I see many beautiful pieces of work on LJ. The creators are true artists … I am not. I love working with wood. I love the process, watching the raw material turn into something solid and useful. But my skills are not exceptional. Neither are my tools and the materials I work with. I am the average guy. I try to learn new things on every project. I try to avoid repeating my mistakes. I try to have fun.
I just finished my first “real” workbench. For more than 20 years I have been clamping the same piece of plywood in a Workmate, or working on the top of my old Craftsman contractor table saw. The top of the bench is 25” X 61”, made of three layers of 3/4” oak plywood edged with oak salvaged from a dumpster several years ago. The body of the bench is made from 2X6 framing lumber, cut to length and laminated together to make some really heavy timbers. I don’t have a jointer and my planer needs new blades. Those shortcomings and the warping and twisting of my materials, meant I got to know a No. 6 Stanley plane I have had for a long time and seldom used. I also used, fro the first time an old Stanley No. 61 low angle block plane I scored on Ebay. What a joy it is to peel off long thin shavings with a really sharp hand tool. The bench took me a couple weeks to finish, with several trips to HF for more clamps. I went through a quart of glue and a box of Bandaids (typical for me). I finally bolted on a heavy quick release vise I bought on sale last month (the reason for the bench build). The result pleases me – a lot. I know where the mistakes are, but I worked around them. There is nothing pretty about it, but it is a nice looking bench, in a very utilitarian way. I can move it, but it isn’t easy. This baby won’t be shifting around when I am working.
So that is my woodworking: not great, but pretty good – and very satisfying.