Skip to content

Building wooden things with hand tools

Published: at 07:00 PM

In 2020 as COVID hit, I picked up a 1/2” chisel, a handsaw, a rubber mallet, and a Home Depot bench plane.


This is a hastily-made workbench/work-from-home standing desk. The legs are 3.5” douglas fir and joined via mortise-and-tenon. The top surface is 1.5” thick fir. Half-finished:

To handle racking, there are three chunky sections of pine joined by cross laps to the legs of the bench.

I’ve been using this bench as the work surface for all my other projects. It’s also my daily work-from-home desk:

Shoe rack

I live with 3 other people and the shoe storage situation was becoming overcrowded. The fir scraps from the workbench make up the legs of this shoe rack. Everything else comes from scrap wood off the street.

TV stand

My roommate was about to throw away his desk. It’s one of those desks you buy off the internet — the legs are made of thin-walled aluminum, and the surface is OSB with veneer glued on (OSB is a composite of wood flakes glued and compressed together). He kindly gave it to me before it went to the dumpster.

The desk isn’t itself long enough to support our TV, and it’s supported by a welded frame that doesn’t lend itself to extending easily. Instead I’m using more 1.5” fir (there’s a sale on) and recycling some of the fasteners. We can’t do any reliable joinery with OSB (it just falls apart), so I made one long rip cut along the board’s length. That surface is a decent shelf, e.g. for holding a Baby Yoda: