Hi, I'm thinking of taking up woodworking as a hobby. I have a relatively small space to dedicate -- 10x11x8 or so, in my basement. I want to make small furniture, maybe up to and including replacing my kitchen table, down the line once I've learned some things.
My level of experience: I have taken a class where I learned the basics of power-dimensioning, sharpening and using chisels, making dovetail joints, and some basic wood-turning. At one point in the past I did also build a workbench with an MDF top using metal fasteners, but that was mostly just cutting things to length and then screwing them together. So I am very
inexperienced, but I have some basic grasp of the mechanics of how things are supposed to work.
That in mind: one of the generic piece of advice you get (from YouTube videos) is to build your own workbench as your first project. As recently as a day ago, I was entertaining this notion. Once I had settled on a plan, I would order S4S boards in maple or birch and build a bench out of that. The benchtop would be face-joined 2x4s, and the frame would be joined using mortise and tenon joints, since that's what most of the tutorials seem to use.
However, I spoke to my father, who has much more experience than me, and he said that while it's not impossible that I would be able to accomplish this, lacking anything to work on would make the job much harder. Also, he told me just because boards are "S4S" from the lumber yard does not mean they are sufficiently flat to face-join. He told me that I would probably have to work pretty hard to get the boards joinable, and then without any flat reference surface, I might have significant trouble gluing up a flat benchtop. Cutting the mortise and tenon joints would also be a challenge with nothing to secure the work-pieces.
Well, my dad's a pretty smart guy, and he is also vastly more experience than me. But I thought I would just double-check what knowledgeable folks on the internet think. Would it be wise for someone with my level of experience to attempt to build their own workbench, bearing in mind that I currently have no work surface to work on? If I should try anyway, could you point me to any resources for bootstrapping from nothing to workbench? Do I start off by building some saw horses or what? Or is something like this simple bench guide
the right place to start?
Or should I just buy a workbench from some reputable manufacturer? For example, something like this
, use it for a while, and then eventually, once I've gained some experience and learned about my likes and dislikes, build a bench of my own?