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i heart pine.

January 13, 2014

Alright, so I’m finally able to carve enough free time out of my schedule to line up a few projects I want to tackle this year. The primary goal is to get my shop fully set up.

When it comes to our woodworking, I imagine we all have different dreams. Some want the latest tool, whether it is a cabinet saw with finger-saving technology or a made-in-the-USA handplane built to the highest standards, while others have an empty house they want to fill with things they’ve made themselves.

My woodworking dreams are maybe a little unusual.  I dream about walking into a shop, bench clear and tools away. I quickly get to work, spending a few free hours on whatever project I have at hand. The cat sits off to one side, batting a curl of walnut shaving around when she gets bored with trying to get treats out of me. Then I put everything back in place before sweeping up and hitting the lights on the way out the door. The next time I get a few hours of shop time, I walk into the shop and pick up right where I left off without having to search through benches and shelves, looking for whatever tool it is I need.

In my dream, everything is nice and orderly. I can bring my 3-year-old son down to watch me work, even help me with a project, without being overtly concerned about his safety because I don’t have crap laying around everywhere. I dream of peace, calm, and serenity – someplace I can go that helps me reduce stress and frustration, not add to it.

Go big or go home, right? Well, let’s start with the heart of the shop and build my new workbench. Late last year, I stopped by fellow woodworker Scott Wunder’s shop/local lumber paradise to sort through some reclaimed heart pine beams he had in stock.


Antique heart pine, not quite fully reclaimed…

Ooooh!  I heart reclaimed heart pine! He agreed to bring it all down to the same thickness before I took delivery, which I did this past weekend…


The top is on the bottom, the stretchers are on top, and the legs are in the back…

It isn’t quite ready for gluing up, though. One of the beams has a few (5) nails in it that broke off during the nail extraction process. I could try and work around them and/or bury them in the top, but I’m going to dig them out, instead. Some of the edges of the pieces I’ve selected for the top (the five boards set edge-to-edge towards the front) need a bit of jointing before they will come together properly, as well.

Honestly, it isn’t the prettiest wood. It has lots of character, to put it nicely, but that comes with working reclaimed lumber, right? I don’t mind if it’s a little rough on the legs or the stretchers or underneath the top, but I will probably end up chopping out a few of the spots that will interfere with a clean, flat bench top and inlay some dutchman patches. If anything, I can always use the additional inlay practice!

The end result should be a top that is about 3″ thick, 20″ or so wide, and just around 7′ long. That sounds rather nice…

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2014 5:41 pm

    When that would is finished it’ going to look awesome. I love the reclaimed pine it has great character.


  2. January 13, 2014 7:07 pm

    Looks like your well on your way. I always think the hardest part to building a bench is getting the wood. Since benches take more wood than most other projects one builds.
    Is there a particular “style” of bench you are shooting for?
    Look forward to seeing the progress and the finished bench.


    • January 13, 2014 8:08 pm

      TBCHWY, I haven’t thought it completely through. Figured getting the wood in the workshop was a pretty big step! 🙂 I’ll probably pass out when I get those edges jointed and glued up, I’ll be so excited!

      I’d like to put a benchcrafted on the face and… Maybe nothing on the end?

      On the other hand, I don’t currently own a Benchcrafted and I do happen to own two vintage Record vices (a 52ED and a 52 1/2D). Installing one of then, probably with an oversized chop, would be easier and cheaper.

      So… Chunky and cheap. Maybe I’ll call it a Reuben-esque bench? 😉


  3. January 13, 2014 8:42 pm

    A method I use to remove nails. Works best on a drill press, use a piece of tubing(steel, brass, (even copper will work)with I.D. a little larger than the nail. Some suggest filing teeth, l don’t. Friction alone will work, basically you burn the wood around the nail. The nail will stay in the tube when you reach full depth, just pinch it out, drill for a plug or cover wit a Dutchman. Whatever you use, should be as straight as possible!


    • January 13, 2014 10:01 pm

      I’ll certainly give that a try for the two that I think are straight in. Unfortunately, several nails are going in at odd angles – the nature of barnwood! Not sure I’ll be able to use that technique for the rest.


  4. January 13, 2014 8:54 pm

    I also wear a kilt, l find it very comfortable, in the shop and while shopping, SWMBO isn’t.
    I always get positive comments.


    • January 14, 2014 12:13 pm

      Ah, great to hear, Paul! The best is when you’re around people where it isn’t a novelty and just something else you’re wearing because its comfortable.

      I like my tartan kilt for when I’m dressing up. It looks smart with a white shirt and my tweed jacket (that I got for a steal, which makes it all that much better). But when i’m in the shop, I prefer the additional freedom I get with my non-traditional Utilikilt. It sits on the hips instead of higher around the waist and that’s much easier to move around in.


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