People just like what I do and buy it. As for schooling, my clients are my teachers. They’re the ones who bring me the design problems. Schools get too easily divorced from the real world. In many places students graduate and become teachers without ever making a living from their work. They grow stale. There’s a preciousness I see in a lot of student work that comes from having too many hours to put into it. Perfection is fine, and nothing has left my shop that I’m not proud of, but you have to produce if you are going to make a living. I’ve heard people say they have to put a piece of wood aside until the spirit hits them. That’s procrastination. Pick it up and work it – you’ll feel the spirit. No, I think it’s an advantage being self-taught.
Combining a workbench with tool storage is always a balancing act. Here’s a solution I have not seen in the wild (though some have proposed it).
It’s a workbench where the back half of the benchtop (15” x 102”) lifts up to reveal a shallow tool well. Though I’ve not worked on a bench like this, I suspect it has these plusses and minuses:
When the lid is down, you have a full workbench surface that will support carcase sides etc. This is superior to an always-open tool well in my opinion.
The downside is you have to work in a manner that is particular to this bench. I suspect the best way to work on this bench would be to leave the top open as much as possible, giving you access to the tools in the well. Then, when you had to plane a wide panel, you would temporarily lower the lid to create a wide work surface. One other possible downside: Assembly on this benchtop could be tricky. You would have to ensure you had all the tools you needed before you closed the top to make an assembly surface.
So I think it’s clearly workable. If I were to build a bench like this, I would consider making the lid in two or three hinged sections. That, however, could create some problems with flattening the top and keeping all the bits in line.
From studying the photos, the person who built the bench clearly was skilled. Check out the mitered dovetail on the shoulder vise and the filleted ovolo on the end of the vise. I suspect the painted boards that fill the base were a later addition – they don’t seem in character with the remainder of the workmanship.
My favorite detail is they are using a marking gauge as one of the dogs for the tail vise.
According to the Craigslist ad, the top is 113″ long x 44″ wide. The top is 34” from the floor. The base is 77″ long. Thanks to Gerald Yungling for pointing this one out.