Let's Build Some Stuff!!
Semester 3 is all about slowing down on the new techniques and spending some time cementing the basics covered in semesters 1 and 2 by building. There may be some shop aid type projects that will pop up but this is about getting serious and building some furniture.
The strongest focus is on workbenches. How to design for your needs and how to build something this massive by hand. A good workbench is the most valuable tool in the hand tool shop and is a very personal item that needs to be built with only your own work in mind and not what anyone else says. Monster workbenches don’t work for everyone and we cover scaling your design to your space. While I build my Joinery Bench the lesson will cover more general workbench topics for the woodworker looking to build their first bench or their 5th bench. I wrap up this lesson with talk of what I call the Apartment Workbench that combines many features into a very small footprint.
From there it is on to build 2 smaller projects that emphasize basic joinery skills with a strong attention to detail that goes with creating fine furniture
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Shannon is really on to something here with The Hand Tool School. A lot of woodworkers will benefit a great deal and the cost is extremely reasonable when you compare it to just a single day of tuition at a brick & mortar school.
Member Since 2011
Work at Your Own Pace
What makes the lesson in The Hand Tool School so effective is that they never go away. When you buy a semester you have lifetime access to the material. No need to worry about cramming in all the content before access goes away or how much it will cost you in monthly fees to get through all the material. And there is A LOT of material in Semester 3.
Unlike brick and mortar classes, there is no start time and no need to take vacation time or travel to a location. With The Hand Tool School you can work at 2 AM in your own shop, with your own tools, and stark naked! I advise some protective footwear at least.
Lessons, Projects, & Tools
- Joinery Workbench
- Shaker Wall Clock
- Corner Cabinet
- Tool List
Lesson 1: Fixing Joinery
Now I know that all of you cut perfect joints every time, but I thought it would be good to take a close look at how one fixes those joints that you cut and just don’t line up square or in the same plane. How do we salvage them without having to start all over. Embrace your crookedness and learn to fix it!
Lesson 2: Sawing Analysis
This lesson will get into detail on things to look for in your own sawing and help you to be the type of sawyer that can split a line and dramatically speed up your work. Accurate sawing is paramount when working with large timbers like we will see in building a workbench.
Lesson 3: Workbench Design
A strong workbench design with a “blank slate” chassis will allow you to adopt your bench to any type of work in the future. I have created a worksheet of sorts to help you identify the best bench for your style.
Lesson 4: Working with Large Parts
Flattening a board or sawing square is one thing when your parts are all 4/4, under 8″ wide and 36″ long. When you build large pieces like a workbench the game changes. This lesson addresses techniques for dealing with long boards and thick timbers in the hand tool shop.
Lesson 5: Double Dovetail Joint
This joint was present on the original Roubo bench drawing and has become an almost iconic bench building joint. This lesson will show you how to do it by hand, possibly the only way short of an industrial sized shop.
Lesson 6: Boring Straight & True
Whether you are pegging tenons or creating precision holes for vises and joinery, knowing how to bore a hole by hand is essential. This will be a quick lesson but one whose principles will come into play in almost every project we tackle.
Lesson 7: Preparing for Finishing
The beauty of hand tools means that we need very little sandpaper and smoothing planes and scrapers can prepare most surfaces for finish. This lesson will go into detail how to prepare your surfaces for the perfect finish.
Lesson 8: Frame & Panel Construction
This construction technique is a great way to accommodate wood movement in your furniture. It can be made using “normal” width stock too which makes it a more affordable method. This lesson covers the variety of ways to join the frame and several ways to create and fit raised panels.
The Apartment Workbench
The joinery bench idea has been rattling around my head for a few years. Many of us have small shops or no shop at all. This bench is the perfect solution for those with little space and those who prefer only to hand cut joinery and leave the milling to the machines. During this build we will talk about workbenches in general and building one by hand in case some of you would rather build a full sized version. I even will add some cool accessories like a planing beam that will turn this into the perfect solution for the apartment dweller.
Shaker Wall Clock
One of the most requested styles by Hand Tool School members is the Shaker style. When I queried you all about desires for a small project, this wall clock was mentioned 9 out of 10 times. It will be a fun and quick project that reinforces a lot of fundamentals and plays with tiny joinery.
Colonial Corner Cabinet
When I saw this piece hanging in the corner of the Shoemaker’s Shop in Colonial Williamsburg I immediately knew I would be adding it to a future semester. This piece will cover a lot of basics while adding in some bevels and a great raised panel door. We start by building a story stick and employ the basics of cabinet making and frame and panel construction. Then we finish is off with a traditional milk paint finish.
Semester 3 Required Tools
Since this is a review semester there aren't really any new tools needed. I do highlight a few that will make like easier with large mortises as well as with working in coped frame and panel joints.
- Rabbet Block Plane
- 3/8 or 1/4" Mortising Chisel
- 1 1/4" & 1 1/2" Auger Bits
- #8, 1/2" Carving Gouge
An Unmatched Learning Experience
I firmly believe that if you build these projects you will be a better woodworker at the end of it. You will also learn that hand tools can do things that power tool cannot, like working with big joinery necessary for workbenches. I think that dedicating 4-6 months to get through all the lessons and projects is a reasonable goal as well.
Of course I'll be here every step of the way answering your questions. Ask any of my students, I'm always ready to help.
I want to say congratulations to Shannon on The Hand Tool School. You now have moved into my excellent teacher category. Your easy going delivery style makes and approachability makes you a natural born teacher.
Member Since 2010
But there is also a community of your peers waiting for you to share your triumphs, project pictures, and to help you when you have troubles. If you are struggling with a technique or project, many of them are building the same thing or have already built it and can offer advice.