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 don't see anywhere you mentioned the over all length of the bench top. A piece of 1 1/2" x 25" x 8' glued edge oak at Lumber Liquidators costs $192 including tax. Two piece is almost $400! Would that be better if I use two IKEA 1 1/4" x 25" x 74" solid Beech ($99 each plus tax) on top of a layer of 3/4" Birch plywood. That would be 3 1/4" over all.
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.  
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.)

Once you start spreading glue, you have maybe five minutes to get the two panels mated, aligned, and clamped together. So make sure you have everything on-hand, and you're not gong to be interrupted. Start squeezing out the glue on one MDF panel, and spreading it around in a thin, even coating, making sure you leave no bare areas. Then do the same to the other MDF panel. Then pick up the bottom panel and flip it over onto the upper panel. Slide it around some to make sure the glue is spread evenly, then line up one corner and drive in a screw. Line up the opposite corner and drive in a screw there. Clamp all four corners to your flat surface, then start driving the rest of the screws, in a spiral pattern from the center.


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...
Our stationary equipment runs the complete range from heavy-duty industrial machines, to inexpensive home shop type of tooling so that each student can compare and contrast the range and versatility of equipment at a wide variety of price points.  We spend time on what makes a good machine good, an adequate one adequate, and a lousy machine worthless. We have no commercial sponsors and will share our opinions based on our experiences regarding the quality of one manufacturer over another.  There is no better place to kick the tires on a variety of equipment than at our shop.     
In each Practical Woodworking Class, the daily mix consists of intensive lecture, demonstration, and student practice lab time.  Lecture periods are interactive, informative, and intensive but are also an enjoyable experience.  Generally, each joinery and fabrication process is demonstrated in several ways to reach or achieve the same results.  For example, processes are first demonstrated with the use of hand tools. Next, the same joint or procedure is done with simple hand held power tools (such as the router). Then, the entire process is demonstrated with stationary equipment such as the table saw, drill press, and mortiser. Students choose whichever production method works best for them and is in keeping with their plan to equip a home workshop and/or around their existing home tooling.

One you have the vise jaws shaped so that the vise moves freely, mark and drill holes in the fixed jaw for the bolts that will hold it to the bench. With these drilled, reassemble the vise and mark the location of the holes with an awl. Disassemble the vise and drill the holes through the stretcher, then reassemble the vise and bolt the inner jaw in place.
This is another example of small woodwork projects that require good time and woodworking skills. This item is built using multiple wooden parts. Each part is shaped in a specific design and then all parts are attached together to make the final TV set. I have never tried building this one, mostly because I don’t own an iPhone, but also because making this item is not an easy task. By the way, it works fine with all kinds of phones.

Windsor Design is an interesting brand in that it is not actually its own company. Instead, Windsor Design is one of the in-house brands sold by Harbor Freight. While it may be a store brand, that should not dissuade you at all as Harbor Freight is known for selling some of the best products available for all fields of construction. Granted, this may not strictly be the best table available, but it does provide a solid mix of features to make it a good value.
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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