Category Archives: The Shop

Recent Shop Improvements

Several members made it into the shop this weekend to get the new Sawstop up and running. There are still a few modifications to make it blend in with surrounding tools but it’s a vast improvement over the other table saws we’ve had. Thanks to all those that helped make this happen. This includes those who helped out financially and physically by unpackaging it and getting it calibrated and ready for some cuts.

And not to be out done, but the guys also got this miter saw station installed thanks to a kind donation from one of our new members. It too is a welcome addition to the shop.

Cut away

Cut away

Be sure to stop in and thanks those who made this happen.

Summer Closes But Hand Tools Open Up

Over the past several months, we’ve been battling the heat to crank out a hand tool bench for the shop. Here is the fruit of our labor.


Nicholson Bench

Hand tool enthusiast, Shawn Nichols, first read about this style of bench several years ago in Chris Schwarz’s book on workbenches. This type of bench is referred to as a Nicholson or English Joiner’s Bench as it was first illustrated in a book by Perter Nicholson in the 19th century. Then last year a series of posts about getting into woodworking on the cheap popped up from woodworker Mike Siemsen. These were followed by the publication of a DVD entitled The Naked Woodworker.

The title might sound comical, and it partially is, but this concept seemed like the perfect thing for the NCCW. What better way to get into hand tools than on a shoe string budget? Here a few pictures of the bench going together.

Last week, holes were bored and “Doe’s feet” or “Dürer Sticks” were made. If you don’t know what they are used for, please take a look at this video or this blog post. While we’re educating, here are a few videos showing more principles behind this very intriguing and easy-on-the-wallet design.

Plans for Knockdown Nicholson

How to Knockdown the Knockdown Nicholson

Video on Work-holding Without a Vise

There are still things to add to make this better (holdfasts, shelf, bench dogs, crochet, etc.) but for now it’s up and running and ready for you to use. I hope you enjoy all the hard work the team put in on this fun and HEAVY project.

A Place to Hang Your Hat

Ted and I finished up the coat rack last week just in time to put our winter coats away. Oh well, better late than never. It was a lot of fun. Here are some pics of the finished product and the final build.

Stop over and see it.




The Coat Rack Begins

Yesterday, Ted and I started working on the coat rack Ed mentioned a few weeks ago. We adapted the design from a Popular Woodworking article authored by hand tool enthusiast Christopher Schwarz. Our first task was to find the right boards from the piles at the shop. In the beginning the wood looked pretty rough; kinda like the picture shows.

Here's the general look of  the boards before surfacing.

Here’s the general look of the boards before surfacing.

But after some careful milling on the jointer and planer, they looked pretty decent and ready for the next step.

The boards after the milling process. The figure is really nice on these old boards

The boards after the milling process. The figure is really nice on these old boards

This established the top and front of the rack. We thought it needed some sides to make hanging your coat a little easier. Plus the sides make it a little easier on the eyes. There’s no sense taking gorgeous cherry and ruining it with an ugly design.  The design from the plans called for larger sides because it was intended to be a tool rack. We thought we could shorten them and get away with it. We also knew things thing needed some curves so we grabbed Mark’s Roll Top Desk templates and sketched out a few iterations. We settled on the picture below.

Thanks for the templates Mark!

Thanks for the templates Mark!

Using the bandsaw and both sanders we got the sides looking great. Next we cut the top and front to final size, squaring everything up in the process. After just two hours of designing, contemplating, and cutting, we end up with what you see here.

IMG_5529 IMG_5530 IMG_5532

Our next steps include breaking the edges, sanding, adding the pegs, joining the whole thing together and then hanging it up. This is a great example of what can be accomplished in a few short hours using the tools from the shop.

Please leave a comment and let us know what you think.

Projects Committee

Hello!  My name is Ed O’Halloran and I am in charge of the Projects Committee for the shop.

In early January, the NCCW formed the Projects Committee to identify and organize project that would make the shop a safer and more functional place to work.  Some of the projects identified are:

  • Drill Press Table with Storage for Bits (Drill & Forstner), Clamps, and Chuck Key. (In Progress)
  • Router Bit Storage Cabinet with room to store the wrench.
  • Storage Cabinet for the Jointer. 
  • “Store Front” – a project to seal off the area above and around the front desk to save on the heat bill.
  • Coat Rack
  • Down Draft Tables for the Sanding Stations
  • Lockers
  • Cross Cut sled for the table saw

These are just a few of many, many more.


The way I envision this working is that anyone can step up and take on a project from the list or suggest their own. They would coordination the project and get it built.  I am here to offer as much or I a little help as one may need.  Ideally, the individual taking on the project would publish times that they would be working, and others could sign up for that project and join in.  Just keep me informed as to what you are working on and your progress.  This would be a great opportunity for a beginner to get some valuable experience!

There will be more information to come, but until then, if you have any questions or comments please let me know.

I can be reached at:


Thank you,