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My first ever project! Bench Build

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FatmanG

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Hi all,
I have spent lot of time watching and studying woodworking and now I have started my first ever project/build a much needed bench. I have only a small brick built 8x4 shed so as you will see from my first pictures I am short of space. I am trying to get my bench built as my next project is a new shed build. I am 6 foot 4 and 23 stone so i desperately need more space. Anyway My shed had a bench in it when I moved in but it was really crudely built so I took it apart and I am recycling it and using as much as I can in this build. There was an incredible amount of dirt on the wood and it has taken some shifting but I have planed the four legs and 4 pieces i am going to connect the legs using mortice and tenon joints. This was the first time I have ever used a plane. I have collected 2 Stanley no 4s 1 no 3 a 5 1/2 and a stanley handyman which I have made into a scrub plane to do the hard stuff getting the boards flat and square. My plan now is to do the mortice and tenons done for the legs and get them glued up whilst I crack on and get the rest of the wood flat. I have absolutely no idea what wood i am dealing with but one of the legs looks different to the rest I think it is Sapele it is much denser than the other legs and has a reddish looking tinge to it where the other legs are all a yellow colour.
As I say this is my first ever project and I am winging it a bit. It may go pear shaped but I am prepared for it as I have to learn. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I shall post the pics so far and update as the build progresses.
Glenn
 

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AndyT

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Crack on!

You'll learn far more from your experience on this project than you will from anywhere else.
Basic but essential stuff - what makes one piece of timber better than another, measuring, holding things down before the bench is finished, planing straight enough and square enough, leaving things rough where it really doesn't matter (= putting the best bits where they show or are otherwise important).

My only real tip for a bench is to screw it to the floor - assuming your shed floor is sound - this can give a big increase in stability.
 

MikeG.

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Good luck Glenn! Building your own bench is quite a task for your first woodworking project, but if you are patient there is no reason you can't succeed.
 

MikeG.

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FatmanG":1jv71um6 said:
......... I have absolutely no idea what wood i am dealing with but one of the legs looks different to the rest......
It's all pine, except possibly the second-from-camera leg. It's not easy to work with neatly, but it's cheap as chips. If you stuff up, it won't cost you much.
 

Woodchips2

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Good luck Glenn, that's a lot of shavings so looks like your planes are sharp. If you are planning to build a bigger shed will you reuse this bench? If so size it so you can get it out.
Regards Keith
 

Trevanion

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You'll learn far more from building it and learning as you go than you could glean from any book or video, so good on you! It's nice to see you're working with inexpensive materials for your first bench because as Mike said, if things go pear-shaped it won't cost the earth to replace pieces.

As Mike also said, the majority of the pieces of timber you've got there are some kind of softwood like Pine or Spruce, it's hard to say what the odd-ball piece of timber is that you've got. I've seen a couple of people fall into the trap of using rather expensive materials like Beech and Sapele when building their first bench as an early project, they end up making something sub-par in quality and realise quickly of its shortcomings from being not so well thought-out as they thought and now they feel obligated to cling onto it because "It cost so much to make". If it didn't cost so much to make in the first place you might be more likely to make a second, far better bench if the first one doesn't live up to expectations.
 

FatmanG

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Cheers guys,
Mike/trevanian, I'm reusing the wood for 2 reasons the first is not to waste it and if it goes wrong it hasn't cost me anything. I will learn along the way. I'm doing a bench first as you can see I'm planing off a makeshift table using screws to hold the wood in place. I'm thinking of buying a workmate to help with the planing.
I must have beginners luck with the planes as all seem to work OK I dare not mention about sharpness :D I was a butcher once upon a time so I had a start there.
I intend to make another bench when I get another shed built I'm hoping to join them but I need to look more at sizes before it becomes a planning issue.
This is not going to be a wide bench woodchip 19" max the problem I have is with the floor around the edges is a lip of concrete so I can't get the legs flush to the wall any wall.
I'm back at it tomorrow so I shall post pics of my progress/cock ups
Cheers lads
Glenn
 

Bm101

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Crack on. Learn more in 2 hours in the shed than a week reading about it.
 

FatmanG

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Hi all and a happy healthy and prosperous new year to all.
Its been a while since I posted but I have an excuse I had an Op on my old man on 23rd of DEC so I've been moving a bit gingerly to say the least lol
Anyway my 1st project well hasn't been easy at all. I made a mess of one of the mortice and tenons on the legs also the same leg was badly twisted so in the end I have sorted it but have screwed them and glued. The joinery looks bad but its a bench and they seems solid. I have reused a lot of the wood from the bench I dismantled but I had to buy some rough sawn timber from b@q which I have planed today and all the laminations are ready to glue. I changed the length of my top which means my aprons need to be longer and I didn't get the stock at b and q DOH so I need to get it tomorrow.
Despite the disappointment with some of the joinery I'm going to finish it and get the 53 vice installed and make it work. I can then put the brakes on and do exactly what Ben Tyreman did and follow Paul Sellers projects and if my joinery gets a quarter as good as his then I will be a happy man.
A few photos of where I'm at now. I don't use a mobile phone so I have to asky my teenage daughter to take photos which can be like pulling teeth :D
I am learning all the time and by the time I've built my new workshop I will no fought build a better bench but as long as I get this one solid and usable then I will be satisfied if not delighted.
 

FatmanG

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I'm trying to add photos but they're too large will try and sort it
 

AndyT

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FatmanG":37kdc5p9 said:
I'm trying to add photos but they're too large will try and sort it
If your assistant has an Android phone, I suggest the Open Camera app. It's excellent all round but one simple thing it lets you do, which other phone apps leave out, is to adjust the resolution settings down to a small image size suitable for the forum.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... opencamera
 

Fitzroy

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Keep going, it’s a steep learning curve, but a rewarding one and you’ll have a great bench at the end.

Fitz.
 

thetyreman

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thanks for the kind words fatmanG,

couple of things I'd now do differently, make the main top a bit wider, by at least 4 inches, and make wedges for the legs to secure them into the apron, if you need help at any point send me a PM! it's still a good bench but you shouldn't be afraid of adapting it for your own needs.

best of luck, can't wait to see what you do.

Ben.
 

FatmanG

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evening all,
i have been making progress on my bench. I have managed to glue the top together, it turned out ok but i had a few slippery bleeders that managed to come out a bit but over all i am happy with it. I have flattened one side which looks really good. I have not decided if its the top or bottom yet i will see which side looks the best when i have flattened the other side. I decided i couldn't live with the legs and took all the screws out. I got some thicker boards to make the new tenons out of. I have redone the mortices as they needed to be bigger and they look 1000 times better than they were. I learned from the first lot i did which is the main thing. I shall have them glued up tomorrow. i shall post some better pictures when Ive glued them and also some better ones of the top. I have sized my tool tray and will need to flatten that. because of the small space i am dealing with atm i changed the design of my top. I went for 6 pieces of wood laminated together at 1800mm and then 6 at a 1m i glued all 12 together in an l shape i will fill the 800mm with a wellboard/tool tray. I will post a few pics at the end of this post. I am going to take some proper photos tomorrow, i get that carried away with what i am doing i forget to ask the wife or daughter to take some photos. I guess i should invest in a mobile phone to take some photos. I am loving my build it is helping me with my mobility and my strength. I also feel like it is helping my mental health too. Its hard work and frustrating at times but what a hobby.
The last picture is of my first finished project a picture frame with a picture of my daughter as a present for my wife at xmas. The last frame broke and I know its poor compared to some of the tuff on here. But it means a lot to my wife and I. The first of many completed projects to come I hope.
I shall update tomorrow with some better photos i promise
Glenn
 

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FatmanG

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by the way i need a new mallet if ny of you turners want to flog me 1 i wouldnt say no :D
 

FatmanG

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I have god knows how many of the standard ones but they lack weight I have a Thor type which I like but it needs new ends and the replacements I got off amazon the threads were too big.
 

MikeG.

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So, you know exactly what you want. That's the hard bit out of the way. The next hardest bit is finding the right pieces of wood. The easy bit is cutting it up and putting it together.

Now, get on with it!! :)
 
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