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Building a Work Bench

I did a trade for some woodwork with a guy who had a garage full of lumber and several nice hand tools. Most of the lumber was Oak.

I don't really like working with Oak. But I thought it would be perfect for a bench, and there was enough of it. I got lots of different lengths and widths. Most of it was 3/4". I forgot to take a "before" photo of the stack but here is a sample:



Now I intend to make a nice, sturdy bench, but its going to be more functional than artful masterpiece. Just something that I can really use with hand tools. Its my first bench, and there will be others later. So I really want this to be a quick project so I can get back to work on the stuff I really want to build.

Some may call this a "hack job." Call me a butcher, but I didn't even bother ripping the strips to the same width. As long as one side is flat, thats all that matters.

I started by rolling on the glue and clamping together sections of a half-dozen or so boards:



Then I glued up two of those sections:




At this point I have two sections that are less than 8" wide. This way they will fit on my 8" jointer to get one flat side.

Here is what the top will look like (It hasn't been jointed yet)



Here is the underside (notice the uneven widths)



The ends of the tool tray:



The sections laid out and ready for final assembly:




Don't worry, that endgrain will be covered with an end piece. For less than $20 bucks I got enough 4×6 and 2×6 Doug Fir for a very sturdy base. I also have a piece of solid mahogany re-claimed from an old desk for a bottom shelf, and a huge woodworking vice I got years ago at the flea market.

My friend the glue chisel…

On a side note, I thought I would take a moment to appreciate a very under-rated tool… My glue chisel. Its the old workhorse who doesn't whine or complain about the not so glamorous tasks like scraping semi-wet glue off a workpiece, gouging out a nail, prying double-stick-taped jigs apart, or popping bark off of a log.





Everyone should have a "glue chisel" ...someone's got to do the dirty work.
A few months back I stumbled upon the tail end of a two-day garage sale where a huge box of oak flooring sat in a dusty corner nobody wanted. Not enough to floor a room but enough for a knock-about benchtop. For $5, glued to oak ply sheets it looks a beauty. You can bang away to your heart's content.

My trusty "glue chisel" has been with me more than 30 years. Opens paint can lids and scrapes glue from concrete floors, it's one of my best beloved tools.

Best,
Peter
 

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Stanley No. 62 Low Angle Jack

Stanley No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane

Some of the modern high end hand tool manufacturers have been marketing "low angle jack planes" for years now like it is something nobody has ever thought of before. I mean, I had never heard of a low angle jack before I started reading reviews on Lie Nielson and Veritas versions in Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Veritas Low Angle Jack Plane:



And of course we all know that Stanley, the most famous maker of quality hand tools has SERIOUSLY BLOWN IT in the last several decades by manufacturing nothing but crap and letting other companies pick up where they left off. It took them long enough to realize what they had missed out on, and in 2009 they finally released a line of hand planes to compete with Lie Nielson and Veritas (among others)... the nostalgically-named "Sweetheart" line.

2009 Stanley No. 62 "Sweetheart" Low Angle Jack Plane:



Well I found out about a great website called The Best Things from another LJ post (sorry, I forget who). When I was browsing this website I saw a beautiful vintage Stanley plane that I had never hear of before. The Stanley No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane.



When I saw this picture I couldn't help getting excited. What a cool plane. I mean, a low angle jack is just kind of a sexy (not to mention useful) addition to a collection of hand planes. And realizing that the original VINTAGE thing was out there, and that they were somewhat RARE… I just had to have one.

Here's where working in a used tool store comes in handy… this came in to our shop the next day:

P1010006 1

P1010005

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Now I know it know it will be a lot of work… tons of rust and a broken tote… but I think this will be a FUN project.

Now if you don't know about Patrick's Blood and Gore, its the best resource on the internet for information about Stanley planes. Anyway, according to Patrick, the Stanley No. 62 is "one of Stanley's better planes they ever decided to manufacture."

He also notes that "the mouth often chips, especially in the area behind the cutter. You can flip over ten of these plane, and eight of them will be chipped, one will not be chipped but repaired, and the last perfect."

Well, besides the rust and cracked wood, this thing is COMPLETE and PERFECT. No chips or breaks (so I guess it's number ten.)

I've always wanted to try one of those "electrolysis bath" things that I've seen other people do on the internet. I think this would be the perfect candidate. I will also need to make a new tote and knob. I'll keep you posted on the process and I'm sure I'll have questions along the way.
While just about all the vintage Stanley planes are highly sought after and collected, there are some that can cause a frenzy on eBay; this one, the bedrocks, and the real long ones-the bigger, the better!

I would love to get my hands on that old rusted 62. It's a perfect resto candidate.

Your handle's a twin crack, rather than careful glue-up (done that) probably better off to sabotage.

Blake, you furnished the "Before" pics now we look forward to the "After."

After decades of an arsenal of sprays, steel wool, and pink jelly, the discovery of Evapo-Rust-as JO describes above-was a true blessing. It's available at Harbor Freight; it's the same everywhere: $19.95 a gallon, available in quarts.

Woodworker or not, E-R's a staple everyone should have on hand at all times…
A dozen eggs, 5 lbs. of flour, a claw hammer, a bag of peat moss, and Miles' "So What" on the turntable.

Best,
Peter
 
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