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Happy bench building folks. I hope you make it your own and not worry too much about what someone else thinks it should be. Use the rules as a guideline, they have validity, but make it your own in the end. If the rules fit you that’s great, if they don’t quite fit you then make it to fit yourself. It’s you using it, not some guy making a nice living off of telling you how he thinks you should do it. One size does not fit all. Never has, never will.
I marked the holes by putting a dowel center in the end of a long piece of 1" dowel. Run it through the holes in the base plate, and bang on its end with a mallet. Rotate it a bit and bang it again, and repeat. Odds are the dowel center won't be precisely in the center of the dowel, so you'll be making a small ring of marks. The center of the hole is, of course, the center of that ring.
This Vermont Farmhouse by Real Good Toys is as pretty as the real thing. And if the seven-room home isn't big enough for the serial renovator in your kid, the site also sells additions that add two rooms to either end of the house. Just like the homes old-house lovers hope to own, this farmhouse comes with real wood shingles, wood floors, interior crown molding and a spacious porch.
Thanks Chris! I found this page while looking for a link to your e-mail address. I recently finished your erudite volumes on workbench design, and am about to embark on my own bench inspired by your take on the Holtzapffel design. As my vices and planer arrive, I’ve been agonizing over whether to use SYP or rough maple for the top. I don’t have a big budget, so all-maple is not an option. But after reading your ten tips here, I’ll stop agonizing — all SYP it is! This is, after all, my first of what I hope are at least several handmade benches. Your scholarship and craftsmanship are truly inspiring.
I never, ever, ever bother to write these things. But, I am so incredibly impressed with this product, that I feel compelled to. My six year old daughter LOVES IT, as does my almost four year old daughter. The hammer is just the right size, and it comes with enough pre-cut (good quality) wood for many projects. So far, they have made a house, car, and a plane-- all of which are far more aesthetically pleasing (to me, as a mom) than the plethora of junky plastic toys that seem to fill our home. We've used these projects both as math lessons (measuring the wood, counting the nails needed, learning about angles, reviewing shapes) and during arts & crafts time; but, with just a little creativity, they could be incorporated into just about any learning subject. For the amount of enjoyment we have received, thus far, this product is already worth the money spent, and we have several more projects to go! We will be buying another for little sister's upcoming birthday, most definitely.
Another aspect that might irk some buyers is the fact that the capacity of this bench is less than great outside of weight. The top’s surface area is a bit on the smaller end, though its length is more in line with larger models. The width though is less than two feet which can limit some projects. Similarly, the vice capacity is the second smallest on our list at 4 ½”, though this too can be modded with optional additions.
There is a mandatory safety class you have to take where they walk you around the shop and make sure that you know how each major machine works and general shop safety. You also have to sign a waiver saying you are participating at your own risk. You DO NOT have to take that safety class if you are signing up for one of their classes. They will cover those basics during the class.
So far, I really like the space. I signed up for a 3 month stint and hopefully will have some things to show for it. For my background, I took shop for 3 years in high school. I've always enjoyed working with wood but never had the space for it. I'm not a master craftsman but there are some really talented people there creating some nice pieces. All levels are welcome here.
Timberframing is a traditional technique for building large and small structures using only wooden joinery. Prized for its structural integrity and beauty, as well as reliance on hand skills, timberframing is regaining popularity in modern applications. We will start with an overview of the different styles and aesthetics involved, and move into the specific tools that are used to lay out and cut the strong joints. Each student gets guided practice time making sample joints. We will all work together to make a small structure that can be raised on the final day of class.
You don’t need a fully equipped shop to enjoy woodworking! In this class, you will learn to design, make, and finish a unique wood box. With an emphasis on tool safety and material exploration, we will use a combination of power tools and hand tools to make boxes of all shapes and sizes. Beginning with a solid block of wood, you will learn how to lay out, cut, sculpt, and reassemble the block into the form of a box. Demonstrated techniques will include hidden hinges, small drawers, pull knobs, and fitted lids, as well as texturing, carving, burning, painting, and finishing. Suitable for beginning and intermediate students, all materials provided.
Something like this really does look like it would be a fun project. I guess I need to go out to the yard and use some stakes and brightly colored taped to mark off some different dimensions (12x8, 12x10, 12x12, etc.) to figure out just how big I can make this thing. If I'm building it myself, it'll be easy to keep the height right at the 9 foot limit.

AJ and Scott have been very helpful showing me where tools are my first few days there. This is a workshop where you will have to work independently. They will show you how to use certain machines for the first time and orient you to the shop itself but they will not help you with your project.  They can, however, be hired to help you with projects if that's what you need. I believe it's $75 an hour and limited to their availability. There is also a host of classes you can take if you want an intro into cabinet making, wood joining, turning etc. There are a lot of different classes that may pique your interests.
I had a similar experience with running electrical power to a shed. It turned out that I could build a 12x12 shed without a building permit as long as I did not run utilities, but getting a permit opened a whole new set of requirements that forbid me from having a shed at all. And when the nosey old woman next to me kept calling the building inspector on me, it was suggested that I could run an extension cord out to the shed anytime I wanted as long as it wasn’t fastened in a permanent manner.
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