Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Making my bench lighter

Yes I know we always strive to make workbenches as heavy as we can but just have a think about this:
Everytime we flatten our benches we remove stock to do so. Stock in the form of shavings has mass. Hence we make the bench have less mass!
Anyway in my email inbox today was one from Megan Fitzpatrick from Popular Woodworking. Apparently they were having problems with the electronic distribution of Oct 2013 edition so she sent me the url of where I could download it.
In the magazine was an interesting letter from a reader and a reply from Megan asking how to flatten a workbench. This set me thinking:

  • How long have I had my commercially bought workbench? - 5 years or so
  • When did you last flatten it? - Er never!

I looked at it and the front and rear aprons had warped slightly making the bench concave from edge to edge. End to end was still relatively straight and there wasn't any twist (using my winding sticks to make sure). The storing of it outside in the yard last autumn (in a tent) while my shop was being rebuilt had soaked up humidity from the air and it hadn't been too kind to the bench.

As I'm nearing completion of the baritone guitar and it has now left the shop to go inside to my studio for tweaking I thought I would spend 10 to 20 minutes flattening my bench with the Veritas bevel up jointer.
Sure enough it did only take 20 minutes with a final light cleaning pass followed by a very light pass of my #4.
The bench being flattened
with a Veritas BU Jointer

A big pile of shavings.
This probably weighs about
1 pound

Flattened benchtop awaiting Danish Oil

I was rewarded with a flat bench. The question now is - why didn't I do it before? It really was quick to do the jointer making light work of the beech top. Two coats of an exterior Danish oil and I'll be all set to go for the next project. But that's another story.

No comments:

Post a Comment