Why You Need a Low Bench – I Mean Bed


A common question when I am on the road: “So when you aren’t woodworking, do have any other hobbies? Sports? Guns?”

Answer: “I enjoy woodworking, writing about woodworking, listening to loud music when woodworking, reading about woodworking, drinking a beer while talking about woodworking and cooking.”

So I am always the quietest person at a regular-person party.

I know I’m weird. But I feel less alone when students send me photos like the one above. Yup, after we finished up a brutal weekend class on building a Dutch tool chest at William Ng Woodworking School, Nathan went back to his Best Western to finish the job.

I did the same thing. On my day off I sneaked back into the school and finished detailing out the chest I built during the class. I had to go back to the school because my bed at the Extended Stay America was 38” high – too high to plane against.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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16 Responses to Why You Need a Low Bench – I Mean Bed

  1. fitz says:

    So…your bed would be perfect for Pau…never mind.

    • Sean Hynes says:

      You had me stumped for a second, and that laughing out loud when I worked it out!

      Obviously P’s bed was that height when he started his apprenticeship, and he’s pretty sure everyone he worked with had a bed that high, therefore everybody should have a bed that high (and anyone with a differing opinion is crazy and don’t know what they’re talking about.

  2. rwyoung says:

    Just use a couple of the Gideon stock supports to raise up your work.

  3. This is awesome. 😂


  4. “… I sneaked back…”

    This makes me happy. That is all.

    • stryder762 says:


      • After years of my mum harping on with, “How do you decline the verb? Sneak – Snack – Snuck?” when I was a kid, I guess it finally took.

        Now it’s a pet peeve. It was also the subject of the first argument I had with my now-wife on our first date! And she STILL married me!

  5. Sean Hynes says:

    This post reminds me of a question I meant to pose to you in an earlier blog post but didn’t get around to.

    You mentioned that your father completed an entire project while on bed rest. I would love to know the setup and techniques he used.

  6. nateharold says:

    I was at the Extended Stay America, but it was bed mass that was the problem. I changed to the Best Western because their beds are meatier. I didn’t push the bed across the room even when planing end grain.

    Yes, I cleaned up the shavings.

  7. woodgods says:

    Puts a new spin on “Lives Eats Breaths and SLEEPS Woodworking”
    Your love commitment and passion is a strong driving force for many.


  8. jdcook72 says:

    I suspect an interest of yours you’ve not mentioned is watches. I have this interest, who else but a WIS would notice, and now that the topic of other hobbies has come up I have an opportunity to see if my hunch is correct. Regardless, I’ve always thought the Sinn to be handsome and have long pined for one of their UTCs.

  9. theindigowoodworker says:

    You could have used the desk. They’re about 28″ – 29″ tall. Don’t all lower priced motel rooms have a desk about that height? That’s plenty short enough for you to get a backache over. In that time you saved by not going back to the shop you could have done something important like building a better bird house. The world needs an Arts & Crafts birdhouse. I’m not sure a Campaign birdhouse would sell. This calls for a new book and a new style. Shaker might sell too… Maybe you could do a book on Shaker and Arts & Crafts birdhouses, throw in a few country style birdhouse with heart shaped entrance holes for good measure. Sounds like a Pop Woodworking blast from the past! Make sure you have at least 101 plans in it. If you pull this off the world would be a better place and you could move on from the Great Bench Height Controversy of 2014. It’s a true win/win situation for everyone!

  10. Tim Aldrich says:

    I think that whenever PF is on the road, the fallen branches around his hotel magically transform into spoons overnight.

  11. It’s always nice to hear about other folks who are the quietest at normal people parties. It’s not our fault that the rest of the world doesn’t want to hear about y’all pitch and ribbon figure.

  12. David Ewing says:

    Ill take you up on everything but the writing about woodworking….

    Ill be at the bench class at Marc Adams School in June. Being a local Id enjoy talking about woodworking over a pint at the local brewery.

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