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.
You can buy sandpaper, glue, and other consumables from them for a nominal price. Their hand tools are propitiatory though so you would have to buy a specific kind of orbital sandpaper, for example. You couldn't just get generic. They are reasonably priced though. There is literally a coffee can with money in it and prices written on the boxes with these consumables. If you think you might burn through enough sand paper on something, check the brand and price shop.
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.

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!
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.

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.

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.


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.
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.
I decided to finish the top with a number of coats of Danish oil, followed by a coat of wax. I applied the first coat of oil in the usual manner, making sure to cover the edges, and down the holes. I applied a coat oil to the top side of the shelf, as well. Wipe it on, let it sit wet for half-an-hour, then rub it off. Wait a day or two, add a second coat, and then again for a third.
The Community Woodshop allows me to have access to a countless number of the best quality tools in the industry. They are always on top of keeping everything working and running.  If anything breaks they are always very proactive in fixing things ASAP.  They also have more than enough tools so I never have to wait to use a sander or any of the smaller tools, and I have never had to wait more than a few minutes to get on the table saw (and even that is rare).
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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