Reclaimed Glory #4: Workbench from reclaimed/salvaged lumber - mounting a face vise

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Blog entry by palaswood posted 08-21-2013 07:01 AM 2767 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Will found oak ladder lead to new heights of woodworking adventure? Lets find out Part 4 of Reclaimed Glory series Part 5: Hand Plane Madness (its a real thing) »

I got started in woodworking about six months ago when I brought home a small log that was cut from a much bigger log off a black mulberry tree down the street that has fallen apart due to age, its own weight and who knows what else (but yields gobs of incredibly sweet fruit)

As I stripped the bark and saw what was inside, I was mezmerized. This is a very old tree and yielded gorgeous wood.

One thing led to another, and I began in earnest to amass a hoard of wood from anywhere I could find it. I soon became known as “Project Guy” by the guys down at Ace hardware cause I was in there several times a week getting tools to get my feet wet, (though not the wood, because as my Grandpa used to say, “Water on wood makes wood no good.”)

I quickly realized I needed a workbench, but long before I introduced myself to Paul Sellers or Christopher Schwarz, I watched this video by Steve Ramsey on how to build a simple workbench. Hey, it got me started, and the rest, I hope, will be history.

I found some silvered old 2×4s out back in the greenbelt behind our community. Lugged them home, extracted all nails, and then planed them flat(ish) with my Ace hardware 7” block plane

(my first hand plane)

I cut a 24” x 36” (i think) section out of a 1-1/8” 4×8 sheet of plywood I had in the garage, and the rest is salvaged 2×4s from a concrete pour near my work that I scooped up before somone could burn them as the “free firewood” as which they were being offered.

I sanded down the plywood and gave it 3 or 4 coats of Watco Danish Oil, letting it dry and sanding between coats.
Then glued, screwed and clamped the top together before adding the legs.

I lightly sanded the 2×4s and glued/screwed those together, then mounted them onto the benchtop.

Now I had a bench. It isn’t much, and I still need to add some stretchers for stability and heft as when I really put some effort into my work, it does slide around a bit.

But I have gotten some great use out of it these past months: It was temporarily my Lathe Stand (CL special of a HF lathe, $80)

Check out the sycamore handle I turned from a small 3in dia log for my roughing gouge after the handle fell off of it.

Okay, I’m doing it again. FOCUS JOSEPH! We’re talking about the Workbench here…

So now, months later, I’ve decided to finish it up. Im expecting a Stanley T13, #4 in a few days I picked up along with a Stanley Handyman off ebay, BIN $25 for both, so I’m gonna mount a vise I got a couple months back but never mounted it (you guys seeing a pattern of procrastination here?).

Here is the section I’m gluing up tonight that I’m going to use to build up the space under the bench to sink the rear jaw into. The top and bottom pieces are clamps. (I need some new clamps…)

I’ll keep y’all posted, as there is lots more to come…

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

4 comments so far

View theoldfart's profile


9736 posts in 2473 days

#1 posted 08-21-2013 02:16 PM

And so it begins, another case of workbench madness!! Keep at it.
PS planed 2×4’s w/block plane….dedication for sure. You may want to find a #5, much bigger and makes for a flatter board. Then a #7, then a #8,a #............ etc, etc

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2507 days

#2 posted 08-21-2013 04:25 PM

$80 for a lathe that size was a great score. Welcome to the fray.

-- Brian Timmons -

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3356 days

#3 posted 08-21-2013 04:39 PM

We all started simple and upped the ante as we went. You will probably do the same. Be sure to tune and sharpen those hand planes well and you will get a lot of enjoyment from them. Meanwhile you have a bench to work on and maybe use it to make another bench in the future!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View palaswood's profile


1002 posts in 1773 days

#4 posted 08-21-2013 05:36 PM

@theoldfart – I’ve got the stanley 4 and handyman coming. But I’m sure once I get them, I’ll be on the hunt for a 5 or 7 soon after. Planing with that block plane was a b*tch, but since it was new to me, it was a blast. Blade was sharp and my work was clamped firm. A very enjoyable experience as I remember it. The shavings are now resting beneath my tomatoes in the patio garden :)

@Stefang, you are dang right. I am already planning how I’m going to build that next true Woodworker’s bench.

About sharpening, whats a good resource to learn plane iron sharpening because that skill still manages to elude me for the most part.

Here is what came out of the clamps this morning. I’m gonna start chiseling away and sink my vise in here, then bolt it underneath the bench.

@BTimmons – couldve been $100 for that lathe now that I think about it again, but it’s a 41” lathe. I have yet to turn any table legs though. But I made this laminated pine bowl/cup thingy (my first try ever, not really finished). Sorry but the image is off my instagram with those fancy contrast filters applied.

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

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