|Project by toddbeaulieu||posted 01-07-2013 08:08 PM||9722 views||22 times favorited||34 comments|
I finished my bench last night. What a project! I took time off during the holiday and spend at least 8 twelve hour days on this! I’m not exaggerating – I’m that slow!
I poured over plans and designs for a month before realizing that I simply wasn’t ready to build the massive bench that I want. The one I really liked was Jon Leppo's, but 8/4 raised panels was a bit out of my realm right now! I found a scaled down version, but neither could hold my hand like I needed during the construction. I needed plans.
So I settled for their Not So Big Workbench. I bought the detailed plans and watched the videos a few times each. I did change some details because I had thicker wood and figured I should use it.
This was BY FAR the most ambitious WW project I’ve taken on so far. I feel that I learned more in the past two weeks than I did in the past year. I am 1,000 times more comfortable with my jointer and planer now. My chisel work has improved tremendously, as well. Sure, I have a long way to go, but still. And just coordinating so many pieces and steps is something you have to go through many times. Reading and watching videos does nothing, compared to DOING!
The base is made from cherry that I had in stock. The drawer boxes are red and white oak. One of the pics is of the white oak being re-sawed for drawers. The cabinet is cherry ply that I had. The top, chop and drawer fronts are beech from a local guy for $2.50 bd ft. Four of the drawers are made from a single beech piece so the grain flows across them. Eh … not that noticeable, but fun trying.
After giving flattening by hand a try I gave up and used the router trick. LOVED IT! The grain switched in a few places and I just couldn’t figure out how to avoid tear out in the middle of the top.
I made quite a few mortises by hand, again for the practice. After chopping the jaw mortise, I couldn’t open a container from the fridge the next morning. No hand strength!
I made a single row of dog holes and one opposite the front vise. I installed a cool Veritas inset vise.
I’m not happy with the colors in a couple of ways. I really liked the contrast of the beech fronts being almost white. Well, the “clear” poly tinted it. Oh well. Guess I should test next time! Also, the solid frame around the drawers looks awful. I think it’s worse in this picture than real life, but still. Maybe I’ll sand it down and try again. Finishing is a huge weak area for me.
So … I finally have a bench and no more excuse as to why I can’t make those solid panel interior shutters she’s been asking for … for two years!
My hope is that this post helps at least one person to gain the confidence to tackle something way beyond their ability. Sure, you’ll make lots of mistakes doing it, but so what?