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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»
 

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»
 

Where to Buy Big Wood for Big Workbenches

Where to Buy Big Wood for Big Workbenches

During the last few years, I’ve been using giant 6×6 softwood timbers to build workbenches for classes and customers. These big hunks look old school and make the construction process quick and painless – the top has only three glue lines. Of course, the problem for most people is finding this wood. You can find Continue reading»
 

The Lazy Man’s Drawboring Delight

The Lazy Man’s Drawboring Delight

I’ve drawbored hundreds and hundreds of joints since 1999, mostly on workbenches I’ve built for myself or with students. That doesn’t mean I know jack buddy about drawboring, as last weekend proves. I was in Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, for a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event and staying with a friend. Let’s call him Continue reading»
 

Workbench Assembly. With Glue.

Workbench Assembly. With Glue.

Assembling workbenches in the old-school manner is a nail-biter. If the drawbores are too close together, then you drive the peg in and nothing happens. The tenon isn’t pulled into the mortise. You start looking around for your framing nailer. If the drawbores are too far apart, you drive the peg in and it explodes Continue reading»
 

Do You Need Glue?

Do You Need Glue?

After three days of work, we are going to start assembling the workbenches we are building at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking tomorrow and are coming to a familiar fork in the road. Should we assemble the benches using glue or not? My gut says these benches don’t need glue. The legs are immobile Continue reading»
 

Build a Hand-tool Bench With Power Tools? Yup.

Build a Hand-tool Bench With Power Tools? Yup.

Talking about the motivation for building a French-style handwork bench using lots of power tools is always a discussion that feels like a hall of mirrors. Many of the 16 students in my workbench class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking aren’t infatuated by the gorgeous machinery the school offers. They don’t seem impressed Continue reading»
 

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