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When we started this series I don’t think anyone realised it could possibly be so popular. It’s taken a lot to pull it all together but now I am so glad we chose to do what we did. The results are staggering in terms of how many people have watched the series, that’s great, but it’s the impact it had on changing people’s perspectives about benches, about hand tools, about craftsmanship, workmanship, work, woodworking and much more that has impressed me. You see what’s impressive is the fact that, well, its so ordinary. I mean the work is so woodworking and so uncomplicated. Not at all complicated or difficult and all the way through we never really stopped to think of the dangers because there really weren’t any. It’s not the first time I have made benches in my back garden (yard US) or in my living room, once in a den and another time in our kitchen. It’s been a part of my life and my children’s lives as they have grown into craftsmen. Joseph made and sold benches that some of you work at when you go out into your workshops some years ago. He also made beautiful marking knives and mallets. To me, this series has been very much a relational approach to woodworking and going of the stack of emails and such there are now a few hundred benches around the world made according to the video series here and all with good results.
You can watch this second to the last in the series here and see just how this bench-build works in shaping new-genre woodworkers around the world. It’s not fancy or difficult yet the results are that people now have working benches that really work well for the most demanding craftsmen and women.
The methods of work taught in the series shows the effectiveness of proper layout and tool use as well as how you can work with the most minimal amount of tools that can be purchased on eBay and from flea markets. I think that the bench-build including buying secondhand tools may have cost less than £200 and that’s for a lifetime bench and a set of lifetime tools. That’s not hobby quality tools but top quality tools. Beyond that lies the most critical element; going off the emails and responses on the blog and forums, many a dozen of you has discovered that hand tools really got the job done for me and decided to have a go themselves in their back yards, garages and sheds and kitchens. This is the Real Woodworking Campaign in action.
Now that we have results still coming in on what bench heights suit real people working wood in real ways we have a better idea of what to base good working heights at depending on whether you are a hand tool woodworker working wood by hand or with machines and hand methods or a machine-only woodworker relying on machine methods for everything. The needs of both camps are different and so we will discuss that in an upcoming blog and learn how to meet the needs of both.