My First Blog - My First Workbench #2: The Build

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Blog entry by manilaboy posted 05-10-2008 09:38 AM 1326 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: My First Workbench Part 2 of My First Blog - My First Workbench series Part 3: The Stretchers »

For five years now I have been making do with a 31” or so length of a 5” x 5”. We call it here in the Philippines as “YAKAL”. Very sturdy wood. Commonly used as house posts. Resistant to rot and termites wont even touch it. I found it lying around in my mother’s yard. Added the legs and the vice. A real workhorse ever since. I have used it to build everything around the house and more. My wife even uses it as a pedestal for her laundy buckets and pails.


It is very functional but the limitations are obvious. I gotta build something better…..



From a piece of 2” X 4” X 8’, I cut

1.) 25 1/2” lengths – 4 pieces for the leg uprights
2.) 14” lengths – 2 pieces for the top crosspieces
3.) 21” lengths – 2 pieces for the bottom crosspieces

I used my router to true up the edges riding the only straight edge I have around, a carpenter’s square. After routing one edge of the these eight pieces, I used the router’s edge guide to true up the opposing edges. Final width came to 3 1/2”.


After truing up the edges, I laid out the lines for the mortises. If I remember right, the mortise is about 2 1/2” X 3/4” wide X 1 1/2” deep.


I chewed most of the waste out with my US$100 drill press and a 1/2” bit….


Cleaned the jaggedness with a chisel…..


This is how it looked like after I am done with the chiseling…..


Then routed the mortise to final dimension. Eight in all. To speed up the process a little, I drilled all eight mortises first, then the chiseling, then the routing and the final step was to square up the mortises with a chisel. I did it in a three step process so as not to tax my router. It is fast becoming my favorite tool. Sorry folks, I forgot to take a picture of the finished mortises. I


I would have fabricated a jig to do the mortises. I just can’t find the right material. The router’s edge guide served the purpose. I just Flipped the workpiece to work the other side. It was tedious work and I had to be very careful so as not to allow the router to dig into the workpiece the wrong way.

Then, I also used my router to make the tenons. I again forgot to take a picture how I did it. I clamped a speedsquare on the workpiece aligned the tip of the router bit on the lay-out line and plunged away.


One of the legs assembled. Not bad eh?


More to come….

-- "Real jocks do it on a bench"

11 comments so far

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3781 days

#1 posted 05-10-2008 12:30 PM

Hey, neighbor! I’m interested in seeing what you do and how you do it, since you’re probably just as limited as I am regarding what you have to work with. Looking good so far!

-- Eric at

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3819 days

#2 posted 05-10-2008 12:43 PM

This is looking pretty good so far. You have done an excellent job with the M&T work with the tools that you have.

I am looking forward to the next installment.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3710 days

#3 posted 05-10-2008 02:59 PM

Good use of what you’ve got on hand! It is very cool to see people making their benches, thanks for the post and good luck on the rest of the bench.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3742 days

#4 posted 05-10-2008 03:11 PM

Looks like you’re off to a good start. Doing a nice job. Keep us posted. After taking a break from woodworking for a few years, I was living in Guam when I decided to get back into it. I made several projects from the Yakal wood. One was an entertainment center. I sold it when I left Guam and even if it was put out side, it’s still probably still around, given the rot resistance of the wood.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3986 days

#5 posted 05-10-2008 05:22 PM

Nice job! Aabangan ko ang pagkatapos ng project mo.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View jjohn's profile


390 posts in 3711 days

#6 posted 05-10-2008 11:16 PM

What did you say Gary ? On top of your many other talents how many lang. do you speak ?...Anyway…Good job so far. Waiting to see the finished product.

-- JJohn

View manilaboy's profile


177 posts in 3933 days

#7 posted 05-11-2008 12:23 AM

Hi Eric,

Yeah! We are on the same part of the world. Literally and shop size wise. :-)


I know I can really count on you. Hehehe


To me that makes woodworking enjoyable. These are all the tools I have, so I figure out ways how I can use them to accomplish a certain task. In a lot of ways, it is enjoyment in itself.


Thanks for the encouragement. Looks like you grew tired of typhoons and got into hurricanes instead. LOL.
My father worked for a construction company in Guam during the early 60’s. Yakal is plentiful here. Specially at the second hand lumber store. But it is very expensive.


Salamat! Nice words from a master craftsman like you is very uplifting.


Maraming salamat din.

79 reads and only 6 comments and 73 of those are mine (LOL). Come on guys! Let me hear you.

-- "Real jocks do it on a bench"

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3989 days

#8 posted 05-11-2008 06:23 AM

Nice progress so far. That sure is beautiful wood.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Kipster's profile


1076 posts in 3750 days

#9 posted 05-11-2008 05:52 PM

You have me hooked Can’t wait for the next update.
I am impressed with your clever use of basic tools.
You are displaying a great deal of skill with them.

-- Kip Northern Illinois ( If you don't know where your goin any road will take you there) George Harrison

View manilaboy's profile


177 posts in 3933 days

#10 posted 05-11-2008 10:35 PM

Hi Chris,



Thank you for the encouraging words. Another update coming up!

-- "Real jocks do it on a bench"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3670 days

#11 posted 05-17-2008 02:58 AM

I like your workbench base.

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