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:
Remove the jaws and route the edges that you could not route while they were still attached. Then use a roundover bit on all of the corners except the inner edge of the inner jaw of the end vise. Give everything a lite sanding, and apply Danish oil to the inner surfaces of the jaws. (By "inner surfaces", I mean those surfaces that will not be accessible when the vises are assembled - the inner surface of the inner jaw, that bolts to the bench, and the outer surfaces of the outer jaws, that bolt to the vise plates.)
In this two day class we will reveal some of the secrets to tuning up a Japanese Hand Plane (Kanna) We will start with conditioning the Body of the Plane (DAI) to stabilize movement. Proper sharpening and grinding of the blade and chip breaker will be discussed and demonstrated. Custom fitting the blade to the Dai and conditioning the sole. We will...
You're not the first person to say this! I'm half inclined to use the Lowes shed as a starting point for my own design. But I do think I'd feel better if I could work as an "aprentice" next to an "old master". Someone at work is going to put me in touch with a guy who builds sheds for a living, and apparently he's competitive with the prices @ Lowes and HD. The Lowes shed comes with a "Handman Package" that I don't want but would end up paying for, anyway. The "workbenches" were laughably flimsy.
The holes we want to mark are the holes through which the threaded rod connecting the two legs will run. This threaded rod will run through the 3/8" groove along the bottom of the short stretchers,. The hole for the upper stretcher has to be positioned so that when the rod is running through this groove, the top of the short stretcher is even with the top of the legs. The most precise way I've found for marking the position of this hole is to use a dowel center. Fit the dowel center into the bottom groove, line up the stretcher, and bang on the end with a rubber mallet. The dowel center will leave a mark indicating the center of the hole.
Can you believe that this amazing wine rack the image below has been built using old wood pallets? Perhaps you can. Isn’t it wonderful that your old wood pallets can be reused to build something so beautiful and useful? I am not a drinker but I liked the idea so much that I just couldn’t resist making myself one. Although later I gifted it to my parents, who totally loved it.
WoodSkills and Norman Pirollo offer online woodworking classes, woodworking plans, video lectures and woodworking tutorials. The classes and courses provide detailed and comprehensive step by step sequences for woodworking skill-building. Each woodworking class and tutorial is based on actual furniture making expertise. As founder of  White Mountain Design , Refined Edge Design , WoodSkills and Pirollo Design, I bring to you two decades of knowledge in furniture making. In recent years, I have authored three woodworking books:
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.
Ok, I’ve had my morning coffee and now it’s about time to get out to the shop to see what I can do to make that bench a little more pleasing to my eye. I like that Craftsman flair idea. That was my intent at the time I built it, too bad I got lazy and rushed the job. It’s not like I was going to make hundreds of benches for someone else and would never see it again. I should have taken the time to make it the way I wanted it to look. This could keep me entertained for awhile. I see major surgery in the forecast! Gotta plan it all out just right.
Through demonstrations and practice you will learn how to build a Simple Table Top. Square wood using the Jointer, Planer and Table Saw, then learn how to use the Festool Domino Joiner to keep perfect registration during the glue up. This will be a group project where everyone will help build a single table top. The goal is to gain experience and confidence...
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.
Our programs prepare our students to open their own woodworking business or become employed by a high-end woodworking related business. We currently offer an Associate of Science Degree as well as a Certificate of Achievement in 8 different Program Areas. Students may also take coursework to complete a Certificate. Our courses range from Furniture Design and Instrument Making to Production Cabinetmaking.   Our graduates are highly employable with the diversity of courses available.
Palomar Community College in San Marcos, located about 35 miles north of San Diego, offers certificate, degree and life-long learning programs to more than 20,000 students a year. In particular, the Cabinetmaking and Furniture Technology Department offers in excess of 50 classes annually, and the present faculty is composed of four full-time teachers, 21 part-time instructors and 11 teaching assistants. As of Fall 2013, woodworking students will have access to a newly remodeled woodworking facility equipped with three machine rooms, three bench rooms, a saw mill and a finish room.
PS:  I saw that a recent review from Nicholas L. hinted that some people weren't welcome at the Community Woodshop. I can say with absolute certainty that everyone I've met has been welcomed with open arms and encouraged to participate at the woodshop. My class is a mix of genders and races, and nobody has experienced any difference in treatment from Bob or anyone else there. I truly can't imagine a situation where anyone would be treated any differently.
The Handy Home Products Berkley 10 ft. x The Handy Home Products Berkley 10 ft. x 10 ft. Wood Storage Building Kit with Floor is made with factory-primed SmartSide siding to resist fungal decay and wood-destroying insects. The Berkley’s gambrel style roof provides plenty of height to add a loft for extra storage space. The 6 ft. high ...  More + Product Details Close
In ancient times, the woodworker’s bench consisted of a plank or split log with four splayed legs. Descendants of those benches are manufactured today, usually with a top of hardwood slabs glued together. The norm nowadays is four straight legs supporting the bulk above, often with braces and a shelf below. Despite the improvements, the linkage to Greek and Roman antecedents is still evident.

I live in VA and my workshop is an unheated, uninsulated garage. I work out there year round, even when temps are below freezing. I can't say it's comfortable in the winter (or when it's 100 degrees with 95% humidity) but I haven't had any major issues. I have had some big box green wood warp on me after I built a couple bookshelves and brought them into the house, but that was more a factor of the green wood than my "shop".


With the inner jaw fastened to the bench, I used the router to flush-trim the jaw to the benchtop, across the top and down the sides adjacent to the top (stopping short of the discontinuity between the top and the legs). I'd thought this would be the best way to match up the jaw against the top, but I'd not do it this way again. It was very difficult to hold the router tight against the face of the jaw, and the result was a surface that wasn't as even as I had hoped.
You are absolutely right on your advise. When I was agonizing over how to build a workbench my good friend turned me on to your book on workbenches. I was planning on having an overhang until I read your advise about building a workbench and not a table. So the entire front and rear surfaces; top, legs and bottom shelf are all in the same plane to clamp my work to. The addition of a sliding dead man was also something that I would have never thought of on my own. Thanks again for your advise.
In 2006 Jonathan Schwennesen had an opportunity to begin an informal apprenticeship at the age of 17. He spent 4 years working as an apprentice in the Heritage School of Woodworking, learning the fundamental skills needed to build custom and speculative pieces of furniture. Next he began working for Homestead Heritage Furniture building custom furniture for different clients, gaining additional experience and knowledge making Windsor chairs, federal-style cabinets, clocks, workbenches, sleigh beds and even a waterwheel! It was during this time that he began to show an interest in teaching. Jonathan became a teacher’s assistant in 2009. He quickly began gaining the knowledge and skill to teach some classes himself. Now he spends most of his time working for the woodworking school. “My desire is to teach others an important aspect of life: working with your hands.”
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.  
When you're working with linseed oil, never -- I mean NEVER -- leave used rags lying around. Hang them up outside, away from anything combustible, and where there's enough air circulation to keep them cool. Or put them in a bucket of water, and hang them outside later. If you're just setting a rag down for the moment, set it out flat, without folds, on something non-flammable. Hanging outside in the breeze, the oil in the rags won't retain heat while they oxidize. For the oil to completely oxidize can take in a couple of days, if it's warm, or more than a week, if it's cold and rainy. When fully oxidized, the oil will be solid and the rags will be stiff. At that point, they're safe, and can be thrown in the trash. Toss them in the trash before that, and you might as well say goodbye to your garage.
I'm not kidding when I say that this shop has everything you need to make a project happen.  They are not only equipped but also some of the nicest people.  Supportive and, mostly, willing to help you with your project.  The idea is for you to do it on your own, but if you get stuck I have yet to see someone say, "no, figure it out on your own."  they are helpful and fair.  I love this place, and the people I have met there.

The last thing is to semi-permanently attach the bolts for the vises. Given the amount of work necessary to get to the bolt heads, once the top is joined, I had intended to tighten them up so they wouldn't spin, and lock them that way with blue Loctite. (That's the strongest non-permanent grade.) That didn't work. What I found was that the bottoms of the countersinks weren't quite flat, and when I tightened the nuts down that far, the ends of the bolts would be pulled far enough out of alignment that the vise bases would no longer fit. In order for the vises to fit over the bolts, I had to leave the nuts loose enough that the bolts had a bit of wiggle - which meant that they were almost loose enough for the bolts to spin. So I put Loctite on the nuts, to keep them from unscrewing, and filled the countersinks with Liquid Nails, in hopes of keeping the bolts from spinning. I considered using epoxy, or a metal-epoxy mix like JB Weld, but I didn't have enough of either on hand. It seems to be working for now, though the real test won't be until I have to take the vises off.
As you can see in the image, this shelf goes on both sides of the corner wall. It looks beautiful and can be used to organize books, trophies, pictures frames and many other things. The strength and design of the shelf depends on how properly you build it. First time workers definitely need some guidance to help them with the process. Therefore, I am including this basic video that I found on YouTube that demonstrates the process of making corner wall wooden shelves.

A couple nice qualities about this bench include the weight and vice capacities. The weight capacity of this bench is 330 pounds which is decent, though it will not wow you too much. The vice, on the other hand, provides a 7” capacity which is tied for the most on our list. That said, there is only a single vice, and it is not able to be repositioned. This can make things a bit frustrating for lefties as it is a right-handed configuration.


ALL Red Kits require planing and jointing of wood. Red Kits require the skill and tools to cut and make joints including panels. The woodworker needs to be able to cut, join, assemble and finish. Red Kits require the woodworker to be able to read the plans and to transfer images and dimensions from the plan to the lumber. It supplies all of the needed hand-selected, dimensioned lumber but woodworking knowledge and tools are recommended to be successful with Red Kits.
The Community Woodshop allows me to have access to a countless number of the best quality tools in the industry. They are always on top of keeping everything working and running.  If anything breaks they are always very proactive in fixing things ASAP.  They also have more than enough tools so I never have to wait to use a sander or any of the smaller tools, and I have never had to wait more than a few minutes to get on the table saw (and even that is rare).

If you bought this superb polished table in a store, it would cost you a fortune, but our detailed instructions will help you make one for less than $100. And it looks like highly polished stone, but no-one would know it’s actually made from concrete with a wooden base. Also, you can embellish the top with leaf prints, like the table shown here, or personalize it with glass or mosaic tiles or imprints of seashells.

Great advice. May I add #11?…if you’re left handed (like me), build a left handed bench. It sounds obvious, but when I made my bench, I had looked at all the pictures in my books, laid out plans for a nice, traditional bench, built it, then realized my front vise should have been on the other end (I have no tail vise). I plane from left to right, and the front vise is always in the way.

Practical Woodworking is a 50 hour comprehensive course that focuses on the necessary skills, tools, techniques, and safety to successfully enter the world of woodworking and furniture making. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced students learn about furniture design, construction, and finishing as well as wood behavior, hand tools, machines, milling from the rough, squaring, and joinery. It  is an intensive class for folks who want to continue woodworking in the future. It is a week of hard work with a lot of fun mixed in. Watch the video and read below for a more in-depth look at what we're all about.
Out of all the shed books I have read, this book stays by my side while I hammer in the yard. The book is well written by what appears to be a non professional book writer (A Good Thing). It reads as if you are getting advise in laymans terms from your neighbor "The Craftsman", a welcome change from the DIY books, that assume a level of expertese. The level of detail is high and discusses gotcha's, advise, and trade "secrets" that could have only come from years of personal experience building sheds.
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