The Beginner’s Workbench | Shop Update

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Last week I spent some time up in Maine building a workbench. This workbench is hardly a new design as its based on the English Nicholson style but it is design to be built with minimal construction lumber and very few tools. A hardware store saw, a jack plane, a chisel, and 3 different sized auger bits with a brace. It can be built quickly to get the new woodworker started, but it may also be the same bench you are using 5 or 6 years from now.

The detailed, step by step build will be a part of a new Semester at my Hand Tool School ( I’m calling it Semester .5 or my prequel semester which goes all the way back to a blank shop space and no skills. Coming this fall, stay tuned for more details (as I film them)


rmojo23 says:

I don't see this on your website. No Semester .5?

Robert f Sautters says:

The workbench is just another tool,a means to an END!!

Bruce Brachman says:

Shannon: The bench looks really handy. Can a standard quick release vice be added to it without much trouble? I bought one and don't really want to not use it. If so, I would be more inclined to sign up for the new beginner's course since this workbench is one of the projects. (PS: I have had my metal legged workbench for more than 30 years. You know, you buy the legs and add some plywood on top. Really more than 30 years)

Robert Mielke says:

When it came time to build my latest workbench my practical side won out and I built it with a Simpson Strong-Tie bench kit, 2"x4"s and two 3/4" x2'x4' sheets of MDF. I added Rockler bench casters that cost more than all the lumber and have a sturdy, flat workbench I can roll around my tiny 10'x20' single room apartment. At this point it looks more like a lumber/hardware store than an apartment. Still, at 68 & living on Social Security checks it works for me. 🙂

Terry Bodenhorn says:

Nice!.  Really enjoyed this video.

Phil meighan says:

Are you selling the plans for the workbench?

Alan Ouellette says:

Really smart design man!

Soul Hydration says:

Any plans out there for this bench?

Thanos oftitan says:

Those impulse hardened saws are not bad – if you pick out a good one and modify them a bit. Sight down them at the store. Look at the teeth to see if they are the same side to side and that the plate is straight. I had to inspect about ten of them to find a good one. When I got it home, it was pretty jarring to cut with, catching in the cut because some teeth stuck out to the side. I stoned the sides until I had a tiny, shiny bit on each tooth. Stop as soon as the stone has touched every tooth. The cut was smooth, but pulled to one side. I stoned that side and retested until it cut straight. I've resharpened it by stoning the sides maybe half a dozen times in 10 years of weekend use. After the last sharpening, the kerf is finally too tight for green wood, but still works fine for dry. Not bad for twenty bucks. Cross cut only, unless you really like work.

bloodgain says:

You know you're a serious woodworker (or is it woodworking addict?) when you build yourself a bench at your in-laws' place up north!

I might be building myself a small-ish bench sometime soon and would like to go the construction lumber route; I'm thinking maybe some nice Southern Yellow Pine (good supplier nearby). I really need to look at the different designs and features I might be able to build into my first serious woodworking bench. This one looks great, but I don't think it's the right style for me.

gsilcoful says:

Awesome bench. Nice work.

Peter Compton says:

Very nice. Thanks

AlWheelin says:

Always like economy builds that don't look cheap.

The Wood Lab says:

Dang, sorry I missed you coming though Boston. Very cool bench Shannon! It's very similar to the one I built for my shop a few years ago. I also used cutoffs to make the top 3", and have the center stop that can raise up as a planing stop. When I built it, I wasn't sure how often I'd use it. Turns out I've used it quite a bit and I'm happy I included it. – Jim

Hudson says:

Looks great… cant wait to build mine. Plans?

P Foster233 says:

Nice work on the bench. Can't wait to see you building on it in August. 🇨🇦

Anthony DeRosa says:

Very nice. Love your videos. Wish I had that bench.

W1ldt1m says:

how similar to Mike Steimson's "The Naked Woodworker" is your bench and will be semester five? I have already followed his video and would appreciate suggestions for a next step on the learning curve.

hernanc says:

Hey Shannon count me in on that. 5 semester! Congrats on the sweet workbench!

Can Do says:

Really nice, Shannon!  I have a couple of benches to build myself, one for work and a smaller, more portable version for home.  I'll stay tuned and hope to join the fall semester at the HTS. Thanks for sharing this.

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