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.

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I decided to make my own top out of white ash because I had access to a planer and jointer at my local college where I was taking an intro woodworking class. Trim and vice jaws are white ash as well. Everything else is built pretty much as jdege describes. A plunge router with a 3/4" spiral up bit really made quick work of the dog holes. Finished with Danish oil.
Whether you're just starting out or wish to upgrade your important hand tools, this 5-Pc. Professional Woodworking Kit with matching rosewood and brass accents has all the essentials for producing the very best work. This fine set includes a 9" smoothing plane, 6" block plane, 9" try square, 9" marking gauge, 9" bevel gauge and a fitted wooden case.
It has been a while since I have posted last, but I do have a question I am pondering. A close family friend has offered to buy me a shed (16 x 12). It looks nice. Double doors, two front windows, vinly siding, and hopefully a ridge vent. Currently I am based in my basement with enough room for my Rigid table saw, bandsaw workbench, some cabinets with very little room for my hand tools, so I used a wall with peg board, and my jointer. My dust collection hangs on the wall as well. (I am being moved outside to free up space in the basement) It is very cramped, but it works. My question is, do wood shops work outside? I know to take precautions of moisture and heat (insulation, dehumidifier, heat for cold season, and so on) but how often to shed workshops work out? Anyone have any ideas on how to keep my tools safe and secondly, does 16 x 12 sound like enough room? Please, I would love some friendly advice.
In this class we will explore the works of one of my favorite woodworkers, George Nakashima. This chair has elegance, simplicity, subtle details, and beauty. Don’t let its simplicity fool you. This chair requires great skill and precision to execute. It involves carving and sculpting of the seat with power and hand tools. The complex joinery has...
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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 small oak table is a very useful wooden item for every household. You can yourself make a nice, strong and beautiful oak table suitable for any purpose. See the image below. As you can see, it is a small, yet good enough table to be used as a coffee table, lamp stand, breakfast table, etc. You can also find many other design variants on the internet. Choose the one you want for yourself and start making it now.
I clamped the top to the side of the base, as I had done before, so that the edge with the knot would be easy to work with. I mixed up some ordinary five-minute epoxy and added just a touch of black epoxy pigment. I applied this freely. After about twenty minutes I checked on it and found that in the deepest spot the void wasn't entirely filled, so I mixed up another batch and added more. After that had cured for a bit I eased the top to the floor and applied a coat of oil to the bottom side. I planned on attaching the base to the top the next day, and I wanted the bottom side oiled to keep it from absorbing moisture.

The Classic Workbench is based largely on the famous Plate 11 workbench from Roubo’s “The Art of the Joinery”. We’ve built dozens of these “Roubo” benches over the past decade, helped others build hundreds more and examined extant French benches from the period. We haven’t changed our opinion on this fundamental design. French technical schools of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were outfitted with benches of the exact type. And prior to the 1950’s, you could easily buy a “Classic” workbench from any number of French supply houses. Benchcrafted continues the tradition by offering this excellent workbench, built in Iowa with American hardwoods to the highest standards.
My first shop was a 8 x 10 ft room, actually a bedroom, with 10 ft high ceilings in a older home in Chicago. I had a 10" Craftsman TS, drill press, 8 1/4" Skil saw which still works, some welding tanks, hand tools and... my bed was a loft across the 10 ft length 4 ft down from the ceiling with a ladder against the wall to get up. I was 16 yrs old then, now I am 66 yrs, have 2 shops with Craftsman power tools up stairs, and Grizzly tools ,a Powermatic 68, a MIG welder, and other tools on the ground floor. I've come a long way, You think? I remember making bases for sculptures called "plinths", my first commission, in the living room, 5 pieces rather large, several ft long and wide. The house was haunted, and my mom told the "spirit" to leave and go back downstairs. There was a cold draft and the straw chair would rustle with no one sitting in it. Wow, does that bring back memories from the '60's.
When you have the other leg seated, the threaded rods will extend father than you want them to. You'll want to mark them so they can be cut to length. Place a washer and a nut on each threaded rod, and then tighten down the nut to pull everything tight. Depending upon the wrench you are using, and how much longer the rod is than it needs to be, you may find it necessary to stack up a number of washers, so that the nut is positioned where the wrench can operate on it.
The top is supported by the top ends of the legs and the top sides of the top stretchers. Stand your legs on end on a flat surface (like my door) and see if they wobble. If you have an end that isn't quite stable, use it as a foot, where the leveler will make it's flaws unimportant. Check the top edge of each stretcher for straightness. If one has a bit of a bow, use it for a lower stretcher. It's less critical that the shelf be well supported along its length.
What is the one thing every woodworker needs? Yes, a workbench. Now that you have or at least I am assuming you have worked on so many woodworking projects, you are close to becoming a professional woodworker. You now probably owe yourself a nice woodworking bench. You should also know that a true woodworker never buys his bench from the market, but always builds one himself. But before you start this project, you should know what a workbench is.
If you opt for a bench with drawers or cabinets built into its base, don’t forget the toe spaces: Leave a space roughly three inches deep and four inches wide at floor level for your toes, just like kitchen cabinets. The absence of a toe space means you’ll be forever kicking the face or sides of the cabinets which is irksome and, with tools in hand, potentially dangerous. And you’ll have to lean over farther to reach the back of the benchtop.
The items you’ll need for this project include wood board, power drill, tape measure, adhesive, etc. Read the tutorial for details. Follow the steps properly to make a nice and strong wall rack. This rack makes use of magnets to hold metal items. The tutorial explains the procedure for building this beautiful wall rack. Make sure to use only high quality items for any woodworking project. Use the rack only to hang items that are not too heavy for the magnet to hold. Also, be careful while working around this wall rack and beware of the knives falling off the rack.
Before joining the top to the base, loosen the bolts and screws on the lower stretchers to create a little play in the leg posts. Align the top notches with the leg posts and tap the top into place with a hammer and piece of scrap wood, working evenly around the table until all leg posts are level with the tabletop. Tighten the lower stretchers and you’re done. A hefty thanks to Doug Merrill for this weighty idea.

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.


Tuition for Practical Woodworking is $1200 for six 8-hour days of instruction and active woodworking. Lumber is provided and costs an additional $85. We provide most tools, students are only required to bring a tape measure, sharpie, pencil, and eye protection (sanders and sandpaper are encouraged if you've got them).  Visit our Course Project page to see the table we make!
This instructable shows how to build, with basic tools and readily-available lumber, a bench that provides most of the function of a traditional woodworker's workbench. I began with a design by Asa Christiana that was featured in the second season of finewoodworking.com's video series Getting Started in Woodworking. The project plans are available on their website.
Be careful. Single 24x60" sheets of 3/4" MDF are pretty easy to lift. A doubled sheet is manageable. The countertop - 24x72" panel of 1-1/2" oak - weighs something over 100 pounds. It takes real care to lift safely. The joined top - 3" thick of oak and MDF - is past the range that can be lifted safely by one person. Don't try. Get a friend to help, or rig a block-and-tackle.
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.
Great advice. May I add #11?…if you’re left handed (like me), build a left handed bench. It sounds obvious, but when I made my bench, I had looked at all the pictures in my books, laid out plans for a nice, traditional bench, built it, then realized my front vise should have been on the other end (I have no tail vise). I plane from left to right, and the front vise is always in the way.
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.
to allow 9' at the peak, I like a "shed style" roof, but that may not fly in your HOA.I'd put double doors on or one large one, pour a slab, or use patio blocks then lay down Wolman. plywood for a floor, I would use foam insulating board everywhere I could, walls, floor and ceiling. A few bin type windows or sliders would let in light and fresh air. If you can't get away with your wiring idea, I would use a HD 30 amp twist lock extension cord with an "outside weatherproof outlet" mounted on the home professionally installed for code, 2- 8' long flouresent lights, and a 20 amp outlet inside for a heater and dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers draw about 5-6 amps. You might be better off with a small 6000 BTU window or wall mounted AC unit,( $100 on sale at the Depot), it will take the moisture out of the air and cool it as well in the summer. I'd use thin wall conduit around the shop with about 4 double duplex boxes. You may be able to bring 220v. in and then split into 2-120v circuits. If you make ANY dust in this confined space you must first catch it with a shop vac, then filter the air, and wear a mask. A bathroom ventilator fan would exchange the air and be quiet. A slab in front would allow sawing outside weather permitting. A roll up canopy over the door way would provide "shade" and rain protection. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but I know you can do it if you try. You can get plenty of "free" advice here and from an expert close to you. My neighbor enlisted the help of a handyman for building his 2 sheds and they became friends and did tool swaps and labor trades for time worked. My advice to you.. go 4 it! bill
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