That's the impression one gets from many of the online woodworking resources. I mean, it's common sense, to some degree; in order to work wood, one needs a surface on which to work it. Add to that the obvious need for holding work in place and the stability, resistance, and longevity afforded by a beefy workbench -- not to mention the learning experience and the rite of passage the project represents -- and it's a no-brainer: the Woodworker must build a workbench.
Of course, as I began to research workbenches, I quickly started to fret about whether I'd ever be able to build one that wouldn't embarrass me given that I can't afford a huge pile of 8/4 maple. Much to my relief, though, I came to find plenty of skilled woodworkers who had built their workbenches from construction-grade lumber, so I was able to assuage my self consciousness.
|Pieces cut to rough length and width|
The bench design I mentioned above also cut a crucial corner: instead of cutting mortises for each joint, the second layer of lumber was cut into shorter segments in order to create notches in the legs to accept the stretchers. Rather than cut a dozen mortises, I decided to use that technique. In the picture, you can see what I mean.
|Gluing up a leg|
Once the legs were completed, I discovered that I had, oddly, neglected to make the final crosscut on the long pieces of two legs (below, marked with blue tape). Good thing I decided to stand them up together!
Next up: the four mortise-and-tenon joints I decided must happen.