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.
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:
The bench I will be describing differs from both of these in a couple of areas, the most significant of which is the top. Allen's top was made from three layers of 3/4" medium density fiberboard (MDF), topped and edged with 1/4" hardboard. Christiana's top was just two layers of 3/4" MDF. My top is two layers of 3/4" MDF edged with 1/2" oak and topped by a 1-1/2" thick edge-glued oak Ikea countertop. My top is more expensive in both time and money than either Christiana's or Allen's. If you're looking to build something fast and cheap, I'd recommend Allen's approach over Christiana's. The hardboard significantly increases the durability of the top.
A shed is a great project to earn your sawdust legs on. It is just some very basic carpentry skills. You could build the whole thing with a circular saw, hammer, utility knife, pencil, and tape rule. Find a friend or relative that has some decent skills to help. You could do it in a weekend. Keep the size on a four foot increment to minimize wastee. I would recommend a 12 x 12 or a 12 x 16 if you can. If you don't want to cut any rafters (which is really a simple process), you can order small triangle shaped trusses for the roof from your local lumberyard. If you are using T1-11 for the sides, get the real plywood based stuff, no waferboard. Same thing for the floor, use plywood (treated if you like). Cedar for the trim, not pine. The visqueen underneath is a good idea. Insulate the walls inside to help temper temperature swings. Build overhanges into the roof all the way around, 12" is nice. These really are a fun project. You can add a small window with a flower box underneath to make it look a little homey too.
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.
For one, the bench itself is a good size. While its width as a tad short at just over 1 ½’, the length is a great 5’ long. Even better, this bench is made out of birch wood. Birchwood is similar to beech in that it is strong but soft enough to prevent inadvertent dulling of your tools. However, birch has a bit of an advantage over beech in that it is not a porous which makes staining on the Windsor Design a more worry-free affair.
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.
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There is a mandatory safety class you have to take where they walk you around the shop and make sure that you know how each major machine works and general shop safety. You also have to sign a waiver saying you are participating at your own risk. You DO NOT have to take that safety class if you are signing up for one of their classes. They will cover those basics during the class.
The right shed for your home will depend on your desired use. Utility bins are ideal for storing trashcans and recycling bins out of sight. Patriot sheds are ideal for sporting equipment, riding mowers, snowblowers, and other small vehicles and heavy tools. If you want a workshop with storage to spare, look into the Elite line of products. With creative small-space storage solutions, any one of our sheds can truly increase the usable space in your home.
The front edge of a woodworker’s bench is usually lined with square holes positioned at regular intervals. These holes hold bench dogs and holdfast clamps in place for securing work pieces. Beneath the top of the bench, some cabinetmaker models feature single storage drawers, others several drawers and even cupboards incorporated into a case-like base.
In the middle third of the course, you’ll build a tool tote that features dovetails joining bottom-to-end boards; rabbeted and copper-nail pinned side boards; shaped end panels and curved handles passing through angled mortises. This joiner’s tote also features a lift-out box for layout tools with lapped (or optionally dovetailed) corners and a sliding lid.
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 Classic Workbench is simple to use. The leg vise is used primarily for working the edges of boards and the ends of narrower boards. This is self explanatory. To work the faces of boards along the grain, tap up the planing stop (don’t make it any higher than necessary) and butt the end of the board into the teeth of the stop. With the right technique you can plane across wide boards without repositioning the board. You usually don’t need to tap the opposite end of the board to engage it with the stop, but in some cases, especially with rougher stock, you may need to give a tap with your mallet. Working the faces of a stack of boards is extremely quick with the planing stop since you don’t have to open and close a vise constantly. To work across the face of a board, make yourself a doe’s foot and position it at the back corner of the board, holding it down with a holdfast. The doe’s foot is simply a piece of wood with a V-shaped notch cut into one end. The bottomsurface of the doe’s foot can be lined with sandpaper or Crubber to help it stay put on the bench top. To work long boards, fasten a batten to the right leg with a holdfast and use that to support the end of the long board. We’ve found that a deadman is not necessary for the majority of work, especially on a bench of this length. For working the ends of smaller boards the leg vise can be used, but for precision work like dovetailing, we use and recommend our Moxon Vise.
The course successfully meets the needs of multiple experience levels in a safe, well equipped, spacious, congenial, and educational environment. All instruction and lab experience is under the personal direction of master woodworkers as well as one or two additional experienced woodworkers/teacher assistants who are on hand during all lab hours providing roughly a three-to-one student-to-instructor ratio. Intermediate to more advanced students should not be put off by the fact that beginners are also included in this course. Check out some of the work done by our alumni in the Alumni Furniture Gallery to get an idea of what our students are capable of.