 posts in 3050 days

#4 posted 12-30-2008 06:13 AM

Funny CJ :)
This is just a hurdle that I have to put up with to make progress. It is not too bad, but I can’t wait to have a bench so that I can work bigger boards easier.

-- Doug, woodworking in Alabama

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