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The Workbench | by Phil Gradwell
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The Workbench

I've been having fun making lot of shavings over the last few days. The time came to pull the pile of wood that's going to be my workbench, out of the corner of my garage where it's been for the last 7 years, and get on with it. I had got as far as laminating the 4 inch thick worktop and cutting the big mortice and tenon joints for the massive legs and stretchers and then I lost steam. My plane became dull and I faffed around looking for a big piece of plate glass to sharpen it on. I wanted a big 2ft long piece which was harder to find than I thought, so the wood slowly made it's way to the back of the garage and I made do with an old kitchen worktop. Not having a bench to make the bench didn't help either...

 

www.flickr.com/photos/philandpam/2159441291

 

Since building my frame I've had a renewed desire to finish my bench and create a nice space for making things, so I cleared a load of junk out of the garage and made some space to get building. I used the simplest method to sharpen my plane, I just ran some wet and dry sandpaper under the tap and slapped it on a tile on the kitchen floor, then I used a protractor to eyeball a 25 degree angle and just ran the iron up and down the sandpaper by hand, holding the angle as best I could. The wet sandpaper held itself in place from the surface tension and the water provided lubrication too. I started with 240 grit, then 400, 800, and 2500, then did the same for a 30 degree secondary bevel. It didn't take long at all and I was soon making nice fine shavings that you could see your fingers through.

 

The legs are gluing at the moment and maybe I'll get around to gluing the stretchers in tomorrow. Then it's time to mortice a slot for the face vice and and a planing stop, and the job I'm least looking forward too, flattening the top...

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Taken on September 13, 2014