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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 what Megan Fitzpatrick and I built for her bench at home. The top is only four pieces of wood, and the cool joinery – the sliding dovetail and tenon a la Roubo – is cut before assembly.

To get the wood we needed, my first instinct was to ask a log home supplier. Megan scored her wood from Craigslist, which was leftover scraps from a log home. I lined up a supplier this summer, but they kind of flaked on us, perhaps because this is such a small order. You read that right – wood for about 10 benches (or so) is a small order compared to a house.



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