Raw Materials

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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...

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What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Internet woodworking forums are great places. You can observe or enter into a debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, and you can follow that on a tangent about what’s the best type of pin for the angels to dance on, and someone will likely come along to...

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Too Much Lumber is Never a Bad Thing

Whenever we convene a meeting of the “Should We or Should We Not Print Cutlists Debating Society”, we get tons of responses. In the latest instance an overwhelming number of poll participants voted yea, while most of the commenters said no, or gave a qualified yes – as long as we provide the lists...

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My Chisel Handles are Older Than Yours

Exotic woods don’t blow my skirt/kilt/skort up much. In small doses they can look beautiful, but for the most part I find them oily, difficult to work and far too wild looking for full-size furniture. I’ve always preferred hardwoods and softwoods from the Northern hemisphere. Quartersawn beech is exotic to me. Quartersawn sycamore is...

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Compwood Unleashed and…

I must get off my hinder and start beavering on these two Welsh stick chairs I’m making for a friend. The arm bows are bent, the seats are glued up and…that’s all I got. Until this moment, the excuse for my lethargy was that I was waiting for the arm bows to dry while...

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It’s Not Just for Bears Anymore

To transform a pile of 6″ x 6″ x 8′ yellow pine beams into 10 workbenches, the first step is a chainsaw. This morning I drove down to Berea, Ky., to help Kelly Mehler and his assistant, Ben, sort through 80 beams and crosscut them to length for the Roubo workbench class I’m teaching...

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Bench Building in Berea with Big Wood

The biggest challenge in building a workbench isn’t the design. It isn’t the joinery. And it isn’t even the physical labor. It’s finding the right wood. This May I’m teaching a class in building an 18th-century workbench at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking, in Berea, Ky. The bench design uses massive timbers, similar to...