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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am just now getting serious about woodworking and buying new tools and material for my garage wood shop with each paycheck. I have a bench I made crudely for my shed a few years ago, and now am planning to make a decent size and decent quality work bench. I have a plan and will be using 4x4's, 2x6's, plywood and hardboard. Unfortunately I'm kind of limited to wood selection to whatever HD and lowes carries and my budget. Any suggestion on the type of wood I should use? Most of the stuff in those sizes are cedar, southern yellow pine and white wood. Any suggestions on which I should go with?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I definitely will select it carefully. It is frustrating buying wood at home depot though. Most of their stuff is chewed up with knots, cracks or isn't straight. They had all of their 1x2x8's of syp on Clarence for a buck then dropped to .50 I probably spent 2 hours going through the entire inventory picking out all the pieces that looked good. I think I got about 20-25 pieces to make a ton of 4x6, 5x7 and 8x10 picture frames. Most of their 2x's though look like trash
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
railaw said:
Taking advice from Chris Schwartz (if you haven't had a look at his most recent book, workbenches, from design and theory to construction and use, it's worth a look. I borrowed it from the library and found it quite helpful), I bought a 2x12x16 since these tend to have fewer defects, and I picked up one with the heartwood in the center of the board, so when I rip it out, I will have two "quarter sawn" 2x4's that at least in theory will be much more stable. I am actually planning to do the ripping tonight with my circ saw and a straight edge guide I had made out of mdf and lanolin.

I had made some sawhorses out if 2x4's I spent a long time selecting at hd, only to have them move so much after drying/acclimating to my basement that the whole exercise was somewhat pointless.

Some food for thought in your selection/planning.
Thanks I'll check out that book. I may try to find a lumber yard instead of HD for wood. I've been extremely disappointed in their wood selection
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
BernieL said:
The two basic ingredients for a good bench is flat and stable. Stability can be achieved with massive weight or by securing the bench to the floor and or wall. Flat... you have a few options here offered by HD. My original bench was an old solid core door and after abusing it for 12 years, I covered it with bamboo flooring from HD. The flooring was about $60 per box and I used half the box for my 30 X 80 bench. A good sheet of their plywood can also serve as a flat surface.

The bamboo flooring is great for a workbench surface. I can glue up my projects and any glue that oozes out will not stick to the flooring's finish. I can stain and paint on the bench because these will not penetrate the finish and clean up is easy.

Of course I added a few things to my bench to make it easy to work with. It's extremely versatile and a pleasure to work with. Take a look at it if you want http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/versatile-small-shop-work-bench-unique-40361/

As for setting up shop and buying tools - don't buy until you need that specific tool. Try to buy good quality tools and "used" is not a bad option if the tool is in good condition and priced right! Good luck and post pictures of the shop. We love pictures...

I tend to check the "introduction" forum and haven't seen you post about yourself. Please do introduce yourself there so we can WELCOME you to our forum - the best on the web...
I like what you did with yours. I am planning on a heavy bench that can be taken apart incase I move. Instead of just using wood screws I'm going to drill holes and use bolts washers and hex nuts. The table top will be 3/4 plywood and 1/4 hardboard on top to make it smooth. Do you think I should buy the pressure treated wood? I don't know a lot about wood and still kind of studying all that. Kind of wondering if the pressure treated stuff will last longer and be less likely to warp and crack. I do plan to sand it all down and either put a satin or semi gloss poly finish. The 4 legs will be 4x4 I'll have 2x6's around the top on the outside of the 4x4 legs and maybe even the inside. The bottom will 2x4 or 2x6 supports on the inside of the legs and I'll deck it with plywood for storage of tools. My shop isn't big I am very limited in space. The garage was made into an extra room before we moved in and then converted and split in half one half being a room with the laundry facility and the other a garage with French wooden doors. Makes it ok cause I can open the doors for more space for ripping plywood etc. I am working on making it a wood shop but have to do it one step at a time due to finances. Won't be anything fancy but will work
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As you can see I have a bunch of work to do but it's piecing together. Give it a year or two and it will a decent shop. I am ready for it to be done though. I have a bunch of project I want to do and learn but have to wait until I have the right tools and setup. Right now I am making some stuff and made a website and online store to sell some of my stuff and I'll use that money to keep funding my projects. I would like to get into making fancy custom jewelry boxes some out of exotic wood and perfect that art and sell them on my website. I'll get there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
These pics I just went back there and took. The others are from two-3 weeks ago so you can see how much stuff I've added in just a couple weeks lol I'm also thinking I'll build a small table with cabinet on casters for my router table
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
cps said:
I got Schwartz’s book “Workbench Design Book: The Art & Philosophy of Building Better Benches”, which is a follow up to “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use”. I have learned a lot reading this book. It also has plans for nine benches.
Video Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1440310408/ref=oh_details_o08_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

FYI, I plan on using Yellow Southern Pine as I don’t have a cheap source of hardwood here.
I'll definitely check out that book. Glad to know I'm not the only one having to use syp lol. It may be fine if I find some good pieces of stock. Thinking about getting the pressure treated stuff
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
cps said:
Also, for what it is worth, Schwarz claims the SYP will get very hard as the resins set up.
Oh ok. So go with the syp untreated? I was wanting to put some kind of finish on it. The top won't need it because it will be plywood and hardboard but I would like to sand and finish the legs and 2x6's any suggestions on what type of finish I should go with or should I just sand and leave it unfinished
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
cps said:
Danish oil is what Schwarz uses in the book. He also made his own version of the Danish oil, but I think I am just going to get the Watco Danish Oil. Minwax Antique Oil is what the Bench Crafted guys recommend.

I think I am going to build a version of the Split Top Roubo that Bench Crafted designed, but do it in SYP and cheaper vise configurations. They have a 3D drawing you can down load for free. The SYP would be less than 200 dollars for this project.

http://benchcrafted.com/str.html
Nice. You can't beat that price. I want to see pics when you make yours. I'm also wanting to put a vice on the depth end of the table and one on the left side of the long end
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
cps said:
Will do...It may be a while as I am saving up for a planer first. There are a couple of build threads in the Project Showcase that are building similar benches.

Here is one:

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/workbench-build-54471/
I thought about waiting for the planer but I have the cash for the material so I kind of want to do it now. I did find some hand planers that weren't too pricey. I really want the big rigid or dewalt planer but it will be a while until I have 500 bucks. I'm kind of hoping to be able to just sand it down well enough that it looks good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
BernieL said:
Like CPS said - pt wood is wet and it will dry and it will warp and it will split...

I like Danish oil and it should be fine - but consider spar varnish. You have time to decide so look around and make a good decision you'll be happy with.

CPS - you mentioned a split top bench - if you decide that is what you want - take a look at Chris Curl's bench here on woodworking talk.com He modified the same version bench you mentioned. Look at his and link to him if you have questions. He's a nice guy and I'm sure he would be willing to help you. Here is his bench http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/swiss-army-knife-workbenches-51807/

Good luck to you both...
Thanks Bernie
I will definitely take both of your advice and stay away from the pressure treated stuff. Man I just found out my bolts alone for my plan will cost 54 bucks! Makes me want to just use wood screws. I'll probably still bolt it. Just might have to build the frame first and put the top on later. I probably won't make the finish too fancy. If I do I'll be OCD about keeping it clean and working on it. Want it to look good but not so good I'm afraid to work on it and nasty it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
cps said:
I am going to laminate the wood, so I really want a flat surface. I have laminated 1x S4S before without too much trouble, but 2x may be more of an issue if there is any cupping. This is the reason I am waiting on the planer. I have a few other small projects I am going to work on in the meantime.
That sounds cool. I've never done that before but would enjoy learning how to. I'm doing the plywood and hard board on top. I'm thinking that will make it pretty flat without having to work any wood. I would like to have a wooden top for looks but thought this might be a little easier and if the hard board gets jacked up over the years I can just replace it do you think the plywood and hard board top should give me a pretty flat surface?
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Oh also does anyone do rabbeting joints? Until I buy it make a good finger joint jig I think I'll go with the rabbeting. My question about rabbeting is about the router blades. I think I have a small one but most of the wood I'll use is 1in, 3/4 and 1/4 in thickness. Do I buy the bit size the same size as the thickness as the wood? Or can I use a straight bit that is the same size as the wood thickness and just run the edges. What do you guys recommend or what advice can you give me. I have to get away from butt joints. Getting tired of them and I think rabbeting looks better and fits better until I can start making finger joints of course
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Gilgaron said:
When I've routed rabbets I routed it on its face with multiple passes rather than route it on end as you describe. So I just use a straight bit of whatever size and then make passes until I'm done. Can also be done on a table saw.

You may find Video Link: http://www.amazon.com/Joint-Book-Complete-Guide-Joinery/dp/0785822275useful. It has multiple joint types and describes how to use either power or hand tools to accomplish them.
Thanks that answered my question. Wasn't sure if I needed to spend the cash on rabbeting bits or if my straight bits will do fine. I actually just bought a table saw so haven't done much with it yet but plan to get a dado set and start learning that
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
railaw said:
That was the book I read - the newer one. Def. worth reading. It's what prompted me to get the Douglas Fir boards, as SYP is not cheap around here and I learned how stiff the stuff really is.
How good are fir boards? That stuff is dirt cheap here. Syp isn't expensive here but it's not exactly cheap either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
railaw said:
Well after reading the book I did some looking at the various properties of wood and learned a little bit about the Janka hardness scale as well as the stiffness of wood (there are some other properties that are measured in various ways as well). Depending on the species of SYP, Doug Fir is nearly as hard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janka_hardness_test, and quite stiff http://www.woodworkweb.com/woodwork-topics/wood/146-wood-strengths.html. If I had my druthers I'd use hard maple or ash for aesthetic reasons but its just too expensive.

The book talks a lot about moisture content, which seems quite important, and is very practical.
Pretty interesting stuff
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
KTP said:
If you're looking to go cheap, I can vouch for fir. Built a bench last winter with 4x4 Doug fir legs and stretchers. They had 8 footers at Home Depot for like 12 bucks. I found enough good ones in about 15 minutes. Its a bit light, but I spent less than $100 on the frame.
That's not bad. I'm actually at HD now and found some syp 4x4 for 12 and will need to buy two not too bad
 
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