It all started with a book.

I had gotten a new book from the library on woodworking.  I didn’t know what it was really about but I got it because it was 1) new and 2) about woodworking.  You never know when something interesting will present itself.

This particular one, though, was a great deal about fretwork.  In this time, this is accomplished by using a scrollsaw, though in times past, a fretsaw (which looks like an extremely deep-throated coping saw) was used.  At any rate, my wife was leafing through the book and talking about how fun this all looked.  It didn’t require any grunt work, no sweating over a scrub plane or labouring behind a ripsaw.  And it was like playing with stencils and like using her sewing machine and…

Well, we got what the library had on scrollsaw work and she devoured it, talking constantly about how cute these things were and such.  But how would she get a saw?  It was expensive and we didn’t have any room.

Christmas came, and to her surprise the jolly old elf had left a very large and heavy box under the tree…

This was a big hit, with much jumping and squealing.  But it was only part of the problem.  See, the scroll saw (which is a pretty large chunk of machinery to shoehorn into my garage) needed a bench to sit on, one that would be rigid enough to withstand the vibrations the machine put out.  And she didn’t have one!  Now she had a saw, but nowhere to put it and now what?!

Well, you may have guessed at this point that part of my bit was to construct a workbench for her.  Actually, the first part was to make some room in my very crowded garage, but then I had a bench to build.  I thought about it, and decided to make one that was similar to a Roubo.  But I didn’t have funds to procure much at this point.  So I settled on using Douglas Fir 4×4’s throughout.  They are strong, easily worked, and inexpensive…ish.

The first bit was to laminate together a solid benchtop.  This was six pieces of timber.  There’s a lot of jointing going on at this point, and a lot of marking, as you want to make certain that all the grain is oriented in the same direction, and don’t want to get the pieces mixed up.  Gluing all those pieces together proved once again that you can never have too many clamps.


There’s a lot of work that followed, because that entire slab of wood (it’s 4′ long and 20″ wide) had to be trued along the bottom.  I sharpened my jack and jointer planes and got to work…and work…and work.  Tune in next time and you’ll see what happens once that was finally done.