Sunday, March 28, 2010


I decided to commence construction of the top - that way I can throw it up on a pair of sawhorses to get the glue-ups complete. The top will then serve as a work surface during the construction of the legs and stretchers.

Since the top will be flattened using hand planes, it is imperative that the grain direction of all the boards forming the lamination run in the same direction. This afternoon I set about determining the grain direction of each board by planing in what looked to be the correct direction and then checking for tear-out. I also measured the MC of each board and recorded the result on each board. It will be interesting to see how this changes over the next week.

The Rain Forest. The boards lying on the floor will become the top. The lumber in the background will become the legs and stretchers

Here you can better see the grain direction as I have marked them on the individual boards

Next weekend I will begin planing and truing the boards to size. The top will be in the order of 1,600 by 600 x 100 - so I expect handling it to be somewhat of a challenge - another good reason to complete the top first.


I finally took myself off to the local lumberyard and bought what seems like a small rain forest worth of wood for my Roubo bench.

There are a number of challenges that I'm going to facing - not least of which is going to be the lack of space in my garage. Today was spent re-arranging the shop in order to accomplish two important tasks: create enough space to work in - this will be the biggest project I have tackled thus far; and create enough space for the bench when it is completed! I started by ripping out a bench that the previous homeowner had built some forty years ago and bolted to the wall. It has served me well thus far as a place to dump "stuff" that had no permanent home. Today it was relieved of this duty, and has now found a new home in a waste skip.

Of course, the next obstacle I faced was the fact that storage space is at a premium. I'm firm in my resolve though to construct my bench! Storage solutions will follow - built on my new bench!

I am a little puzzled as to the moisture content of the lumber. I don't want to start assembly without the lumber having had a chance to equilibrate with the environment. The "rain forest" measured between 13% and 15% MC. But so too did the wood from the old bench. Do I assume that the rain forest is in equilibrium? This is hardly likely considering it has spent only 24 hours in the garage. The question though is how long do I leave it in anticipation of a reduction in the MC? Other samples taken from varies species of wood that have been in the garage for at least 6months vary between 12% and 14%. I'm probably going to start machining stock next weekend, so it will be interesting to see what results are obtained then.

Photo's will follow with the next posting. Today was just too much of a messy affair to bother with the camera!