Kelly Mehler

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Great Woodshops: Craftsmanship Done Safely

by Megan Fitzpatrick pages 84-87 From the June 2006 issue Woodworking teacher Kelly Mehler got his start in the schooling business in an unusual way. His first teaching job was to instruct patients at a rehabilitation center in woodworking basics using simple machinery. While working there, he took classes in the wood technology program...

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When Will ‘Day 4’ Occur?

Ah, Thursday – day four of a woodworking class. This is the day that most students hit a wall. They take naps at their benches. They sneak off to their cars to lie down. They disappear in the middle of the day and don’t return until the next morning. All these things (and more...

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On Gaps and Dovetails and Winterthur

Years ago when touring Winterthur, I saw a lot of wacky Pennsylvanian dovetails on old chests. These joints had been wedged through their pins – a feature I had not seen in person before. While the museum personnel wouldn’t let me take photos, I did make a few sketches. Whenever I cut dovetails, my...

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Kelly Mehler’s Land of Many Benches

If you ever want to try out a lot of different workbench designs before you settle on building one for your shop, you might want to take a class at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking. During the last five years, Kelly and his students have been building different style benches with all manner of...

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A Chip-resistant Drill Press Fence

File this one under: Tricks that everyone knows but me. Whenever I work against a fence on my drill press, I constantly huff and sweep the table clear of shavings. Why? If even one errant shaving gets between the fence and your work, you can spoil your hole. I’ve had enough spoiled holes in...

Flatten a Workbench’s Top in 5 Minutes

Woodworkers are always looking for a better way to flatten the top of their workbench after they finish building it, or when the top has gone out of truth for some reason. I like using a handplane to flatten benchtops, which takes about 45 minutes on average. Other people build a special router jig...

French Workbench Class – Day 6

It is unwise to rush when installing vises on a workbench. So I stopped whipping the maggots students during the last two days of the class and encouraged them to work at their own pace. Some slowed down, but some stayed at the fevered pitch established in the first four days of the class....

French Workbench Class – Day 5

Installing vises in workbenches is always a finicky process – unless you go for a super-simple setup like the one I prefer: A quick-release vise for the end vise and a simple leg vise for the face vise. We have 10 benches being built in this class at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking, and...

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French Workbench Class – Day 4

When I walked into the shop at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking this morning at 8:24 a.m., the place was a wreck. The students were fitting their joints among piles of shavings and sawdust and joking with one another. The radio was on (they have a radio?) and playing a Bob Marley tune. This,...