Hand Tools Archive


Joseph Piotrowski
while i toil away on my $129 harbor freight bench to learn what i don't know.. i spent the last year researching benches. buying books, learning who builds them and what people actually use.

basically the only thing i have not seen used is basswood. there are only 2 kinds of benches. ones that are fine woodworking and ones you pound on.

i have seen some that are works of art that just floor me at how nice they are and i see 2x4 benches being used by craftsman. even a few store bought ones pop up in pictures.

so basically it comes down to your preference. i have noting against all the walnut, hard maple and cherry benches I've seen. if you want to feel inspired by your bench, 2x4 are not for you. if you plan to abuse it, screw things to it, etc. fancy wood isn't required.

my personal take:

i want to get the cheapest, flattest, thickest most stable wood i can get. it will work! i'm happy to build a 2x pine bench top but if i see some cheap walnut like you describing, i'm all over it! i'm actually considering a popular top because i saw some 12/4 12"wide boards. that would be great for a split top.. no glue ups, i could flatted it on day and have a bench!

i believe shop fixtures should be cheap and fast to make. money is finite and id rather make stuff with the best wood i can find, not my bench. now if you'll excuse me, ill go make a post about a premium chisel i didn't need to buy but did :)

p.s how cheap ?

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