Monday, March 24, 2014

Hand Saw Bench

   This morning, once I cleaned up the shop from the weekend's boat* production I began a larger project for myself/my shop.  About this time last year my shop work went off the rails with a serious back injury, and to get working at all I created raised tables to sit on top of my desk, and benches.  Standing very straight enabled me to get back to work with reduced pain.  High standing desks work OK, my computer desk is 48 inches off the floor. A work bench for carving, or using a Dremel tool that is that high off the floor is OK too, but it is no good for any sort of large scale work.  I don't know about you but I am not comfortable with real power tools that close to my face.

  The project I began is morning was a saw bench, a saw bench is traditionally used with hand saws and is designed to be used alone, were as 'saw horses' are used in pairs.  The bench will be about 23 inches off the floor 32 inches long  with a broad stance for stability.  

  My inspiration for this project is Tom Fidgen's latest book:

  I have both of his books and recommend them highly.  Hand tools have an important place in my shop but, my shop remains a hy-bred with both power and hand tools used on nearly all projects.  My saw bench will be used with all sort of saws, jig and circular saws need a solid, stable, reliable platform upon which to work just as much as a handsaw does.

   As with so many things that I make I am only using the plan as a guideline.  

  Tom's bench has a very good design, I think and the idea that one sent of legs is vertical while the other is splayed out is genius.  The top boards on my bench are 1 1/2 inch spruce rather than hard wood, I had some stud lumber and I know that it will get beat up and so will need replacing.

  The legs are going to be made from 2 inch poplar that is left over from previous projects.  I find that some poplar can be very heavy, straight grained and dense making it a useful, low cost 'hard wood'. 


    In the next blog I will show a hy-bred technique that I used to rip the poplar board down from 9 inches to 6 before it was planned.

cheers, ianw

* Kieran was here on the weekend and he collected a bundle of off cuts in the shop that we turned into two river barges and a submarine.  He did some cutting with a small hand saw and used the cordless drill to help me drill holes.  Kieran also has begun driving nails, he likes screws and nails better than glue, glue takes too long. I think he has wood worker genes in there some place.

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