When I plan a new woodworking class, I have to resist all optimism when it comes to how long a certain task will take.
It takes me a day and a half to glue up a top for a Roubo workbench by myself. For a class, I have to double that time (at least). It’s silly to expect the students to be as fast as I am, or be accustomed to being whipped like dogs, or even willing to work with fellow students.
So when I teach a workbench class I cross my fingers that we will get all the tops glued up (with their mortises and planing stops complete) by late Wednesday evening. With that one special student finishing up Thursday before lunch.
This class at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking absolutely blew the doors off the previous record time for building workbench tops by 24 hours. At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, all the tops were glued up and done.
At the moment they cruised to victory I was trying to process 500 pounds of leg material. So I did the only sensible thing. I bought them all beers and let them hang out all afternoon fiddling with their vise hardware.
Why were they so fast? It wasn’t special machines or a super-abundance of clamps – we ran out of clamps several times. The material was the same as always. As was the bench’s design.
The only answer: hard-working students.
My hat is off to you, dudes.
— Christopher Schwarz