Friday 11 November 2016

Start of the new workbench

Well it all started back here a few years ago...

Now I have seen and worked with a few workbenches in my time.
Every year at college on the fine craft degree you would be assigned a new workbench.
I would start the year by planing it perfectly flat, squaring the vice jaws
and screwing my tool box inside the workbench.

Now I have never been able to afford a new workbench.
But I have paid for a few books on how to make them.
So up to now I have made a few and always for specific functions.

For example:
Holding my lathe in a narrow outbuilding,
For my wife to wedge clay on,
For sharpening...

What I want now is a planing bench.
Yes I am tempted by a Japanese planing bench and even had the wood cut and ready to make one!
Now that is dedication to the idea of completing a project.
But I never did make it - not even sure what happened to those lovely planks now...
Seriously where did they go? Oh yes outdoor benches...

So I thought what do I have access to?
Well some old school workbenches obtained very cheaply and made from
very well seasoned 50mm thick beech.I used to have so many 
of these lying around without a home.
A book by Robert Ingham which really inspired me with his MDF top
(yes I really did say I loved the idea of a MDF top because
I really am tired of planing the bench down every year when it moves)
Also what is more stable that I have access to?
Robert Ingham does know a thing a two about making stuff properly.

Incidentally Alan Peters was very particular about planing benches.
He was the external examiner for my year group at College.
Steve Hopper who runs the Furniture course at Bridgwater college 
used to work for Alan making his furniture.
A legend he was.

So my plan is to cut up some old workbenches and 
create something for planing on, but that is about all I hope.

I like sawing and planing by hand.
Would never use a circular saw, funny that.

So how stable will a 50mm thick MDF layer on top of 50mm of seasoned beech be?
Seriously I have no idea but I am going to give it a go.
Also I intend it to be reversible so any problems the 50mm top 
can be flipped over or changed.
I have the idea it will slot into a 50mm thick beech frame.
I can then work on having a full width planing stop.

One at each end - always been a dream of mine.
A push stop and a pull stop.
Western / Eastern.


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