Workbench Build: Preparing timber and dry fitting


Saturday found me at the asylum at exactly 10 looking for wood which could be used. To be honest I was not expecting to see any 4x4s. But I was confident that in a maker space I would be able to do some ‘jugaad’.
After about 15 minutes it became clear to me that jugad would get me nowhere and despondency set in. Now we would have to purchase the wood, and 12 feet of 4x4s does not come cheap.
This was when lady luck threw me a bone in the form of the most perfect, gorgeous pallet ever. OK fine, in hind sight it was a terrible sight, cracked, dusty and broken. But I was desperate. Vaibhav immediately asked for permission to "acquire" the pallet and joy of joys on closer examination it proved to be perfect, Everything I need was in that 5×6 foot pallet. (A pallet is a large wooden platform which is used to support heavy machinery, it is not great wood, definitely not furniture quality)
It took us the better part of 3 hours to break it down. 1 hammer, and some nice lengths of 2×2 teak were destroyed in the process 🙁 Not to mention the pain in the feet, arms, back, gluts and hamstring. What a workout.


After lunch we took all the wood to the ISDI wood shop where Mr. Fernandes had a look at it for nails etc.
This was the first time I was working with heavy machinery and I was excited. First the logs went over the planer. What takes me 3 hours to plane by hand was done in less than 15 seconds. The machine devoured entire 6 feet of 7 and a half inches of timber and spat out smooth, beautifully figured boards. Then the thicknesser, planed the other side and made both sides parallel. All the boards were prepared this way. I then got to work on marking the timber to size for cutting.
Imagine the scene. General Viren standing in the center of the field surrounded by his troops; planers, mortisers, table saws, bandsaws, scrollsaws and circular saw, giving orders. "Cross cut that to 5 feet", "Rip those 2 up to 5 inches", "make a central tennon of 1 inch on those". I was in heaven. Mr. Fernandes is an experienced hand at woodworking and the 2 of us with help from Kapil, Rahul, Sachin and Vaibhav, quickly reduced the timber to the size and shape we wanted.
All cuts were made inside the line (it is easier to remove material if the fit isnt right than to add material 😉 ), so we knew we had work with the chisel.
Going back to the asylum, we fit the legs together. Some material had to be chopped off as was expected and the legs finally took shape. 2 very solid and stong supports make the entire workbench look quite formidable.


During the week, we will be trying to get our hands on some 25mm ply, again this is not cheap, but we will have to get our hands on the dough somehow.
Work for this Saturday
1. mortise the 2.5 mm ply.
2. cut the dados in the side stretchers
3. cut the wedges
4. Assembly
5. Leap for joy at a job accomplished.


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