Thanks! Great information. As an advanced novice worker, I finally decided to build my first bench a couple years ago. After reading several of your blogs knowing full well mortised dove tale leg joinery is yet beyond my capability, I elected to build Robert Lang’s “21st Century Workbench”. I also chose his VERITAS Twin Screw Vise in the face vise position. Used an old Craftsman face vise in the tail vise position. Constructed of laminated 9/4 x 31/2″ Pecan and 60″ long because of my small crowed shop. Super happy to this point. As I mature in woodworking I may live to construct one of a different choice at a latter date, but I’m 73 so we’ll see. Thanks again for the advise.


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.
Though the preschool had been using the woodworking shop for storage, not realizing its historic value, it’s still in remarkably good shape. The woodworking benches and tables are still in excellent condition. According to Garrison, the shop is filled with clues as to how it was used. Some benches were covered in paint while others bear saw marks, testifying to the variety of tasks that were performed there.

Remember those fire safety tips you used to get in grade school, about the dangers of oily rags? It was linseed oil they were talking about. All oily rags are dangerously flammable. Linseed oil will self-combust. Linseed oil doesn't evaporate, it oxidizes. The oxidization generates heat, and the increased temperature increases the rate of oxidation.

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.
Applying the oil is easy. Put on some vinyl gloves, pour some oil in a bowl, take a piece of clean cotton cloth the size of washcloth or smaller, dip it in the oil, and apply it to the wood. You want the wood to be wet., you're not trying to rub it in until it's dry. Apply oil to the entire surface, and then go over it looking for dry spots, applying more oil as needed. After fifteen minutes of keeping it wet, let it sit for another fifteen minutes. Then apply another coat of oil, and let it sit for another fifteen minutes.
The jaw for the front vise needed to be 10" long - to span the distance from the leg to the end of the top, 1-1/2" thick - to allow for benchdog holes to be drilled in it, and 5" tall. The end vise was mounted 3/4" lower than the front vise, and the screw and guide rods were thicker, so its jaws needed to be at least 6-1/2" tall. Again, they needed to be 1-1/2" thick to allow for benchdog holes, and 23" long to span the width of the bench.

This class is open to novice woodworkers and to more experienced woodworkers who would like to broaden (or simplify) their approach to woodworking. What do we mean by novice? We think it means you are a person who has decided to commit to learning new skills; to growing a passion for the craft of working with wood; and has a strong sense of the limitations of your own knowledge.

I ended up making a number of practice cuts. The first revealed that I hadn't tightened the screws on the edge guide enough. The second revealed that the design of the edge guide provided very little support at the end of a board, because of the cut-out for the router bit. In the "Getting Started in Woodworking" video, they had screwed a piece of hardwood to the edge-guide, to provide a continuous -- and longer -- bearing surface. I may do that myself, some day, but I didn't have the materials at hand, so I clamped some 2x4 scrap to the end of each board, to provide a continuous bearing surface past the ends. The two grooves in the long stretchers and the side groove in the short stretchers have identical layout. I made practice cuts in scrap until I had the edge guide set correctly, then I cut them all with that one setting. The bottom groove of the short stretchers uses a different setup, so it was back to the scrap, before cutting them.
Assemble the vises, for the final time. You'll not be taking them off again, so tighten everything down, and attach the endplate to the ends of the screw and guide rods. Then mark and drill benchdog holes in the outer jaws inline with the benchdog holes in the top. Generally, through-holes are preferred for benchdogs, so that they don't collect sawdust and gunk. With these vises, that isn't possible, there are screws and guide rods in the way. I drilled them just deep enough to hold a Veritas Bench Pony (their reduced-height benchdog), without it sinking to where I can't get a grip to remove it. Rockler sells some very inexpensive plastic benchdogs that can't be adjusted for height, and aren't as strong as metal or wooden dogs, that I intend to keep in the holes full-time, to keep sawdust from collecting in them.
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.

My advice? Don't do this. If you have jointer and a planer, use them. If you don't, seriously consider using dimensional lumber that has already been planed and sanded. If you are going to try to clean up construction lumber by hand, using a hand plane is a lot faster and more pleasant than using a belt sander. Except, of course, that to do a good job of planing a board you need a solid bench to hold the board, and you don't have a bench, yet.


Whether you want to build your own kitchen cabinets, a credenza for your dining room, or built in shelves for your bedroom you should have some basic cabinetry skills before getting started. There are so many options when designing and building cabinets: face frame vs. frameless; sliding vs. hinged doors; dovetails vs. rabbets; plywood vs. MDF; wood...
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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