Workbench Day 5: Damn the blisters and full speed ahead!

As the title says, I just gritted my teeth and pushed ahead today.  I won’t say it was boring, because as you’ll see in the next paragraph, there was enough blood to keep it exciting.  But, I noticed today (see next paragraph again) that I can easily slip into “the zone” and totally lose track of what’s going on around me and just…I don’t know how to describe it, becoming the plane and being in the moment sound to new age/zen to me.  But everything seemed to flow with the rhythm of the swipe, lift up, pull back, put down, swipe, lift up, etc…very relaxing, yet tiring and sweaty at the same time.  That’s the kind of workout I enjoy!

Today was all about slugging it out.  I ended up smashing my knuckles against the wall stud I’m using as a brace when I was thinking ahead to the glue-up and not paying attention to how far I was reaching with the plane…then, I promptly sliced another finger on the sharp corner (how did that happen?) of the plank I was working on.

Just a flesh wound…

So, got a little bloody today, but, well, these things won’t plane themselves…

Great thing about today though, I sat and thought about what I was doing wrong (specifically about how I took so much material out of one of the planks yesterday), and how to fix it.  So, I resolved to just slow down and use a 3 foot long level to try and make sure I didn’t take too much off one spot.

You know what?  It took longer, in a way, because I was taking less off with each swipe, and therefore had to do more movements, but…as the wood came off in tiny (I hesitate to use the word “gossamer” like Roy Underhill, but darn it that’s what it reminded me of) little whisper thin curls, I had time to check my work with the level.  I ended up doing less work and getting it square faster!

Not bad for only 2 days experience at hand planing! And for the record, they really are flush with each other, it’s what they’re sitting on that’s not level…

I then realized I should just plane the faces of as many planks as I could until I got to one I could plane the edge and get it ready for the glue up.  Turns out, I got 5 pieces prepped for the circular saw and 2 planks ready for the glue.  That means I have 4 planks ready to glue (which is a major milestone as I plan to build the top out of 4-piece chunks, to keep things manageable!).

One section, ready for gluing…only 3 more to go…and they’re right underneath.

I’m over halfway with getting the planks planed on the faces.  I hope that with my new technique I’ll be able to speed things up a bit tomorrow.  Well,  I guess what I’m doing is not really a technique, but more like…I’m getting a better feel for the wood and a better realization of which way the grain runs.   And by the way, wow is it easier to go with the grain!!!

So what’s next?  More of the same!  Yay…  Tomorrow I’ll be able to prep the rest of the 2x4s (I hope) and maybe by Saturday, I can start cutting and gluing.  If (and that’s a big if) that schedule holds, by Saturday or Sunday I’ll begin work on the base while other parts dry!


About Steven M. Vaught

A native son of Delaware, now living in Illinois, Steven is a writer, family historian, amateur astronomer, sometimes-gardener, woodworker, father to three wonderful children, husband to a wonderful wife, and caretaker of one cheeky vizsla.
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One Response to Workbench Day 5: Damn the blisters and full speed ahead!

  1. D says:

    Looks like fun. Gonna be a good one. LOL

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