|Project by nurvreck||posted 01-01-2013 04:56 AM||5273 views||18 times favorited||17 comments|
The Back Story
About a year ago I got into the hand tool thing. For me it was more of a personal choice so I posted all my power tools on craigslist and sold everything! I didn’t really have a grasp on the methods and techniques but with the help of sources like The Hand Tool School, online magazines, and other contributors on the internet, my transition was pretty smooth. Also during that time, I moved from FL to NC so other than a few boxes of tools, I had nothing, including a bench. I was using an unfinished miter saw stand as a temp bench but left it when we moved. This was the perfect time to build a bench for myself. I found and purchased the Hybrid Roubo Workbench plans from FineWoodworking.
Now I didn’t exactly have the money for a high quality wood so I decided I would use 2×6 material from the local big box store and laminated everything. In total I believe I used 28 boards. I do still have some cut off pieces but with a little better planning, I may have been able to get it to 25 or so boards. There are also some 1x material that is S4S from the big box store that I didn’t want to thickness down to 3/4” from 2x board.
The Plans Modification
Well I got through building the first leg when I decided that this was a bit much for me. The plans called for 5×5 legs and after one look, I knew that me being a hobbiest that size of a bench (91-1/2” x 26” x 36”) was just too big. So I took to SketchUp and modified the plans. I scaled down the size to 61-1/2” x 24” x 32”, swapped a leg vise in place of the face vise, a wagon vise in place of a tail vise, added a shelf, and made it a split top. The chisel holder on the end was actually to cover up a mistake in measuring.
First and foremost, this bench was built 100% with hand tools. Not a single power tool ever touched it. There are three types of tenons; pegged tenons on the upper base frame, wedged double tenons on the lower base frame, and a dovetailed through-tenon, with an angled haunch and wedge for the stretchers. It has a 3” thick top, shop made bench dogs (I may buy some at a later time), a planing stop, sliding deadman, a sturdy shelf and of course a leg and wagon vise (which are both from Lie-Nielsen). The only metal hardware are on the chisel holder, vises, and to secure the top to the base. Right now there is no finish on it and I don’t intend on putting any on at this point. The center piece, when flipped and used as a batten, extends 3/8” above the bench.
I love this bench. I’ve learned so much in building with hand tools. By no means is it perfect or close to it and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s flat, sturdy, and can hold a board for face, edge and end planing. It doesn’t weigh 400+ lbs but it also doesn’t move while I am planing. It does dent easier than harder woods but it’s not a piece of furniture so I don’t care. I look forward to the many years of use to come.
I also blogged almost the entire build of this bench on my personal blog with tons more info and pictures if anyone was interested. Thanks for looking and all comments and critiques are welcome!
-- Dan, SSgt/USMC, Jacksonville, NC, http://thefamelesswoodworker.com