Workbench: Day 16

While preparing to apply the initial oil finish on the top yesterday, I got to thinking about how to smooth the surface. I didn’t want the ultra-smooth finish from a handplane because it might cause work to slip around.

Then I remembered how most people smooth stuff: sandpaper. Hey, I happened to have a bit of that, so I lightly hand-sanded with 360, then 600 grit paper. The effect was just what I wanted: a top that’s smooth, but not slick.

Finally, it was time to apply the oil. Looking at the surface made me glad that they had the beech top in stock.

A photo like this doesn’t do justice to how nice this wood looks. The reddish board is the classic steamed beech color. It got me thinking of why I wanted to take up woodworking in the first place. So I feel all encouraged. And stuff.

To bore the dog holes, I picked up a 3/4″ auger bit–new, unfortunately. There were two in stock, and one looked just my 3/8″ bit from the factory: cutting edges that look like sofas. The other one was a little better, so I bought that one and didn’t even bother to try it until I had touched it up with the auger bit file. It seems to work fine, though of course, it requires a lot more muscle to put a hole through wood than the smaller bit.

Incidentally, this test hole (done in a Douglas Fir 2×4) was the first time I used my new bench. I clamped the board to the top, letting part of it overhang.

My improvised Workmate® dogs from several months ago will work for my new workbench, because they are made from 3/4″ dowels. However, I want to cut faces in them for a slightly better grip. Also, several of them may not be optimally long, but that’s no big deal. I still have lots of the dowel stock left.

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