Despite what seems like common sense, John and I like to keep our retail network small and personal. We enjoy working with people who share our philosophy on craft and business. Those people are few and far between.
Recently we began working with Best Made Co., a retail and online store headquartered in Tribeca in New York City. After initial conversations, it became obvious that our businesses were well-matched. Best Made Co. offers really nice tools, knives, books and outdoor clothing.
We are pleased and honored to be associated with Best Made Co. They currently carry three of our titles: “With the Grain,” “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” and “By Hand & Eye.” Be sure to check them out next time you are in the city or online.
I hope to stop by their retail store at 36 White St. during a visit to Brooklyn in January for a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event.
Editor’s note: Mike Siemsen, the host of “The Naked Woodworker” DVD has built a cool little knockdown bench designed for traveling and apartments. Check it out – and we promise that more copies of “The Naked Woodworker” are on the way to our warehouse! Thanks for your patience.
I decided to try my hand at a knockdown bench for transport to shows and demonstrations. Such a bench could also be used by people with limited space.
It is 5’ long so it fits in the trunk of my Honda Civic with its back seats folded down. With the bench’s aprons folded down, it is 6-3/4” thick. If you pull the hinge pins and remove the aprons it is only 4-1/2” thick. It is 22-3/4” wide and stands 32” tall when assembled. The leg sections do not break down. If you leave the aprons attached there is no loose hardware. As to workholding, the crochet is removable for easier transport; there are no vises, only holdfasts and planing stops.
Above is the bench when it is knocked up.
Here it is knocked down. The aprons are hinged to fold flat, or you can knock out the pins and remove the aprons. The leg sections do not disassemble. The legs slide into the large dados in the aprons and pins lock the aprons to the legs.
This is the hardware I made for the leg-to-apron joint. A bolt through the apron and into the leg would work just as well, but I was going for a tool-less knockdown.
The mortise for the crochet before the top goes on.
I made the crochet just a 1″-square stick that slides in a mortise so it can be removed for easier packing and hauling. Chris thinks this is an emasculator, but it is too late for that!
I made a simple planing stop. A 3/4” dowel with a 1/4” x 1” x 1” square of steel screwed to the top. I sharpened the leading edge and cut in some notches. I still need to recess it into the top. I also made a “doe’s foot” and there is a stick that goes in the slot in the center of the bench for use as a planing stop as well for traversing.
Just another shot with one set of legs removed. It is very solid and a bit heavy. I can move it by myself, though.
Here is the hardware for the pins. It is just 1-1/2” x 1/4” steel bar cut to the width of the leg and drilled for a 1/4” x 4 steel pin. Drill them in pairs so the 1/4” holes match up so the pins slide in after assembly. I drilled the apron plate that receives the pin 1/64” bigger in diameter (that’s 9/64”) for clearance and I ground a chamfer on the ends of the pins. The pin is offset because I wanted the holdfast holes in the legs to be in the center.
I used 4” x 4” hinges for the aprons, three on each apron. When you mortise for the hinges make sure there is no gap between the apron and the benchtop.
I used bigger screws than the ones that came with the hinges.
I clamped the legs to the aprons when I bored the holdfast holes through the apron and into the top of the leg. I drew the location of all the hardware and screws on the face of the apron and top of the bench so I wouldn’t hit them when boring holes. You can see that the holes at the bottom of the leg are offset to avoid the screws that attach the stretcher to the leg.
I used the drill press to bore a 3/4” hole through a thick block of wood for a guide for the brace and 3/4” bit. I clamped it for the first hole and then used a holdfast in that hole to clamp it for the next one.
This is a very solid little bench that I plan to bring to Handworks in May 2015.
If I have only one complaint about my life, it is that with all the teaching, writing and building that I do, I have no time left to take woodworking courses for myself.
I don’t drool over tool catalogs. My personal pornographic publications are the brochures and web sites from woodworking schools that teach skills that I want to master.
So when I had dinner with David Savage last summer, you can imagine how long it took me to say “yes” to his following proposition: I teach a class in building a tool chest at his school in Rowden, then stay on for a second week to assist and take a class in sunburst veneering.
Savage has long been one of those woodworkers I wanted to learn from. He does amazing work. And, equally important to me, he is one of the most daring woodworking writers alive today. He is, simply put, nobody’s tool. He is fearless in exploring the craft and his own human failings. Check out some of his articles here.
So this summer I head to Rowden to lead a class in building a dead-nuts traditional tool chest, one I have specially designed for this course. During the first week, Aug. 24-28, we’ll build the chest using hand tools and traditional production methods and joints – dovetails, tongue-and-groove, miters, breadboards etc.
The second week (Aug. 31-Sept. 4) we will embellish the interior lid of the chest with a sunburst veneer pattern designed for the course, plus traditional veneer and crossbanding on the lid of the top till. The goal is for all of the students to walk away with a finished chest, a boatload of newfound skills and a slightly swollen liver.
When David announced the course last week, it filled up immediately. But the wait list is very short right now and these classes always have a certain amount of churn. If you’d like to read more details about Rowden, David’s crack team of instructors and the course, check out these pages here and here. You can sign up for the course’s wait list here.
I’ll be writing more about the chest design in the coming months. It is based off a number of historical examples that have survived quite well and has some features you might consider for your tool chest.