Stan Beckworth began his woodworking career in 1983. His wide experience in woodworking enables him to teach as a practicing master craftsman. He began woodworking because of a desire to work with his hands and pass some hand skills to his children. Some of the classes he teaches are the Finishing class, Relief Carving class, Foundational Classes and the Advanced Furniture courses, such as the Chest of Drawers and Rocking Chair classes. Stan has spent a lot of time learning about furniture finishes, as well as relief carving, studying with Mary May, a renowned woodcarver in South Carolina. When Stan isn’t teaching, he runs a small remodeling business at his home and builds and refinishes furniture for different clients. He has been commissioned to make furniture for several congressmen as well as refinishing furniture for past presidents. ”Being able to pass on practical skills that are useful for everyday application is what I love to do.”
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.
If you decide upon construction lumber, you want kiln dry lumber. Green lumber will warp on you as it drys. Dig through the stacks and pick out the straightest, cleanest pieces. Generally, the boards that are sitting loose on the stack are those that other people left behind, as they sorted through looking for better. Be prepared to move them out of the way, and to dig down to the better stock. Be nice, though, and put everything back when you're done.
Workbenches have flat tops, though sometimes at the rear there is a cavity called a tool well that contains tools and components (and prevents them from falling off). One advantage of having the well set into the top of the bench is that, even with a variety of objects in the well, a large sheet of material can still be laid flat over the entire surface of the bench; the contents of the tool well offer no interference.
After I left the magazine for a new job, I did all of my woodworking in my small two-car garage, but it was a struggle. Power, lighting, and temperature control were limited. And because I shared space with our cars I was always moving machines around, often while in the middle of a project. On top of that, my tool and machine collection had long since eclipsed the space. For all these reasons, fixing up the garage wasn’t an option. My finished basement is a family room, so it was out, too. An addition to the home or a stand-alone building would have been too expensive. I had to find a better path to a shop.