Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My New Workbench

No doubt Chris Schwarz will want to include plans for this natural-edged workbench in the updated, revised version of his book, Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.*

In the interim, here are detailed instructions on how to build one:

1. Keep an eye on the neighbor lady’s tree that’s about to be toppled.
2. After the tree has been felled and sawn, casually walk your dogs by her house to inspect the logs.
3. Just “happen by” as her strapping young son-in-law is chopping up the logs for firewood and inquire about the largest part of the trunk.
4. Be nice, and the strapping young son-in-law just might wheel your new workbench home for you on a dolly.

Why the new workbench? Because I found Robin Wood’s website. Robin is a woodturner and maker of treenware. On his site, he posts video tutorials on how he makes his spoons, while sitting in his living room, and using a tree stump as a work surface. What fun! To start with a log, use an axe to rough out the shape, and finish with carving tools and knives is something I’ve always wanted to try.

I have only made one kitchen utensil, a pasta rake, which works surprisingly well. It’s made of cherry and is finished with olive oil. There is something “right” about using wooden utensils and I can’t wait to use my new workbench to make more. I just need to find another neighbor who is planning to cut down a tree so I can “happen upon” some logs.

*If you have not read Chris’ book and are thinking of building a new or upgrading an existing workbench (or are just looking for a fantastic read), do yourself a favor and purchase a copy. His book is replete with valuable information on building workbenches, choosing lumber, making bench jigs, and the whys and hows that aren’t found in other workbench books.