COMPACT BAR DESIGNED FOR SMALL SPACES – Just big enough to get the job done.

So, this bar is based on the full-sized model I shared earlier this year. For today’s bar, I wanted to refine the original prototype by reducing the overall size and adding some strength to the top and shelves. Like its big brother, the new bar incorporates easy-to-mill materials and joinery to help speed up the build time.

To get this bar done quickly, I’m using cap molding and a healthy amount of plywood. For assembly, I’m using wood screws, construction adhesive, some brads and pocket hole joints. I’ll run through the major steps using SketchUp Make.

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PLACE YOUR SHOP WHEREVER YOU NEED IT – Put this bench/cabinet combo right to work.

Here’s another workbench concept that’s designed for a small shop. If you’re using a temporary or small work area to build your projects, this bench can help keep most of your milling tools handy. There’s room to run a benchtop saw and storage for your favorite hand and power tools.

Using SketchUp Make, I’ll run through the design and construction tactics used to build the bench. Joinery used on this project includes pocket hole joints, rabbits, biscuit joints, a few wood screws and dowels. For materials, I’ve gone with ¾ inch pine, ½ inch MDF and a couple ¼ inch pegboard sections.

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Small Workbench Design in SketchUp

by Jim on March 23, 2017

GETTING MORE INTO SKETCHUP – A virtual walk-through of the last bench project.

After putting together a live demonstration of my mini workbench, I wanted to use the project to work on my SketchUp skills. The original bench design was done with graph paper and lots of trial and error in the shop. I’ve found that using SketchUp takes much of the guesswork out of a build. The SketchUp model allows you to work out many of the problems you might not notice with your old school paper plans. In this video, I’ll walk through the bench design on the computer.

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Building a Bar for Your Home

by Jim on February 5, 2017

HOME BAR DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION – Looking at the bar build using a SketchUp model.

If you were interested in the bar project I’d shared a couple years ago. I finally put together a more comprehensive build video. Using a SketchUp model in today’s video clip, I’ll take a close-up look at each bar component – from the inner frame & panels, to the layered top, to the laminated bar rails.

This bar is one of the bigger projects I’ve tackled and I’m pleased with the final design. But sorting out the details was a real challenge. The project inspired me to get into SketchUp and, after working with an expert, I’m going to start posting my own SketchUp videos of upcoming project builds.

I’d love to hear what you think of this build demonstration, so drop a comment below to tell me what you think of the new video format featuring SketchUp demos.

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Woodworking Workbench Construction

by Jim on November 12, 2016

BENCH BUILD – Easy-access tool storage makes this bench more useful in the shop

Here’s a way to keep your favorite tools handy when working on a project. This mini bench combines some pegboard and a small shop vac to cut down your tool hunting time. Today I’ll go through the design and construction steps.

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TRUNK PROJECT BUILD – A little router work helps liven-up this simple trunk design

Here is a more detailed demonstration of the construction of this tack trunk project. Today, I’ll take a look at the glue-up, router work and jointery of the trunk and accessory tray. I’ll also share my recommendations for hardware and finishes for this project. Using solid pine for these trunks adds a bit of time to the build compared to plywood but can give you more options for jazzing up the design.

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TACK TRUNK WOODWORKING PROJECT – Revisiting a favorite weekend project.

Since the original tack trunk video was a little short on details, I put together an updated version of this project. The new video should give you a better look at the trunk design and provides more specifics on the build process and materials used. I’ve also updated the hardware selection and included all building costs.

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Another Look at Freehand Sign Carving

by Jim on July 29, 2016

POTTING BENCH SIGN BUILD – Creating your own custom letter templates

With a couple sheets of carbon paper and some practice, this carving technique lets you add a custom sign to your next project. Here’s an overview of the potting bench sign I created, starting with a paper template drafted on the computer.

Thanks to Jim Bartz for sharing this freehand carving method. Using Jim’s carving tactics, you can add almost any style lettering to your signs. If you’d like to personalize a project, freehand sign carving gives you the freedom to build something truly unique.

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Building a Potting Bench for the Garden

by Jim on July 24, 2016


A FUN OUTDOOR PROJECT – Completing the base for the cedar bench

With summer in full swing, I thought I’d revisit the potting bench project from a couple summers back. Today, I’ll go over the steps for building the bench with dowels, pocket holes and laminated legs.

Next week, I’ll take another look at the build for the upper shelf and the routed sign that helps personalize this project.

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LEARNING SKETCHUP – A Little Pain Goes a Long Way

As a brand new user, here is my two cents on SketchUp and what it can do for you when designing an involved woodworking project. This bar was a real bear to get build using my usual graph paper drawing method. After working with a SketchUp expert, I’m sold on learning the software this year. Love to hear how long it took you to get decent on SketchUp.

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