the humble house workshop #4: First workout

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Blog entry by kiwi1969 posted 05-15-2009 03:38 PM 1639 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Budget workbench needs all the help it can get Part 4 of the humble house workshop series Part 5: LOVIN' IT!! »

So I finally get to make some shavings and give the new budget bench a trial run. The project is a gate for the front door to stop the little guy from crawling away as he is getting a bit adventurous for his own safety at the moment. After some not too bad sales of our second hand clothes, I went and got some 3×2 from the local hardware, three 12 ft lengths of something that looks a bit like luan for 900 peso. The bench itself was always going to be a bit light weight so i,ve built a removable tool box to add weight and give extra support to the legs, it,s not finished in these pics but it did the trick and I now have a surprisingly stable surface to work on. The luan lookalike planed up really nicely as long as you have the grain running the right way, and the jig is proving way easier and faster than useing a vice for this job.
The next planing job was on some Palochina (local pine) that I got for free. I love Pine, big shavings pouring out of the Jack planes mouth, the smell rising up of the bench, wonderful stuff.
Then came the dovetails. Now I have to say that after 15 years in the factories i,ve never done a dovetail by hand so this is the first in my entire life! Made a slight goof by not leaveing enough meat on the pins and one of them did split on the dry fit, and yes I did manage to cut on the wrong side of the line on my first one!
It feels great having a pile of shavings underfoot.
The dry fit pointed up some pretty average joinery. The mortise and tenon joints are a bit gappy and I realised goof number 2 was not to make the tenons before the slats were shaped. The design is also very average. I intended the slats to be an ode to Charles Limbert but they ended up looking like a badly drawn cactus from a road runner cartoon.
The dry fit also exposed another goof ( thats 3 now). The gaps created by the design stuff up were too big and the little guy could fit his head through so I had to add the cross piece which also helped make it look a little better. He seems happy with it anyway.
So after my first 100% all handtool project I must say despite the stuff ups I honestly enjoyed this more than all my years in factories and thats not an overstatement. This way of working was like a fresh start to a new career and after taking a break from the tools for a bit over a year it,s a wonderful feeling getting dusty again without haveing to wear glasses and earplugs. I also discovered that working in an open shop is realy nice, as long as it doesn,t rain, and I will certainly include this feature in my dream shop when I finally get one.

Although it did reveal something horrible when you combine weightloss and handplaning. PLANERS CRACK!!

Sorry about that.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

5 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8654 posts in 5145 days

#1 posted 05-15-2009 03:46 PM

it all comes together huh?

nice little project ;) – and the gate is nice too!

gotta love those shavings, and the Pine aroma

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 4939 days

#2 posted 05-15-2009 03:52 PM

It all worked in the end. Not bad shavings for brand new, stock standard, untouched, out of the box stanley irons I must say.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View a1Jim's profile


118334 posts in 5074 days

#3 posted 05-15-2009 04:21 PM

View Francisco Luna's profile

Francisco Luna

1052 posts in 4890 days

#4 posted 05-15-2009 07:39 PM

Nice gate! now that little one is locked up!

-- "Menos es mas" Ludwing Mies Van Der Rohe

View gizmodyne's profile


1785 posts in 5587 days

#5 posted 05-16-2009 02:15 AM

I like the gate. As for the crack, nothing a little spackle won’t fix.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

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