Raphael Berrios is one of our Foundations of Woodworking scholarship students in Spring 2016. He also took our Timber Frame Tiny Home course and brought home one of the structures to finish for himself (you can follow his progress on his blog!  Here’s what he had to say about what led him to PTSW, his experience so far, and thoughts for the future:
Stan Beckworth began his woodworking career in 1983. His wide experience in woodworking enables him to teach as a practicing master craftsman. He began woodworking because of a desire to work with his hands and pass some hand skills to his children. Some of the classes he teaches are the Finishing class, Relief Carving class, Foundational Classes and the Advanced Furniture courses, such as the Chest of Drawers and Rocking Chair classes. Stan has spent a lot of time learning about furniture finishes, as well as relief carving, studying with Mary May, a renowned woodcarver in South Carolina. When Stan isn’t teaching, he runs a small remodeling business at his home and builds and refinishes furniture for different clients. He has been commissioned to make furniture for several congressmen as well as refinishing furniture for past presidents. ”Being able to pass on practical skills that are useful for everyday application is what I love to do.”

Well, not these plans. You have the option of building a very functional and spacious lean-to shed on different foundations. Your foundation choices are: concrete slab, a wooden floor supported by concrete piers, or a wooden floor supported by skids. That lost option also means that your lean-to could be mobile as well so you won’t have to decide where you want to permanently put it.

An excellent introduction to woodworking is to use crates as your main material. The boxes are already formed, which means less assembly work for you—yet it looks impressive once your project is altogether. With this crate coffee table, you still get to practice your skills adding the casters and the center box. Finish with a little stain, and this table is ready to roll. You can find the full tutorial at DIY Vintage Chic. 


The description below is an outline for how the course will proceed.  We intentionally maintain a level of flexibility in our curriculum to adapt and respond to the needs of each group of students depending on aptitude.  Each project has a basic standard of completion as well as design opportunities for elaboration and exploration of more advanced techniques.   Our instructors will guide you through projects as is best suited for your ability level.   

This is probably one the easiest woodworking projects you will find here. Although easy, a doormat is an equally important and useful item for households. As you can see in the image below, you will only need some 2X2 wooden boards and rope to build a simple doormat. This doormat is mostly useful for outdoor and porch. It will easily remove all the mud from your shoes with just one wipe. It is also very easy to clean and looks fabulous even if it is dirty.


When we set out to design a new workbench for our customers, from the very beginning we decided it should, above all, be simple. We make no bones about it, our vises are designed and made to work sweetly, but not to a price point. However, not everyone is ready for a time-consuming bench build. For those looking to get their feet wet in traditional woodworking, using time-proven techniques and tools, this bench will provide all the workholding required to test the waters. For many, this will be all the bench you need, and for others it will be an excellent springboard to our Split Top Roubo, while keeping the Classic as a second bench. The bench features our Classic Leg Vise, Planing Stop and Crucible Holdfast as workholding devices. With a clever arrangement of our Planing Stop, Roubo’s Doe’s Foot and the Crucible Holdfast, you’re able to mimic the function of bench dogs and a tail vise, albeit in a more rudimentary manner.

This place is great! They offer safety classes before you sign up for a membership, and the workspace is big and well maintained. I needed some basic lessons with table and band saws, which went great. I didn't ultimately get a membership because my sawing needs are very specific, and ended up getting a small bandsaw for myself at home. But if you're someone who needs the whole range of tools, this is the place to be!
Another odd design feature of the Windsor Design is its dog holes. While this bench provides a variety of dog holes and even offers numerous pegs and dowels to go along with it, the dog holes are not spaced as closely or with as much variation as you see with many other benches. Ultimately, this means that smaller workpieces may not be able to use the dog holes and pegs as well.
For most of the course, we'll be heavily focused on developing your skills using hand tools. As a developing woodworker, there is no substitute for putting in the hours of direct hands on practice it takes to gain an intuitive understanding of wood. The early part of this course focuses on working with hand tools as we believe they bring you closer to wood as a material.  You can rip a board on a table saw with out much thought to the wood itself, but you will understand much more about grain if you rip a board with a hand saw.  As the course progresses, machine processes are introduced as a pragmatic aid in expediting projects.  
Who doesn’t want to have one awesome and handy wooden desk organizer that not only looks beautiful but can store all your mini office desk items properly? See the picture below. I am sure you will love this one. I have already built one myself as I just could not resist having one at my office. This thing easily stores all my office desk essentials, including pen, pencils, marker, small notebooks, etc. in the most organized way. You can see it yourself.
I'd decided on an oil-and-wax finish. Oil finishes are by no means the toughest. In fact, they're really rather pathetic, so far as protecting the wood goes. But they're easy to apply, and not even the toughest finish will stand up to the abuse that a workbench will suffer, so it's more important that it be easy to repair. Wax is usually used to add a high gloss. On a bench, it's there to keep glue from sticking.
Put the countertop on the base, put the MDF on top of the countertop, and line up the marks you drew on each end of the MDF with the countertop below it. When you have it lined up, clamp things down, and route the edge of the MDF using a 1-1/2" or longer flush-trim bit, with the depth adjusted so the bearing rides on the countertop. I clamped a couple of scraps of doubled MDF at each end to give the router base something extra to ride on at the ends.

A woodworker's workbench isn't a table, it's a work-holding system. It's not something you set things on top of, it's a tool that holds your work. Where a worktable might have a machinist's vise bolted to its top, a woodworker's bench is built to accommodate a number of different workholding mechanisms, such as bench dogs, planing stops, hold fasts, or board jacks, and will usually have one more woodworker's vises integrated into its structure.


My wife has given me the OK to buy a "Rancher"-style shed from Lowes and have it installed in the backyard. The discounted installed price will be about $2,600 and this includes the 12' x 8' structure along with a lot of upgrades (twin metal doors, a window, 2 skylights, storage, vents, etc.). I can save about $300 if I build it myself, but my skill level isn't there yet, so I'm going to pay Lowes to assemble it. (See Post #12 below for some photos of the shed and the space I have to work with.)
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