Hand tool workbench build #2: Wood selection -- and the verdict is:

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Blog entry by SauceMan posted 12-30-2017 08:23 AM 759 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Introduction and goals Part 2 of Hand tool workbench build series Part 3: First lamination »

Hard maple.

The above image pretty much sums up the reason for me. If you look at a shaving of each, you’ll see that the hard maple is much more homogeneous whereas the ash splits into strips. I’m concerned that those strips will end up translating to chunks popping off (or tearing up) from the surface of my workbench as I accidentally dig chisels or other sharp objects into it.

Here’s an image of the two “candidate” pieces of wood that I cut, smoothed on one face, and jointed one of the edges. Both of them yielded a nice, crisp corner, with the ash corner being super sharp.. It may be better than the hard maple because it was the second piece of wood I did this to, so I already had some experience with it.

That being said, the ash is a beautiful piece of wood. I’ll seriously consider it for the next piece of furniture I make. The fact that it’s somewhat inexpensive is just a bonus!

I tried ripping a 78 inch piece of hard maple to width and it took me over an hour to do so. There are a total of 12 such pieces on this benchtop. I hope my ripping skills get SIGNIFICANTLY better, because the thought of having to spend that much time doing something that could be done in a total of 15 minutes or less on my table saw is a bit… intimidating? Crazy? Stupid? I’m not sure. I hope crazy over stupid, though my dad thinks stupid over crazy. That being said, he never appreciated the joys of completing something with your own two hands. His (not completely unreasonable) opinion is that even if I use the power tools, I’d be still doing it with my own two hands.

All that being said, when I surfaced the piece of ash, I already had experience from doing two pieces of hard maple and it went way faster. I think that as I get to my 3rd, 4th, 5th and 10th rips, they’ll just get better and better.

I have about 4 or 5 hours of video footage to sift through (and pare down to a paltry 15 or so minutes total), so I’ll be pretty busy doing that. In the meantime, I’ve decided to try live streaming wherever possible, so if someone wants to watch me work as I’m doing it, just sign up. I’ll try to keep some occasional banter going and would love to see comments, but otherwise things are going at the true pace they actually take.


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