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Workbenches: Balancing the Base and Top

Workbenches: Balancing the Base and Top

On the first day of my woodworking classes at Dictum GmbH in Bavaria in June, I began with a confession. “I’m afraid that after three years, my German language skills are still crap,” I told the students. “However, I am fairly fluent in speaking ‘workbench.’” And it was a skill that came in handy during Continue reading»
 

Veritas’s New PM-V11 Steel Coming Soon

Veritas’s New PM-V11 Steel Coming Soon

Unlike many hand-tool woodworkers (and turners), I’m not much of a steel nerd. I’m not on a quest for the steel that promises the ultimate in edge life. The reason I’ve not experimented with lots of exotic steels is that every time I used CMP-10V, CMP-3V, D2 or whatever I found that these steels achieved Continue reading»
 

Saws

I was helping a friend the other day with a little problem he was having. He needed enabling because he was saving tools. Now Karl probably has more tools than me, which is saying something. Karl also probably has more cool old tools than anybody I know. [Well except for the cast iron machinery shrine [...]
 

Knocking Together a Workbench

Knocking Together a Workbench

On the final day of a workbench class, the students either assemble all their benches or pack up the parts in their cars to assemble things at home. Assembly is easy. I usually do it by myself, but I never decline offers of help. Plus, it’s the best part of the entire job because it Continue reading»
 

My Assembly Tricks for Old World Workbenches

My Assembly Tricks for Old World Workbenches

When I build a workbench in the old style, the rules for joinery change a bit for me. The strength of the bench comes from the top – not the base. And the amount of contact surface between all the mortises and the tenons is formidable. So if you need a mallet to drive home Continue reading»
 

More Mafell Madness: Day 3 of the Workbench Class

More Mafell Madness: Day 3 of the Workbench Class

When you build a workbench with an impressively thick top, one of the challenges is cutting it to its finished length. Unless you have an insane circular saw from Mafell. Yup. The chain mortiser that we used to make the mortises for the base wasn’t the only nutty timber-framing tool we’re using to build these Continue reading»
 

Mafell Chain Mortiser. Dang.

Mafell Chain Mortiser. Dang.

My least-favorite joint to cut by hand is – hands down – a deep mortise. But when you build a French-style workbench, you need to make about a dozen of them. And if you do it by hand, you are talking about a lot of boring, chopping, paring and sweating. When I mentioned this to Continue reading»
 

French Bench. German School. American Teacher. Day 1.

French Bench. German School. American Teacher. Day 1.

No matter how many times I do it, every class on building a workbench is remarkably different. Different wood. Different tools. Different students. Different country. I don’t know how I got talked into teaching a workbench class at a hand-tool school in Germany. OK, that’s a lie. I know exactly how. I was drinking beer Continue reading»
 

Reconsidering Chipbreakers as Not Totally Evil

Reconsidering Chipbreakers as Not Totally Evil

I have always disliked chipbreakers, which clog a handplane all too easily. But tonight I dislike them a little less. After the recent spate of discussions about a series of Japanese films on chipbreakers (here is the complete and translated film) and some encouragement from woodworker David Charlesworth, I decided to experiment with the position Continue reading»
 

The Finish Line

You spend 30 or 300 hours building a piece of furniture and manage to ruin it in 10 minutes by putting on the wrong finish. Don’t worry. If you’re a furniture maker and not a finisher, you’ll probably just try to fix things by putting another finish over the top of the first compounding your [...]
 

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