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.

Even with all of those faults my only regret is that it is too ugly. I didn’t take the time to make it more visually attractive as I was eager to get right into making beautiful furniture instead. Twenty years later the furniture is still beautiful (or not) but I go out to the shop and look at a drab uninspiring workplace. Yeah, nothing wrong with having a visually inspiring workplace in my opinion. All that shop furniture I slapped together years ago with no concern about aesthetics is getting replaced bit by bit. Why should my shop be downright ugly when it is one of my favorite places in the world to spend my time? I see no reason for that, but that’s just my opinion and as we all know everyone has their own one of those… Sadly, no one pays nor reveres me when I offer mine. bummer, I could be a rich egotistical maniac if they did coz I sure offer it enough. 😉
This is my first post here but been lurking for a while. I am currently working in a 10x14 shed which has sufficed nicely until my recent purchase (sunday) of a new Craftsman table saw model OR35505. This I discovered ate a lot of space but with some reorganization and some good casters, it's going to work. I did add a window AC unit and will need to figure out some heat but hoping to have built a better shop with HVAC before it's too cold.
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.
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.)
First, we need to drill out the holes for the screws that will hold them together. While the two layers of MDF are glued, the countertop and the MDF will only be screwed. The oak countertop, like any natural wood product, will expand and contract with humidity changes. If it were glued to the MDF, the difference in expansion of the two layers would cause the countertop to buckle and curl.
Then I flipped the top and the base, lied up the base in the proper location relative to the top, I then positioned the front vise and the support MDF for the end vise, and marked the locations of the bolt holes. Then I flipped the base right side up, drilled small pilot holes from the bottom side where I had marked the locations, and then drilled shallow countersink holes from each side, then a through hole that matched the bolts. Finally I tried out the bolts and washers, and deepened the countersinks until the heads of the bolts were just below flush.

With the Grain: A Craftsman’s Guide to Understanding Wood by Christian Becksvoort. A little knowledge about trees goes a long way toward improving your woodworking. You don’t need a degree in dendrology to build a desk. But you do need intimate knowledge of how our raw material grows and – more importantly – how it responds to its environment after it has been cut and dried.
We have more than sixty years of excellence (1956-present) with an annual enrollment of more than 1,000 students in over 35 different classes.  The Palomar College Cabinet and Furniture Technology program offers the most comprehensive woodworking career curriculum in the nation. Utilizing three fully-equipped shops, our 2 full-time and 20 part-time instructors provide a breadth of courses and depth of expertise impossible to obtain in smaller programs.
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.
Once you have all the clamps on, take off the scraps of hardboard. You can clean up the glue squeezeout with a damp rag.. When the glue is dry, trim down the strip flush with the panel using a router and a flush-trim bit. Then cut off the ends of the strip with a flush-cut saw, and clean up with a block plane, an edge scraper, or a sanding block. Leaving the ends in place while you route the edge helps support the router.
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.
Although many hand tool operations are thoroughly covered, this is a machine based woodworking experience. You will find the school finely equipped with four table saws, four jointers, three drill presses, three thickness planers, a wood lathe, full dust collection, bandsaws, jig saws and scroll saws, 5 routers and dozens of router jigs and accessories. There is a heavy focus on the safe and efficient use of the table saw starting with it's basic operation and going into advanced production procedures. We consider the table saw to be an essential machine for efficient, accurate, and safe woodworking.

The edges of MDF are fragile, easily crushed or torn. MDF is also notorious for absorbing water through these edges, causing the panels to swell. In Sam Allen's original design, he edged the MDF with 1/4" hardboard. This edging is one of the complexities that Asa Christiana left out in his simplified design. I think this was a mistake. MDF really needs some sort of protection, especially on the edges.


TOH has showed you how to make a toy chest with your kids before, but if you don't feel like cutting the wood yourself, opt for a kit like the one for this beautiful cherry chest. The kit comes with pre-cut pieces and all the hardware you need. Like many toy chests out there, the closed lid can also function as a bench seat, and the hinges are designed to prevent little fingers from getting caught. This model is available in three different finishes.
The Meridian 8 ft. x 10 ft. wood The Meridian 8 ft. x 10 ft. wood storage shed kit from Handy Home Products is pre-cut and easy to assemble with common household tools. It features 9 ft. peak wall height with treated engineered siding that prevents rot and is pre-primed and ready to paint (paint sold separately). The ...  More + Product Details Close
Had a great experience at the shop! My schedule is hectic and unfortunately can't make the classes, but I did do a private lesson with Bob.  In one afternoon, we created two cutting boards.  Bob was very detailed with breaking down the process and using the machines.  Honestly didn't expect to make two cutting boards but Bob was proficient with time.  I got really comfortable using the machines especially the table saw.  I learned how to use the planer, jointer, miter saw, table saw, drill press, router, disk sander, and random orbital sander.  Really recommend folks that are interested in woodworking with little to no experience to take the Safety Orientation and the Cutting Board class or private lessons.  Looking forward to my next project at the shop!

Build a shed yourself and use it as "on the job training." Those straw built sheds are rinky dink. The people who throw them together are even more sketchy than the finished product. You will be tearing it apart and hauling it out within a few years. Or end up having to reinforce the building with more braces and another layer of flooring. Thats my 99 cents. Its not hard to build a shed especially one of that size. Cowboy up and give it a shot.

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