Novice Rambling Quickie #6: A new bench

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Blog entry by NewPickeringWdWrkr posted 08-05-2010 05:32 AM 2910 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: If you can't stand the heat ... Part 6 of Novice Rambling Quickie series no next part

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up the lumber for my workbench project.

Not maple, not beech, not birch, not even southern yellow pine.

That’s right, I’m making it out of local SPF – Spruce/Pine/Fir.

You see, to make a bench out of hardwood, the top alone is going to cost over $300 clams. I just can’t afford that right now, but I have a growing ‘honey-do’ list and I need something better than a piece of plywood on sawhorses because of my growing love of hand planes.

Searching around, I found a solution where a solid bench can be made from big box store lumber. Pop Wood has an article for a $175 workbench including vice hardware.

Tonight, my wife who is back home after surgery told me to go to the garage for a little while and that she would be fine. After making sure, and telling her I love her (ain’t she great?), I zipped out and started milling the 2×8 lumber down to size which has been acclimating for the last 2 weeks.

I managed to get all of the boards milled down to thickness, but only 4 boards glued together. With all the humidity, the glue was still gooey after an hour. Over night it will sit for sure to ensure drying.

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

7 comments so far

View wichle's profile


96 posts in 4112 days

#1 posted 08-05-2010 06:56 AM

I have a workbench I built using a solid core institutional door. I bought it at a construction surplus warehous. It is heavy, flat, has a 1/4” thick birch surface. Cost – - -$10.00. You would be amazed at what treasures others call surplus.


-- Bill, Michigan "People don't come preassebled, but are glued together by life"

View Manitario's profile


2818 posts in 4048 days

#2 posted 08-05-2010 07:35 AM

there’s no shame in using SPF for projects!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 4178 days

#3 posted 08-05-2010 01:54 PM

Bill, I’ll have to check that out to see if there’s one nearby.

Rob – There sure isn’t. You just have to be very choosy on your board selection. Forklifts are murder on SPF and loose knots abound. I have a love hate relationship with shopping. I love the ‘getting the stuff home’, but the ‘shopping for stuff’ is a PITA IMO. I just don’t have any patience for it. Any thoughts on how to slow down?

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4201 days

#4 posted 08-05-2010 03:59 PM

Mike, most of the big things I make, including my workbench, are SPF. Hardwood (and especially exotic hardwood) is fine for small things but I’d need to marry into money for some of the things I’ve dreamed of (even in local hardwood). Good luck with this it should serve you well. Just remember one hour spent (or waited) now will be worth five, later.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Woodcanuck's profile


128 posts in 4165 days

#5 posted 08-05-2010 04:28 PM

Bill, you’ve got a good point there. I’m very envious of my brother who lives in the UK as he has several salvage ‘stores’ nearby that have everything from old lumber and flooring to garden statues, fireplaces and, yes, even the kitchen sink. These places can be a gold mine.

Mike…it’s pretty much hit and miss, but check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStores for things like old cabinet sets (they make decent shop cabinet storage on a budget), doors, “scrap” lumber, fasteners, hinges and even the occasional tool makes it way into the ReStore. There’s one in East York (near DVP and Eglinton).
Toronto Habitat ReStore

-- Ian - Life's a game, if you don't play, you can't win.

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 4178 days

#6 posted 08-05-2010 06:36 PM

Thanks Ian, I’ll check it out. That makes 2 recommendations for HFH ReStores (1 from a non LJ friend). I do need some more cabinets to replace the crappy ones that are hard to organize eventually.

Martyn, I hear ya! Wood’s not cheap! A HW board here and there adds up!

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View Dez's profile


1174 posts in 5242 days

#7 posted 08-05-2010 10:38 PM

What works – works!!!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

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