Semester 3: Workbenches and Joinery Review

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.

Tom S 
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

  • Lessons
  • Joinery Workbench
  • Shaker Wall Clock
  • Corner Cabinet
  • Tool List

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
Curve cutting tool kit

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.

Dave C 
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.