I'm working on my first of two workbenches.
The first is for practice and is made of pine using the Veritas design
with the tool tray in the center of two slabs.
The second will be made of maple and the same design.
I have two slabs of 11" by 70" and 2" thick. The slabs are laminated
so I need to trim them and square them up.
The tops have been hand planed and are in very good shape. I just
need to get these slabs squared up on the sides before screwing
them to the tool tray and battens and attaching the skirts.
What is the best tool a hobbyist can use to cut these slabs?
I'm especially interested in getting the 70" rip cuts straight.
The tablesaw is out for me. Mine is too small to make the
cuts safely or accurately. I was planning on using a circular saw
but thought a jigsaw might be in the running. I don't own a
jigsaw but will buy one if it will give the best results. I can
certainly make use of it later.
The tool used has to be for a hobbyist, so a two thousand dollar tool
is out of the question. I also want to make the cuts myself and don't
want to take the slabs to a shop where they will cut them.
Some sort of saw guide should do the trick. Lot of folks make them. Just
buy something. Or make one. I have used the edge of MDF or aluminum angle.
There are many variations on a saw guide. Just look at google.
A straightedge and circular saw will do a fine job. The jigsaw would never
make it (though if you were thinking of getting one, get a good one, it will
be a frequently used tool for curves, inside cutouts, ect).
Taking that to it's logical end, why not just buy a bench and not worry
about it? Then you could just hire someone to do the woodworking for you.
Why work that hard? No reason to do it yourself if you can pay someone else
Not necessarily. I've made a few tabletops. I could use my ROS and
eventually get the top sanded. However, my local lumber place has a drum
sander and sands the top for $8. We all rely on outside people for various
facets of our woodworking. For the OP, I don't think it's that hard to do
what he wants himself, but I wouldn't take it to the "logical" end you did.
So could I but I don't. Wrong tool for the job. My ROS has never had
anything courser than 180 grit on it. Any need to remove more than that
should be met with a cutting tool.
> However, my local lumber place has a drum
Realy? Tell me then, when was the last time I sent something out?
For the OP, I don't think it's that hard to do
Neither do I. His question was how he should do it himself, not who to send
it to. A circular saw and straightedge will do a fine job of it.
You'll see that I didn't say you send anything out. I said you rely on
outside people. Oh, wait. I get it. You forged the steel for your planes,
right? You cut your own saw blades from steel blanks and cement carbides on
the teeth. The point is, we all pay people for stuff to help us make other
stuff, in varying degrees. I wouldn't question the OP's craftsmanship if he
chose to have a shop square up the sides of his benches, although I'd think
it was unncessary.
In fact, he specifically said he didn't want to sent it out, IIRC.
Personally, I'd add a router and flush trim bit to the end of your list for
the final trim.
So you make any tool that you are capable of making? You've never bought
something that given enough time you could have made yourself? If that's
true, then bravo. Otherwise, it's just another end of the same stick.
You must have a really high end power saw or a pretty meager tablesaw then.
If most power saws were with good blades were capable of cutting as well as
a tablesaw, a lot fewer people would own tablesaws.
Not at all. I would rather be building furniture than hand planing workbench
tops. I recently built a bench exactly how I wanted it. After I finished the
base, I was ready to buy the maple and glue up the top. I walked into The
Cutting Edge one day and they had a 72" long top for less money than the
maple was going to cost me. I bought it, installed it, put a front apron on
it, and I had a bench that was ready to go, and it is perfectly flat.
I immediately started a quartersawn white oak rocking chair of my own design
on my new bench. OBTW, when I buy my wood, I normally get it smooth two
sides and one edge. It saves me a lot of labor in stock preparation, and I
don't feel compromised at all when the piece is finished.
I'll post pictures of the chair soon and let you judge if my time is better
spent making a chair or hand planing a workbench top. :-)
If I were to cut the top, I would use my Porter Cable circular saw and a
Sometimes I'd like to do that, but don't feel I can afford to. We don't all
have an endless supply of money for these things. I probably started
building stuff when I was a kid because I didn't have any money to buy the
things I wanted. Turns out I enjoy the design/build process so I've kept
Everyone's different. Try my glasses on for proof.
I reflected on what you said and here's what I learned about me: When life
is going well I seem to get the most satisfaction out of finishing a
project. Arriving and being at the destination improves my sense of well
being. However when life is not going so well, finishing a project is no
help at all. Yet going down to the workshop, manually sharpening my tools
then hand planing a piece of scrap down to a pile of shavings does me a
world of good. My situation might not have improved much, but I'm more
likely to feel a lot better about it. In that case, it's the journey that
counts, and it doesn't matter at all where I end up.
- Owen -
We probably are not far apart with our wood working. I have spent a lot of
time sharpening and making shavings. I have bench grinders, but only use
them when I get an Ebay chisel that has to be reworked. I use Eazy Laps when
I'm working on a project.
Conceiving and executing a project is where my satisfaction lies. My work
has a lot of flaws, but the friends and family that get the pieces don't
seem to mind. My work is probably 25-30 per cent machine work and the rest
is hand work. I have a Leigh jig, but I cut dovetails by hand, I have
routers, but I do most of my mortises with a chisel and mallet.
I just don't care to rip a 72" long, 2" thick bench top when I have to spend
more for the wood than for a completed top. My three previous benches were
all yellow pine and done by hand.
>What is the best tool a hobbyist can use to cut these slabs?
>I'm especially interested in getting the 70" rip cuts straight.
Head to your local top shop.
Let tham take a pass with the 48" drum sander, then cut it to size.
SFWIW, my guy has at least a 12" table saw with a power feed.
Probably typical of most places.
Will give you a real pro trim.
you might be able find a community college woodworking classroom that would
let you cut the slabs yourself on one of there tablesaws. that way You use
the right tool and do the work your self and maybe meet some good people.I
live near Baltimore and there are two community colleges that will allow
this type of thing.
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