Roubo-Moxon Bench Build #15: Somebody Kick Me in the Pants

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Blog entry by Eric posted 09-07-2011 04:15 AM 5364 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: Bench. Is. Done. Part 15 of Roubo-Moxon Bench Build series Part 16: Over the Hump! »

Every other week or so, my wife says, “So when do you think you’ll do some more work on the bench?” And I sigh, slump, and say, “I dunno…”

I’m just in a funk with this hand planing. I can’t seem to motivate myself to do it. Granted, I typically don’t get much shop time in a week anyway (even if I wanted it), but the times when I could get some in, I just balk. It seems like there is still so much material to take off the top to get it flat AND level.

I don’t even feel like blogging about it. Which is why I am. I’m hoping that getting it out there will in some small way give me a push towards moving forward. My guess is that one or two more good sessions on the bench will get me close enough that the light at the end of the tunnel will be bright and near, and the rest would be easy.

So there you have it!

-- Eric at

14 comments so far

View WoodenSoldier's profile


161 posts in 2968 days

#1 posted 09-07-2011 05:40 AM

I know your feeling. I have a terrible habit of not finishing projects too. Sometimes you just got a do a little bit at a time and realize that it’s progress even if it doesn’t feel like much. That’s what I tell myself anyway.

Good luck!

-- Create something everyday.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3332 days

#2 posted 09-07-2011 05:48 AM

Just jump into it and get started and then it will flow easier. Take that first step is the most difficult. It would drive me crazy to let a project linger on.

View Gary Roberts's profile

Gary Roberts

140 posts in 3045 days

#3 posted 09-07-2011 08:21 AM

I tell ya what to do, coming from a die hard hand tool user, collector, seller, etc. Get yourself a belt sander and level that sucker. Finish up with a random orbit sander, seal it with any good wipe on varnish and get to work making things. The bench is just another tool, not a piece of furniture.

If I get stuck on a project that never seems to end, the project ends right there and I go on to something else.

BTW, my favorite go-to bench is an old and original Black & Decker Workmate. Portable, adjustable and it always seems to be there when I need some work holding for odd pieces. Next in line is my door bench. A commercial fire proof door, cut in half. Surface it two layers of quarter inch MDF glued down with vinyl tile adhesive. An old Record vise is mounted at one end, holes bored all over for various gadgets. And the whole thing is mounted on two old sheet metal bench legs salvaged from somewhre.

I also have an old Ulmia cabinetmakers bench but honestly, it doesn’t get as much use as the door bench.

-- Gary Roberts,

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3807 days

#4 posted 09-07-2011 08:50 AM

@Gary: I’m tempted to do that! Can’t afford a belt sander at the moment though. But you make a superb point. The bench is a tool. A gigantic jig. Thanks for the reminder.

-- Eric at

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3845 days

#5 posted 09-07-2011 11:46 AM

Eric, I think that we all get in this type of situation at one time or another. It just seems that the job is too big to tackle and we just don’t know where to start. I agree with Greg in that the best way to handle this is just to get started and do what you can- 10, 15 or 20 minutes at a time will add up to quite a bit of progress over the long haul. Once you start making some progress I am sure the enthusiasm will return.

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

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2716 days

#6 posted 09-07-2011 01:58 PM

Buy a new plane! That always gets me motivated;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View chrisstef's profile


17423 posts in 3029 days

#7 posted 09-07-2011 02:39 PM

What i would do is get into a little tiff with the wife to build up your frustrations. Once your good and pissed off, throw some metallica on the radio, grab that #7 and get to work sweating the poison out.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3696 days

#8 posted 09-07-2011 03:53 PM

It be like that, Eric. But you have to move foward.

View tsangell's profile


216 posts in 2716 days

#9 posted 09-07-2011 05:18 PM

I suspect that the plane you are using may not be set up aggressively enough. Something with a heavier camber (4” to 8”) that is sharp with a wide open mouth should remove a good amount of material pretty quickly. If you are thinking a belt sander would be faster…

Still, it is a lot of work – especially on a big slab like a bench.

View Gary Roberts's profile

Gary Roberts

140 posts in 3045 days

#10 posted 09-07-2011 05:59 PM

Here is a secret, long lost and hidden from modern man. You don’t need a perfectly flat and level work bench to work wood. It’s nice to have one but not a necessity. I’ve seen, used and have old photos of site built work benches for sash makers, joiners, etc. Throw away the micrometer and the feeler gauges and work with what you have.

It’s wood, not surface ground steel.


-- Gary Roberts,

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3807 days

#11 posted 09-09-2011 07:03 AM

@Gary: I wouldn’t mind (probably) if it was a little bit off. But the front is more than 1/4” higher than the back (in one part). That’s crazy off. So I’ll be happy not to use a micrometer, but I’m FAR from that close.

-- Eric at

View Gary Roberts's profile

Gary Roberts

140 posts in 3045 days

#12 posted 09-09-2011 07:13 AM

You could always rent a belt sander…

-- Gary Roberts,

View Eric's profile


875 posts in 3807 days

#13 posted 09-09-2011 07:23 AM

Not in Malaysia! (but that gives me an idea…)

-- Eric at

View hiswillus's profile


70 posts in 1972 days

#14 posted 06-02-2013 08:30 AM

I’ve found that even if the project isn’t related doing something else can help. I agree small so you get a bit of satisfaction from finishing something and that always gives me a push and gets the excitement back.

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