Be sure wood is dry. Material from a job site or floor joists that existed in a crawlspace may have high moisture content; material from a conditioned space should be dry. Wood can be dried in a kiln (ask your local lumber mill) or stored inside through the winter. If time does not permit, stack wood in a hot dry place with 1" spacers between layers. Allow to dry for a minimum of two weeks.
With a collection of workshop tools--whether for construction jobs or for around the DIY house projects--it’s top priority to make sure all of your tools are in the best shape and are taken care of. Tools don’t come at a cheap price, so proper care is essential in order for them to last for a long time. Unfortunately, after much usage, wear, tear, and rusting of tools tend to happen. Luckily, at Bora Tools, we sell a vast variety of workshop accessories that are specific to cleaning and restoring needs. From waxes, polishes, rust removers, to covers, racks, and more, we have an abundance of products that are designed to keep your high-quality, expensive tools in prime condition all year round.
Be sure wood is dry. Material from a job site or floor joists that existed in a crawlspace may have high moisture content; material from a conditioned space should be dry. Wood can be dried in a kiln (ask your local lumber mill) or stored inside through the winter. If time does not permit, stack wood in a hot dry place with 1" spacers between layers. Allow to dry for a minimum of two weeks.
Before doing anything else, I measured the metal garden table to figure out what size the tabletop would need to be. With those dimensions in mind, I went hunting for scraps. Somewhere in my collection, I was able to find the right combination of 2×4 boards to cover the measured surface area. (Note: If you’ve got a large, motley assortment of wood, you might find it painstaking to cull the pile and piece together suitable boards. To make quicker work of the process, I suggest cutting a template out of cardboard and using it to test different arrangements.) For my part, starting with five 2×4 boards, all roughly the same length, I had to make just a handful of cuts with the circular saw to end up with exactly the right amount of material. In the above photo, those dozen smaller pieces may seem haphazardly strewn about, but when combined, they fit together perfectly to form a tabletop of the desired shape and size.
If planks are slightly cupped or twisted, have them planed at a local millwork shop or borrow a tabletop planer and tackle the job yourself. If planing yourself, first check planks for and remove nails and excess dirt*. Run planks though the planer, stripping a small amount of wood from each side as you plane. While the board is going through the planer, manually adjust the depth of the cut to compensate for irregular thickness (or twist) over the board’s length. You can hurt yourself or damage the board or planer if you do not manually adjust as you go. Keep running boards through the planer until the blade has lightly stripped each surface. Next, rip boards on a table saw to create straight edges; planks do not have to be identical in width.
We no longer have that problem because we picked up a set of Mag Shims from FastCap. Mag Shims are 1/8-in. magnetic spacers. If you need a blade height of 7/8 in., simply stack seven spacers, and raise the blade to match. They also work great for setting the depth on router bits and drill presses. We stick them right to the backside of the fence, so they’re always at hand and never get lost.

An assortment of chisels should be part of every workbench. Chisels are not just for wood carvers. Any woodworker will need chisels to clean out joints and saw cuts. Look for chisels made of high-alloy carbon steel or chromium-vanadium alloyed steel. Hardwood grips are best, especially if they have metal caps on them. This will keep the end of the handle from becoming malformed when you hammer on it.
A lot of woodworkers share their projects through their own blogs or YouTube channels. In fact, we’ve shared many of them here before, including, Woodworking for Mere Mortals, The Wood Whisperer, Matthias Wandel, April Wilkerson, Sawdust Girl, House of Wood, FixThisBuildThat, Pneumatic Addict, Build-Basic, Rogue Engineer, Her Tool Belt, and Ana White. The best YouTube woodworkers create great videos, but also provide a complete blog post with a cut list, tools, materials, and instructions. Find your favorites and save them for when you’re doing your searches.

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What makes this JCB Teleskid machine unique is it’s one-of-a-kind telescoping boom, which gives it the ability to reach a variety of places. The Teleskid’s telescoping boom gives you eight feet of outward reach. Plus, its one armed design gives you 60 percent more visibility than similar twin-armed machines. With a fully extended boom the Teleskid can lift up to 1600 pounds. With the boom retracted that weight capacity goes up to an impressive 3695 pounds. To find out more about the Teleskid from JCB, click here.
Some moisture meters have pins that penetrate the surface of the wood. This can leave tiny holes that mar the surface and require filling. Others are pin-less. They have sensing plates that scan the wood beneath. However, not all pinless moisture meters are the same – look for one that uses technology that is not affected by the surface moisture in the wood, such as Wagner Meters IntelliSense™ Technology Moisture Meters.
The Stanley 32050 FatMax Power Claw is a clever power strip built into a clamp. It can grab on to a stud, rafter, sawhorse or ladder. Hang it wherever you need power. This strip works great at keeping extension cord connections off the ground. That’s convenient, but it makes even more sense if you’re working outside on a wet surface. The Power Claw has three grounded outlets and a 15-amp breaker.
The engineering involved in building this garden bench is pretty simple, and we have provided some links to get a full cut list and plans with photos to help you along the way. Additionally, to the stock lumber, you will need wood screws, barrel locks, and hinges to complete the table. A miter saw or hand saw is also extremely helpful for cutting down your stock to the correct angle and length.
Touch ‘n Foam’s Gel Foam Subfloor Adhesive might make you want to chuck your caulking gun for good. It comes in a can and dispenses just like the spray-foam insulation everyone is familiar with. It lays down a bead way faster than tube adhesives but without the endless, wrist-busting trigger squeezing. And you’ll be able to keep working up to 10 times longer without stopping to reload. There’s no downtime due to wet or frozen lumber, and the can is reusable up to 15 days. To use Touch ‘n Foam Subfloor Adhesive, you’ll need an applicator gun (the same one used for expanding foam). There’s also a 46-in.-long barrel for the applicator gun that will save your back from a whole lot of bending over.

Woodworkers are a social bunch, and there are a few popular forums where people share thoughts on tools, discuss technique at length, and—of course—upload their plans. Some of the most active online woodworking communities include Lumberjocks, Woodworking Talk, Wood Magazine, WoodNet, Kreg, and Sawmill Creek. Search those to see if they have what you’re looking for (either with their built-in search tool or with Google’s site-specific search, e.g. site:lumberjocks.com side table).
Here’s an old woodworking adage I enjoy ignoring: “measure twice, cut once.” Honestly, I measure nonce and cut thrice. I often eyeball it. I use pieces I’ve already cut to measure what I need to cut. It’s not a great habit, but I prefer it to measuring everything. And the results usually aren’t that different. At least that’s what I tell myself. I ended up having to sand down the ends of the 2×12’s running the length of the table (where they meet the aprons) because they weren’t exactly the same length.
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