These first few projects that I have highlighted so far were great learning opportunities and helped me build confidence in building projects with hand tools. They did however underscore the importance of having a workbench of proper design. My increasing use of western handsaws also highlighted my need for proper saw benches.
In mid 2014, Lost Art Press released a dvd entitled the Naked Woodworker. In this video, Mike Siemsen shows beginning woodworkers how to select and restore tools, build a saw bench and construct a Nicholson style workbench. This instructional resource was perfect for me as a I lacked saw benches and workbench and needed some guidance on construction of a workbench. Mke Siemsen does an excellent job in this two dvd set and presents very clear details and methods.
I started these two projects after Christmas 2014. I finished the saw benches in a couple days of the holiday break. The workbench took me a couple of weeks working at night. There were some pretty cold nights during that time period while I worked outside in my shed. Finishing these items definitely changed the types of items I could build and the workholding methods I could employ. After about an hour of using the workbench, I started to glimpse how critical a solid, well-designed truly is for hand tool woodworking. The sawbenches followed the exact design outlined in the Naked Woodworker, while the workbench proportions were adjusted so it could be built 5 feet long to fit in the workspace of my shed.
And here they are…