Sunday, February 05, 2006


A small workbench

I was supposed to give this workbench to my son for his first birthday last january 23rd, but was quite late. I have just finished it yesterday (feb the 5th). It is made mainly with Japanese tools (saws, chisels and planes), but I have also used some spokeshaves and drawknife.

The base is in chinese juniper (juniperus chinensis), which was very common in Taiwan during the Japanese occupation (up to until 50 years ago). This material was exported in large quantities to Japan, and is now protected in Taiwan. Old pieces can still be found here and there for an acceptable price. It has a very pleasant smell and planes well... if the grain is working with you. Otherwise you get tear outs, no matter how well your plane is tuned. Even with a scraper I got some tearouts.

The top is laminated pine.

The vise screw is in eucalyptus, found on a sidewalk after a typhoon hit Taiwan last september.

Ripping the juniper (I am here using a ryoba)

Tenons and mortises

Screw cutting from eucalyptus (diameter of screws 13mm or 1/2")

The top is screwed to the base with wooden screws. The screws holes is the only place where I've used an electric tool (drill press), mainly for the flat bottom holes.

Partial result: I still need to oil the top, and chamfer the clamp leg.

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