I’ve built workbenches with more than 100 students. In every class, there’s one guy who wants to put a vise on every corner of the bench. Not because it’s a partner’s bench for two people. Just because he wants it that way. While I support your freedom to choose, I also don’t want to spend two weeks installing complex tail-vise hardware on your bench when we could be building furniture instead.

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 marked out the one hole location, drilled a shallow 1/16" hole into the top. I then put a 1/16" bit through the hole in my template and into the hole I had just drilled. I lined up the template, and drilled a second hole, then put another bit through that. From then on, I worked entirely from the template. With two bits through the holes pinning the template in place, the other holes in the template would be precisely located (or so the theory goes) on a 4x4" grid.
I can't recommend this place highly enough. As someone who wants to test the waters in the hobby of woodworking this is the perfect place. They have all of the tools you need to complete your project, and they are great with helping beginners. I began as a skeptical customer but the staff was super ready and willing to make sure we could rectify a misunderstanding.
I used the factory edge of the half-panel of hardboard as a guide for cutting the ply. I wanted to cut a 5-1/2" strip, and my saw cuts 4-1/2" from the edge of the shoe, so I wanted the edge of the hardboard 10" from the edge of the ply. So I set my combination square to 10", and used it to mechanically set the distance. Hint - if you need two things to be precisely the same length, try to avoid measuring them separately. Use some mechanical mechanism for setting the distance.
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.

With my second attempt at edge guides, I made the other rough-cut. On this, the edge guide worked fine, but the end of the cuts revealed that the saw blade wasn't quite square. So I adjusted the blade, clamped all four legs together, and made what would be the first final cut, if it came out clean enough. It didn't. I'd let the saw drift a bit away from the guide edge. So I adjusted the saw, moving the guide back half an inch, and tried again. the rough-cut parts were a couple of inches longer than they needed to be, so I had room to work with,. It's only the final cut at the other end that you only have one chance at.


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.
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.
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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.
Another awesome thing about this coffee table is that it is also has a storage unit. So you can store drinks, and other stuff in the half barrel of your table and then close or open it whenever you need. Pete has also constructed a video for this tutorial for which you can find the link below. It illustrates the same process in a video guide that shows you the exact process to be followed while building this whiskey barrel coffee table.
I am new to woodworking. I'm learning as I go along, and I'm documenting as I learn, in the hope of being helpful to other novices. On the range from slap-dash to deliberate, my method is definitely on the deliberate side. If you have enough experience to be confident in using techniques that are more time-efficient, go for it. The techniques I'm using are those I thought least likely to go wrong, not those that would produce a product in the shortest time or at the lowest cost. You'll notice that I made a number of mistakes, spent considerable time on work I later determined to be unnecessary, and in a number of cases I used different techniques at the end than I did at the beginning. These are all the result of learning. I thought it would be better to demonstrate how I made errors, and how I corrected them, than to provide a set of instructions that presented the false impression that everything went together perfectly.

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.

As simple as its elements are, the workbench is more than a tabletop with legs, a well, and a few holes. Virtually everything in the workshop comes to rest on the bench at some point, even if only between operations at other stations. Planning and layout, cutting and shaping, assembling and finishing–all can be, and often are, performed on the benchtop. The better the design, and the better suited its size and configuration to your labors, the more efficient a tool it will be.
The procedure is very easy to understand and follow for anyone with a little woodworking knowledge. Make sure to collect all the items you need before you start with the project. You may even ask Tracy your queries directly in the comment section of the tutorial post. Or you can ask them here. Either way, I hope that you manage to build this one nicely.
Let me see if I can come up with a couple details. The table saw is a TS3660. So I have heard, this should be the center of your shop. My jointer is a 6 1/8" Jointer / Planer JP0610 which is 45 inches in length. My router table is the kreg router table that takes up a 24 x 32 inch footprint. My bench is roughly 30 x 70 inches and my bandsaw is 3' x3'. I have other tools as well such as a portable 12.5 Delta thickness planer in addition to a wall mounted dust collector. To add to the list, I am just about to get a 10 inch makita sliding compound miter saw. I can see how space will be eaten up quickly. Any ideas as to how arrange these tools in such a small shop? I will get pics a soon a I

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