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17.06.2015
Since I started woodworking in about 1993, I’ve stored my tools in almost every way imaginable – from plastic buckets to wall cabinets, racks and a variety of tool chests. After exploring each of these methods, I kept coming back to a traditional tool chest because I have not found a better way to protect and organize my tools. During most visits to the tool store I conclude: If it doesn’t fit in the chest, I probably don’t need it. Tool chests are built in a number of fairly standard sizes that are based on the sizes of typical tools and the limits of our bodies. This medium-size chest can hold a remarkable amount of tools – two panel saws, three backsaws, the three standard bench planes, a rabbet plane, plow and router plane all fit on its floor. Smaller chests – the third size – were usually used for site work or by “gentlemen” woodworkers who had a small kit of tools. The medium-size chest in this article is ideal for someone getting started in woodworking with a small shop and a budding kit of tools. The lid is a thick panel that is surrounded by a dust seal on three sides; the seal pieces are dovetailed at the corners because this area of a tool chest takes heaps of abuse. To Buy: “Build a Traditional Tool Chest in Two Days,” a video by Christopher Schwarz available on DVD or as a digital download.
Christopher Schwarz has helped many of us solve some pretty frustrating problems over the years.
You get all of the above with our download, plus we’ll let you in on a secret – these 3 beginner woodworking projects are not just for complete beginners. To receive your free download, join our mailing list and never miss news, tips, promotions or discounts. For this exercise, I built a traditional bucket bench using dimensional lumber purchased from a home center and a basic set of tools.
For this project – with the exception of the sides – you can go ahead and cut all the parts to size per the cutlist.
When I think of a hobbyist woodworker I tend to think of a middle aged guy with a mix of tools parked in a corner of a basement or garage. If you’re curious about moving up to CNC routing, laser engraving or a major equipment purchase you can take one for a test drive. Exposure to tools of different crafts (and the folks who are into those crafts) can generate new ideas for woodworking, and for incorporating other materials into projects that are mostly wood.
People go to these facilities to have fun creating things in their chosen medium, or in a combination of media. Here at Popular Woodworking Magazine, we haven’t written much about CNC routers or laser engravers for woodworking. A feature article on makerspaces (and community woodshops) will appear in an upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Make sure you don’t miss the upcoming magazine story, click here to subscribe to the print or digital  version of the magazine, or both. The Woodworkers Guild of South Jersey meets at The Factory, a makers space in Collingswood, NJ.
Probably not all are on here, and some here may have fallen into the black hole of business defeat. But I understand Japanese shop practices as much as I understand all the acronyms my 12-year-old daughter uses when texting.
So I’m always eager to learn about Japanese woodworking from people who have studied and practiced it in Japan. Stanley completed the furniture program at the premier North Bennett Street School as a very young man and then went off to Japan to study the traditional lacquering and woodworking trades. This weekend at the Northeastern Woodworkers Association’s annual show, Stanley was demonstrating his new Sharp Skate honing guide, teaching people to sharpen edge tools and helping people learn to wield a handplane on his Japanese bench.


The bench consists of two trestle-style sawhorses that are topped with one massive slab of a top.
This particular bench was built by James Blauvelt, a Connecticut cabinetmaker, joiner and carpenter who runs the company Bluefield Joiners.
Harrelson Stanley demonstrates how the notch in the top is used to true a plane’s sole. Another interesting feature of the benchtop is a triangular notch cut into the slab up near the planing stop. Chris is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine and the publisher at Lost Art Press. So I guess I’ll still dream about the day when my skills are up to making a Roubo, and keep arguing with myself about how much to chop off the legs.
One logical departure is that Japanese shops are small and often use specific fixtures for whatever is being made. I also appreciate the finite capacity of a tool chest – it forces me to think hard before buying an additional tool. These chests also hold a full set of moulding planes, bench planes and all the small tools needed to make any piece of furniture. It’s an ideal size for someone who works alone, has to move the chest on occasion and doesn’t require a full set of moulding planes. The bottom boards are, however, nailed onto the carcase so they are easily replaced if they rot. I typically dovetail the skirts at the corners, but a well-made miter can survive just fine. Style that does not sacrifice quality, because you want your beautiful woodworking projects to last. Even the experienced staff members here at Popular Woodworking like to complete these easy wood projects from time to time.
You’ll also learn a few things about hole saw kits, ebonizing wood and how to make a homemade drum sander. This attractive box for toys or knick-knacks will teach you how to join boards with simple notched and nailed construction. With this entry bench you’ll learn about panel glueups, curve-cutting and screw joinery. Because we’re all woodworkers here at Popular Woodworking, we generate a huge amount of valuable woodworking information that we cannot possibly cram into the printed magazine.
Use this technique, and your choices aren’t constrained by what woods are available or what’s shown in the veneering catalogs (or your bank account); you are limited only by your imagination. That’s where you’ll lay out the curve cutouts for the feet, which is easier to do while the two halves are connected. It also makes life easy for those times when you need to weld, cut, bend or machine something. There will almost always be someone on the staff, or another member to give advice, share techniques, or talk you out of doing something crazy. One of the reasons is that we don’t like to do stories that require equipment that is out of reach for most of our readers. Eventually we plan on dedicated space on our website to list locations across the country, events and stories .
He came back to this country with a Japanese wife and a deep desire to spread the traditional Japanese practices among Western woodworkers. Except for the teak planing stop, all the bench’s parts are made using Port Orford Cedar, Stanley says, a durable and strong member of the cypress family that grows in the Pacific Northwest.
This notch holds Japanese planes with their soles facing up so the craftsman can dress the tool’s wooden sole with another plane.


After taking a couple warm-up passes, she pulled off a beautiful shaving that was almost entirely full width and full length. I can’t see how this rig would be used to hold wood in the three different orientations, or how it would hold up to serious chisel-chopping. These chests are difficult to move alone, which is a disadvantage if you are by yourself, but is an advantage if someone is trying to steal your chest (the thief needs an accomplice). Speaking of rot, the entire chest sits on two oak “rot strips” screwed to the bottom boards, keeping the chest off a wet floor.
Save your money for lumber, supplies and woodshop projects that will be necessary for your next steps in the craft. So the newsletter and community are both great places for us to share what we know with you. With the use of simple tools and materials you can transform a modest piece of inexpensive furniture, such as this pine bucket bench, into a showpiece. You could use a jigsaw for the rip, and run the shoe of the tool along a straightedge for a more-perfect cut.
Many of our them are space challenged, sharing their shops with water heaters, automobiles, or any number of household items. Yesterday we went up the road to Columbus, Ohio and visited  BuildMore Workshop and the Columbus Idea Foundry two different takes on an idea that is sweeping the country. The reader wondering if woodworking is for them in the first paragraph can rent some time this weekend and find out. No lengthy wait, no big expense, no complaints from the neighbors when you turn on the planer.
While there are woodworking-only makerspaces, cooperative shops and wood shops managed by local clubs, most makerspaces offer access to more tools including 3D printers, electronics, robotics and metalworking equipment. I normally dismiss thoughts about incorporating metal or other non-wood material into my projects because I would have to track down someone to do that work, or tool up to do it. We found ourselves thinking of all the cool things we could do with the access to better technology. Typically, the Japanese woodworker would place a thin board across the two trestles and place the tools he or she needed on that board. Starting out in America, I got paid low wages even though I was a Master; they tried to blame it on my language skills. They think they might enjoy the craft, but for the moment they are limited to dreaming, planning, saving, acquiring tools and setting up shop.
With most, you pay for the time you use it, either an hourly, daily, monthly or yearly rate.
Columbus Ideal Foundry has a large enough facility to include jewelry, glass and blacksmithing areas in addition to wood and metal working. With a membership to a local makerspace, those barriers are removed, my horizons are expanded and my work becomes more interesting.
All of us from time to time face a task that would be ridiculously easy, if we had the proper equipment and the know-how to run it. In addition to the tools and technology, a friendly and helpful community is a vital part of makerspaces.



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