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