Whether you want to build your own kitchen cabinets, a credenza for your dining room, or built in shelves for your bedroom you should have some basic cabinetry skills before getting started. There are so many options when designing and building cabinets: face frame vs. frameless; sliding vs. hinged doors; dovetails vs. rabbets; plywood vs. MDF; wood...

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.
1. In this post, you kindly remind us not to make it too deep or worry too much about the height. I presume you still believe a bench cannot be too long or too heavy? I’m with you — just asking if that’s actually still your opinion, since the bench above appears to be yet another six footer. (If longer is better, why don’t you build an 8 or 10′ for your home shop?) TYIA – remember, I’ve bought all my lumber to start my new bench, but I haven’t milled anything yet, so you’re really helping in an immediate way here!
I know, if you had a workbench, you wouldn't be building a workbench. Even so, you'll need some sort of work surface, even if it isn't as stable or capable as a proper bench. The traditional solution is to throw a hollow-core door over a couple of saw horses. The advantage of hollow core doors is that they're flat, stiff, and cheap. I used a folding table and a hollow core door I had bought for a future project.
During an intensive six-month course, not only will you learn all of the basics such as the different tools you will be using but also get a chance to try some of our more advanced projects. These will include how to draw up a big project such as a workbench, and French Polish your own jewellery box. You will also learn how to draw and can take part in our design courses, an invaluable part of the making process.
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.
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.
With the shelf secure, get a couple of friends to come help, and stand the bench on its feet. I said earlier moving the top by yourself is dangerous. Trying to lift the entire bench is foolhardy. Of course, I already said I'm stubborn, so I did it myself by rigging a simple block-and-tackle using lightweight pulleys I got at the hardware store. (Not the lightest-weight pulleys, those are meant for flag poles and have a design load of something like 40 pounds. These had a design load of 420 pounds.)
The hacksaw will often damage the last thread when it cuts. Running a nut off the end will fix this. You'll have to run the nut all the way down from the other end. This doesn't take long, if you chuck up the rod in your drill and let it do the work. Hold the rod vertically, with the drill pointing down, and just hold on to the nut enough to keep it from spinning.
I got this idea from a Pinterest post. The final product looks so beautiful that I just couldn’t wait to make one for myself. This was somewhat a different experience from my other regular DIY projects as it doesn’t involve making something from scratch, but turning an existing wood piece into another one. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it very much and the final product was very satisfying. The tutorial I used is linked below.
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.
When the top is done, we want the edged MDF and the oak countertop to have exactly the same dimensions, and for their width to exactly match the width of the base.I could see three ways of doing this: 1, join the MDF to the countertop and use my belt sander to sand down their joined edges to match the base; 2, join the MDF to the countertop and use a hand plane to plane down their joined edges to match the base; or 3, use a flush-trim bit against a straight edge to route the MDF to the width of the base, then join the MDF to the countertop and use the flush-trim bit to route the countertop to match the MDF.
The book is well written and easy to read. The illustrations, I'm sure were excellent in 1914 and, are still adequite now. Most of the designs seemed repetitive, though. I wish more attention had been given to lashing materials. If you are looking for that you will find almost none here. The book was fun to read and provided enough inspiration to make my brother and me attempt a large hut.
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