There is a fairly significant amount of tree on my garage floor right now:
She's a beaut, ain't she? I just got back from Carlton's with a roof rack loaded with these pieces. I've been thinking about building a new workbench for some time now and was finally able to pull the trigger. The left-most piece is 8/4 maple for the legs and stretchers. The middle two pieces are 4/4 maple for the apron and tool tray. The right piece is a big old slab of sycamore felled 10 years ago in Blue Ridge, Ga. It's a little over 2" thick, pretty punky, rather irregular, and not exactly what one would call flat. In other words, the top of this bench might be a bit of a challenge.
Here's the cut plan:
The far end and the right side (with the "arm" sticking out") will be scrapped and used for odds and ends. The middle section will be the primary tabletop and then there will be a tool tray between the middle and left side sections. I'm going to leave the waney edge on the left side because A) this will be the back side of the bench so it doesn't really need to be straight, and B) who doesn't love a little bark on a functional piece? I know I certainly do.
Here we have an "in progress" shot of the top.
I'm working with my #4 smooting plane here, because that's the best I have for the job right now. I just won a jack plane (#5 1/2 Stanley) and a jointer plane (#7 Stanley) on eBay and hopefully they will be arriving soon. They will also provide a good opportunity for a post on how I tune up planes. If the above photo was a video with sound you'd hear the #4 muttering "I ain't made for this $#!T," which is certainly true.
Those last two pics really highlight the spalting that's going on with this sycamore. The wood is definitely softer in those areas but Richard at Carlton's showed me a product that he claims will actually harden the wood...we shall see. It's Minwax Wood Hardener and it's marketed to people who would prefer to salvage their rotten porch steps than replace them. That's noble, I suppose. Richard showed me a sample of wood he had hardened and while I didn't test it's hardness, I will say that I was satisfied with its appearance. It slightly darkened the wood, but it still looked pretty good. I think I'll try the stuff out once everything starts coming together.
Ryan Adams influence?: