I’m building my second bench. I built the first years ago with wood from old machinery pallets – mostly oak and maple. Mortised the legs into the base, and pegged ’em with 1″ dowels. Of course, the legs warped a bit, but that made everything tighter and stronger. The top is 2″ thick Ash, one board cut in half and joined side to side. Wrapped a maple apron around the top, and I think I screwed the top from underneath to the leg braces. Solid. Over time, built a cabinet under for 3 drawers and a small cabinet door. Works for me.

This course will drill deep into the basics, beginning with a firm foundation in understanding wood as a material and incorporates introductory training in a wide range of techniques. You'll leave with a in depth experience of hand tools, practice applications of joinery methods, consider choices for wood selection and working with non-toxic materials, and understand practical planning for designing and executing woodworking projects.  The curriculum focuses on imparting skills through a series of projects designed to build on one another in techniques and complexity. 

This course will drill deep into the basics, beginning with a firm foundation in understanding wood as a material and incorporates introductory training in a wide range of techniques. You'll leave with a in depth experience of hand tools, practice applications of joinery methods, consider choices for wood selection and working with non-toxic materials, and understand practical planning for designing and executing woodworking projects.  The curriculum focuses on imparting skills through a series of projects designed to build on one another in techniques and complexity. 
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.)
This is technically a vanity factor, though the ability to store tools and other supplies at quick reach can be a time and energy saver. At the least, you will want a bench that comes with a shelf underneath. This will allow the storage of larger items that can otherwise be difficult to find a place for. Drawers are the other popular storage for benches and can make retrieving tools much easier – just make sure the inside of the drawer is lined with felt or the wood may prematurely dull your tools.

I would say take the shed, you'll find some use for it. I have contemplated this question also. I have a 20' x 11' basement shop, thats quickly loosing space. If you live in an area with a harsh winters (say the Midwest), does it make sense to heat the shop through the week if you are only working in the shop on the weekends? Or do you run the heaters just when you are working in the shop? What kind of heaters are recommended (radient, wood stove, etc.)?
With the shelf secure, get a couple of friends to come help, and stand the bench on its feet. I said earlier moving the top by yourself is dangerous. Trying to lift the entire bench is foolhardy. Of course, I already said I'm stubborn, so I did it myself by rigging a simple block-and-tackle using lightweight pulleys I got at the hardware store. (Not the lightest-weight pulleys, those are meant for flag poles and have a design load of something like 40 pounds. These had a design load of 420 pounds.)
The remaining tuition payment ($7,000.00) and materials deposit ($300.00) is due 45 days before the start date. Any unused materials deposit will be returned at the end of the course. You may use the materials deposit to buy books, finish, wood, fasteners, and hardware. Due to credit card processing fees, we kindly ask that students make this portion of the tuition payments by personal check, money order, or bank check.

I like the idea of re-inventing the wheel. I choose to believe that while others may have considered these improvements, they just never got around to trying them out. Brain gets bored with status quo. So, I try to keep Brain happy with the occasional foray into uncharted territory. And I must say Brain has had some really good results. Thanks, in part, to you, and the Roy. You never know where a good idea might come from so I’ll check in once in a while. That and make sure to build it in Sketchup first.


One quality about this bench that is definitely lacking is space – both tabletop and storage. The Olympia Tools does provide an adequate shelf, but it does not come with any drawers, nor does it offer the option of adding them later. The table top is the smallest we saw at 50” long and 2’ wide, though the width is actually better than most of the other table we reviewed. Still, a significant chunk of that width is occupied by a trough. This trough is designed to hold smaller workpieces to keep them from falling or getting knocked over, but it removes about 6” of width from the tabletop.
You don’t need a fully equipped shop to enjoy woodworking! In this class, you will learn to design, make, and finish a unique wood box. With an emphasis on tool safety and material exploration, we will use a combination of power tools and hand tools to make boxes of all shapes and sizes. Beginning with a solid block of wood, you will learn how to lay out, cut, sculpt, and reassemble the block into the form of a box. Demonstrated techniques will include hidden hinges, small drawers, pull knobs, and fitted lids, as well as texturing, carving, burning, painting, and finishing. Suitable for beginning and intermediate students, all materials provided.
In class, each student will build a detailed hall table that is complete with mortise and tenon joinery, biscuit, dowel, and floating joint construction.  The student project is presented with a variety of design options and formats as to meet the experience and comfort level of each student.  Depending on their experience and comfort level, students are encouraged to make a simplified version of the hall table or tackle a more sophisticated and complicated version of the same project. Your only limitation is the amount of material you receive in your lumber pack (~24 board feet).
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.

Working with reclaimed wood is a savvy use of resources, and the material's country appeal is undeniable. With just a saw and a small drill, you can reuse old fencing to make these simple woodworking projects: picket-inspired picture frames. Finish them off by hot-gluing clothespins or bulldog clips to hang your prints. Here’s a step-by-step guide.
I am sharing here a link to the detailed tutorial written by Pete at diypete.com, who shares the step by step process for making a wonderful barrel coffee table from scratch. He also tells you what items you’ll need for this project and where to find them. For example, you can buy an old whiskey barrel online or from a local whiskey store for a few bucks, if you haven’t already got one.

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.
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.
Learn to use hand and power tools to shape wood into objects that will last for decades. You’ll learn about the properties of lumber, safe tool use, measurement and layout, and fundamental woodworking joints. At the end of this week-long course, you’ll leave with an end-grain cutting board, a mitered corner box, and the skills to build an unlimited range of wooden objects.
Happy bench building folks. I hope you make it your own and not worry too much about what someone else thinks it should be. Use the rules as a guideline, they have validity, but make it your own in the end. If the rules fit you that’s great, if they don’t quite fit you then make it to fit yourself. It’s you using it, not some guy making a nice living off of telling you how he thinks you should do it. One size does not fit all. Never has, never will.
@cahudson42 I bored the holes in my sandwich top with a 3/4" power auger bit with the drill in a portable drill guide that kept it vertical and in a way a bit like a plunge router. The guide screw of the auger was dead easy to centre over the laid out grid points. The holes are dead straight and clean sided. The auger bit was new which probably helped. As stated I have three rows from an end vise running the length of the front as well as from the front vise and holes in the front apron to support long pieces as well.
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.
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.
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