Students will make two pens at the lathe, one of solid wood and one of your own design built up from several pieces of wood. Since turning pens is a quick process, we will have time to teach you how to choose woods, how to prepare and mount wood on the lathe, and several of the more popular finishes. We will cover safe operation of a lathe, demonstrate how to use common woodworking tools, practice tool sharpening techniques, and discuss options for what kind of lathe you might want in the future, from a small pen lathe to more robust machines that can handle much bigger projects. Bring clothes that can get dirty.


Foundations of Woodworking runs every fall (September - December) and winter (January-March). The application process for each session opens 9 months in advance of the course start date. Applications will be considered for registration in the order in which they are received. There is no fee for applying. Accepted applicants will be invited to register. We ask for a deposit of $200 at the time of registration to ensure your place in the class. 
I’m building my second bench. I built the first years ago with wood from old machinery pallets – mostly oak and maple. Mortised the legs into the base, and pegged ’em with 1″ dowels. Of course, the legs warped a bit, but that made everything tighter and stronger. The top is 2″ thick Ash, one board cut in half and joined side to side. Wrapped a maple apron around the top, and I think I screwed the top from underneath to the leg braces. Solid. Over time, built a cabinet under for 3 drawers and a small cabinet door. Works for me.
I ended up making a number of practice cuts. The first revealed that I hadn't tightened the screws on the edge guide enough. The second revealed that the design of the edge guide provided very little support at the end of a board, because of the cut-out for the router bit. In the "Getting Started in Woodworking" video, they had screwed a piece of hardwood to the edge-guide, to provide a continuous -- and longer -- bearing surface. I may do that myself, some day, but I didn't have the materials at hand, so I clamped some 2x4 scrap to the end of each board, to provide a continuous bearing surface past the ends. The two grooves in the long stretchers and the side groove in the short stretchers have identical layout. I made practice cuts in scrap until I had the edge guide set correctly, then I cut them all with that one setting. The bottom groove of the short stretchers uses a different setup, so it was back to the scrap, before cutting them.
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.)
There is a mandatory safety class you have to take where they walk you around the shop and make sure that you know how each major machine works and general shop safety. You also have to sign a waiver saying you are participating at your own risk. You DO NOT have to take that safety class if you are signing up for one of their classes. They will cover those basics during the class.
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.)

I like the idea of re-inventing the wheel. I choose to believe that while others may have considered these improvements, they just never got around to trying them out. Brain gets bored with status quo. So, I try to keep Brain happy with the occasional foray into uncharted territory. And I must say Brain has had some really good results. Thanks, in part, to you, and the Roy. You never know where a good idea might come from so I’ll check in once in a while. That and make sure to build it in Sketchup first.


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.
As simple as its elements are, the workbench is more than a tabletop with legs, a well, and a few holes. Virtually everything in the workshop comes to rest on the bench at some point, even if only between operations at other stations. Planning and layout, cutting and shaping, assembling and finishing–all can be, and often are, performed on the benchtop. The better the design, and the better suited its size and configuration to your labors, the more efficient a tool it will be.
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.

Woodworking has a rich place in the history of human civilization. Used for thousands of centuries, it provided early cultures a way to construct shelters, furniture, boats, and more; in doing so, it made life easier and ultimately allowed a society to advance. The art of woodworking continues today, having survived a myriad of design aesthetics (including the not-so-wood-friendly Memphis Design). To pay homage to this ancient craft, one Instagram account called @wooodworking features pieces from different artists and artisans around the world.

Isn’t now the time to spend some time with your son or daughter? Used to be that fathers spent time teaching their children how to do things. It built memories. It built self-confidence. It built life-long trust and respect. And it built skills that remain for the rest of their lives. Isn’t now the time for you to make some memories with your children?


One aspect of the Windsor Design that is hit or miss is the vice. Notice we have to use the singular when describing it because this is the first workbench that we have reviewed which features only one vice. To make matters more frustrating, the vice cannot be repositioned along the bench. That said, the vice does at least have the largest capacity out of any we reviewed. At 7” capacity, the Windsor Design vice can secure any size workpiece you may have.
Over the years, the editors at The Family Handyman have built nearly a hundred bookcases. From all that experience, we’ve learned that the best building tricks are shortcuts that avoid complex steps. So whether you’re a beginning builder or a veteran, these bookcase and shelf building tips will lead to beautiful results with less time and effort. Get the bookcase and shelf tips.
Olympia Tools is a bit of a lesser known manufacturer. While they offer a wide range of products for a variety of construction fields, they are definitely more of a budget option. That said, Olympia Tools is one of the few brands that manages to produce a reasonable quality at a low price which makes them a solid choice for customers looking to get the best bang for the fewest bucks.
The Cape Ann Shed was designed with coastal New England in mind. So yard work may feel like you’re actually on vacation. From Cape Cod to the beaches of Maine, you will find a Post Woodworking Cape Ann shed adorning the yards of thousands of homes. It’s a popular style with our customers – whether they make their home by street or by sea. An affordable choice for an outdoor structure, the Cape Ann brings functional elements with nautical appeal.
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