Traditionally woodworkers  (joiners) learnt their craft working as an apprentice in the Master Craftsman's shop doing the grunt work and learning by assimilation over many years. Our approach is a little different. We're making the assumption that you're smart; are developing or already have a passion for woodworking; and can devote three months to intensive learning.
Remember those fire safety tips you used to get in grade school, about the dangers of oily rags? It was linseed oil they were talking about. All oily rags are dangerously flammable. Linseed oil will self-combust. Linseed oil doesn't evaporate, it oxidizes. The oxidization generates heat, and the increased temperature increases the rate of oxidation.
After you have all the holes clean, set things up for your glue-up. You want everything on-hand before you start - drill, driver bit, glue, roller or whatever you're going to spread the glue with, and four clamps for the corners. You'll need a flat surface to do the glue-up on - I used my hollow core door on top my bench base - and another somewhat-flat surface to put the other panel on. My folding table was still holding my oak countertop, which makes a great flat surface, but I want to make sure I didn't drip glue on it so I covered it with some painters plastic that was left over from the last bedroom we painted.
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.
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.
The original design had a height of 35-1/8". Their two-layer top was 1-1/2" thick, so their legs were 33-5/8" long. I want a height of 35", but I'm using a top that's 3" thick. My basement floor is anything but level, so I'm using levelers that are adjustable from 3/4" to 1-1/2". In other words, I want legs that are around 31-3/4" long. (If you're not using levelers, your legs need precise lengths. The levelers give about 3/4" of adjustment, so precision is less necessary.
Have you got an old whiskey barrel at home that you haven’t used for ages? If yes, this project is for you. You can make a really beautiful coffee table from that old whiskey barrel in a few easy steps. Apart from a coffee table, whiskey barrels can also be used to build several other furniture items. But that is a talk for later. Here, we will discuss how to make a coffee table from a whiskey barrel.

A woodworking school teaching furniture making techniques located in Pennsylvania. Beginner through advanced students will learn solid wood furniture construction using traditional and modern techniques. The classes emphasize wood movement, practical methods, efficiency (with machines and hand tools), design, milling, joinery, finishing, and safety. Woodworking and furniture making courses are offered to aspiring crafts men and women throughout the country.
Drilling a precisely positioned, deep, wide hole isn't easy, without a drill press. So I bought a WolfCraft drill guide. After experimenting with it, and drilling some test holes, I build a jig around it. I screwed it to a scrap of MDF, and then drilled a carefully-centered 3/4" hole. The MDF can be clamped more easily than the base itself, and the 3/4" hole will keep a 3/4" Forstner bit drilling precisely where it is supposed to.
First, cut one long edge. Second, cut a short edge, making sure it's square to the long edge you just cut. Clamp both pieces of the edging you'll be using along the long edge you've cut, and measure the width of the base plus 1/4-1/2", mark that, and then lay out a line through the mark that is square to the end you've cut, then cut along the line. Finally, cut the remaining short edge square to both long edges. (The length of the top doesn't need to precisely match anything, so we don't need to bother with clamping the trim before measuring.)
Though the preschool had been using the woodworking shop for storage, not realizing its historic value, it’s still in remarkably good shape. The woodworking benches and tables are still in excellent condition. According to Garrison, the shop is filled with clues as to how it was used. Some benches were covered in paint while others bear saw marks, testifying to the variety of tasks that were performed there.
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.

My name is Takami Kawai and I'm a traditional Japanese carpenter and architect with over 16 years of experience in sustainable design and construction. As much as conditions allow, I enjoy using traditional Japanese techniques. My experience includes working for the world renown, Ise Jingu Grand Shrine. I have also hosted numerous presentations on traditional Japanese woodworking. Now, I run a small construction firm, Suikoushya, which specializes in the restoration of traditional Japanese houses.


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.
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.
I live in the second rainiest city in the country, Pensacola, so I am used to dealing with wet. I literally work out of my garage (read storage area, small woodwork area, washer/dryer...car? ). I wheel bigger tools and table out to the little covered area in front of the garage. I have an 8 x 10 aluminum shed that is strictly garden stuff storage. I mention this for two reasons.
×