Friday, December 14, 2012

Workbench beginnings

Its been a whirlwind of a Fall (and now Winter) and things seem to be changing quickly.  I've gotten some shop time worked in here and there between my job and spending time with my wife and kids.  My shop (aka- half of the garage) is quickly transforming as I continue to acquire tools.  The next tool that I need to get into gear is my workbench.  I last left you with the very early stages of the planning and assembly of the top.  My top is essentially two slabs of butcher block table that I glued together.  It is going to be perfect- very heavy, and fairly flat.

Once I had my two pieces that I intended to sandwich together, I drilled pilot holes.  I only have a handful of clamps so I would need to use another method.  Chris Schwarz showed a method of drilling and using screws as 'clamps'.
When the glue dried and everything was solid, I removed all of the screws and there I had it- my slab!  I bought some 1X4 maple boards to glue on as a skirt and make it look like one solid butcher block.

The legs ended up being a slightly different story.  I was having a terribly difficult time finding anything that would work out for legs.  Finally I ended up at the BORG store and special ordered a 12ft 6X6 untreated pine beam.  It's going to work out OK, but not ideal.  It's the exact heart of the tree so I have concerns about it's stability.  

I got the beam cut into my 4 legs and it's in the basement drying out a bit more now.  It was definitely still green.  Up next of my list will be to cut the mortise and tenons for the legs and get it all assembled so I can attach the hardware and start to use it!  

I've also got two projects for customers that I just signed today so I need to get rolling.  The workbench will be on hold until I can get those cranked out.  I hope to get them out the door by Christmas.  This week has brought me a lot of positive luck.  I began advertising my woodworking and the first two customers signed orders.  They are both fairly small scale but I'm going to get my name out in the area and hope that this continues to be positive!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Friend Named Roubo: Workbench thoughts and design

Over the last 6 years since I first owned a home, I have acquired an abundance of tools. I’ve always had more tools than the average bear, however when you buy a home that’s a ‘fixer-up-er’ there are going to be MANY times when you don’t have the right tool and your father doesn’t either. I managed to get my hands on the regulars like a circular saw, drills, sanders, hammers, and screwdrivers but also a few more advanced tools like a table saw, router, and some handplanes off of EBay. After ripping out walls, installing new cabinets and flooring, and gutting a bathroom I quickly decided that wasn’t the woodworking I wanted to do. I want to build stuff. I want to build furniture- fine furniture. Maybe someday I’ll be good enough at it where I can sell some and make a living, but for now I’m just trying to learn the basics. What better of a way to learn then to build the largest, most useful tool I might ever own…The Roubo.

My first real project. Nothing this large has been built in my shop (aka- one stall of my garage) before. I plan to do it as genuine as I can- but on a budget. The top will be a butcher block table that I managed to score from my brother after helping him turn his rental property over one weekend. It’s a bit rough, but will get cleaned up a lot as I flatten it and have it repurposed. The table is 36” X 60” and about 1.5” thick. A while back I saw this blog post buy The Schwarz showing how to make a bench top out of two sandwiched pieces of butcher block. That was it….that would be my top. My plan is to rip the table lengthwise, sandwich the two pieces giving me a slab coming in somewhere around 18 X 60. Final dimensions will depend on waste and also the skirt and endcaps that I end up adding.
I’ve been thinking about what I was going to do for the legs. Recently I was out with my Sister-in-law at her grandfathers old farm. They were tearing down the barn that was 100+ years old and unsafe. She had some interest in saving some doors and beams to have some furniture built to preserve the fond memories that she had from there. In exchange for offering to build the furniture for her, I was graciously allowed to pick through the pile and take whatever I wanted. The company that paid to take it down had already picked out what they could use and would be burning the rest. (To be honest- I wish I had a week off of work to sort through it all as there was some beautiful wood in there). I managed to score a few nice beams. They have some dry rot in them so I’m not sure how much of it will be useful. We’ll know more on that this Fall.

As far as work holding goes, I had a couple good scores on ebay. First I managed to get a 20” long walnut 2.5” wooden screw for my leg vise for VERY cheap. It was a part of an old book press and I think it will work perfectly for me. I also managed to find (what I think is) an old Sheldon quick-release vise that I will use as an end-vise. I’m not totally sure if it’s a Sheldon but it looks and operates EXACTLY the same. The book press came with a nice 18” X 6” slab that I will use for the chop on the tail-vise. I’m still not sure what I’ll be using for the chop on the leg-vise yet.

So- there we have it. I know I have hefty plans but it will be a great learning experience and I hope to develop and hone a lot of old and new skills. Stay tuned for more- I’m headed out to the shop now to see if the glue is dry on the top.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Welcome to my blog!  As a small business owner specializing in custom carpentry I am lucky to be located in Minnesota.  With the abundance of tree varieties and an ever growing trend to reuse and reclaim wood, I am among one of the best areas to find the products you need for your project.

I have spent a large part of my life working with wood.  Starting at age 4 I helped my father build a deck on my childhood home.  Since then I've been hooked on the beauty of wood and the life it can add to any space.  Creating wood solutions for any space or use is my specialty.  I will spend the time with you reviewing your project and space to determine the best design to maximize the functionality, utility, and elegance.  There is nothing more perfect for any space than the natural art that our world creates.  I hand pick all of my materials to ensure that your product flows perfectly and highlights the beauty in the wood.

Contact me today for a free quote and consultation!