Evidence of a removed fireplace makes it clear that the woodworkers were doing tasks that required warmth, like using glue. The type of glue used during that time had to be heated to a certain temperature. Bill Flynt, a former colleague of Garrison, tested the wood of the shop and found that it is second- or third-generation wood, meaning that New Englanders had already cut down and replanted lots of trees by that time.
A woodworker's workbench isn't a table, it's a work-holding system. It's not something you set things on top of, it's a tool that holds your work. Where a worktable might have a machinist's vise bolted to its top, a woodworker's bench is built to accommodate a number of different workholding mechanisms, such as bench dogs, planing stops, hold fasts, or board jacks, and will usually have one more woodworker's vises integrated into its structure.
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.
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.
So drill the benchdog holes through the MDF layer. Begin by laying out their positions. You'll want these to be precise, so that the distances between the holes are consistent. The vises you are using will constrain your benchdog spacing. My front vise worked most naturally with two rows of holes four inches apart, my end vise with two pairs of rows, with four inches between the rows and eight inches between the pairs. Because of this, I decided on a 4" by 4" pattern.
A shed is a great project to earn your sawdust legs on. It is just some very basic carpentry skills. You could build the whole thing with a circular saw, hammer, utility knife, pencil, and tape rule. Find a friend or relative that has some decent skills to help. You could do it in a weekend. Keep the size on a four foot increment to minimize wastee. I would recommend a 12 x 12 or a 12 x 16 if you can. If you don't want to cut any rafters (which is really a simple process), you can order small triangle shaped trusses for the roof from your local lumberyard. If you are using T1-11 for the sides, get the real plywood based stuff, no waferboard. Same thing for the floor, use plywood (treated if you like). Cedar for the trim, not pine. The visqueen underneath is a good idea. Insulate the walls inside to help temper temperature swings. Build overhanges into the roof all the way around, 12" is nice. These really are a fun project. You can add a small window with a flower box underneath to make it look a little homey too.

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. 

This is for the serious amongst you. Those of you who are ready to make a change in your life. To really surround themselves with woodworkers and furniture making for a whole year. Not only do you get to learn some great traditional skills but also drawing, the beginnings of design and how to run a woodworking business successfully. This intense workshop training gives you a good foundation to make your own way to become a furniture maker.

You are absolutely right on your advise. When I was agonizing over how to build a workbench my good friend turned me on to your book on workbenches. I was planning on having an overhang until I read your advise about building a workbench and not a table. So the entire front and rear surfaces; top, legs and bottom shelf are all in the same plane to clamp my work to. The addition of a sliding dead man was also something that I would have never thought of on my own. Thanks again for your advise.


Working with reclaimed wood is a savvy use of resources, and the material's country appeal is undeniable. With just a saw and a small drill, you can reuse old fencing to make these simple woodworking projects: picket-inspired picture frames. Finish them off by hot-gluing clothespins or bulldog clips to hang your prints. Here’s a step-by-step guide.
I agree that I might quickly outgrow a 12x8 shed. Lowes also offers a 12x10 Rancher (same style, but more room), but the 12x10 is 9 feet, 4 inches high, and my community only allows a maximum height of 9 feet. The 12x8 is exactly 9 feet high. I'm afraid of getting "out of spec" if I exceed the height limit and then getting in trouble with the Home Owner's Association. Having said that, 12x10 would be about the biggest size I could get for the available area in my back yard, so even if I hire a shed contractor to do this, the shed would have to be 12x10 or smaller.
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