Friday, March 10, 2017

today in the css woodshop.

Yesterday I went to Springfield, Missouri to the headquarters of Grizzly Tools to check out the work benches they have for woodworkers.  I'm exploring options to buy benches for the new wood studio at ESSA rather than making them ourselves.

The one I had in mind is too large and has a tool storage system that one of the experts at Grizzly cautioned against. His advice was to go with the bench that has drawers rather than a tipping tool compartment because when loaded with tools or materials, the compartment becomes too heavy for some to operate safely.

The cabinet/bench with lots of drawers would be impractical in a school setting, but they did have the oak benches shown with two drawers and steel legs.  As it is adjustable in height and rigid, it would be perfect in a elementary or middle school setting, or would be the perfect amateur woodworker's bench. At ESSA, we are aiming to take things to a bit higher level.

On Tuesday I will have the walk through with the electrician to finalize the location of wiring.

I'll have the high school students at Clear Spring today. Some will be working on veneered boxes. Some are working on "paper" airplanes (at their own request), and some are working on practice swords for martial arts.

Parents and staff at the Clear Spring School are preparing for our annual fundraiser, The Clear Spring Fling. It is an art auction that raises money to support the school. I will have a couple pieces in it sold in the live auction. More about the event can be found here.

Make, fix, and create. Increase the likelihood that others learn likewise.


  1. This bench above resembles the Taiwan made benches that end up on the mainland sometimes. They have several inherent drawbacks although the models available to you might vary.
    The holes are an odd, likely metric, size so you will struggle to adapt matching fixtures.
    The actual benchtop thickness is thinner than the side laminated pieces lead you to believe.
    The vises are unredeemable; they rack and the guidebars require constant retightening.
    The double benchstop as shown doesn't fit into all the paired hole spacings and is really too high for most any applications like surface planing.
    In short, this line of benches exhibits the same drawbacks as many items made in Asia: they are produced by a workforce who don't understand what they are making; they are marketed by a salesforce who only consider price; they are bought by retailers who have little concern about maintaining brand value; lastly, they are bought by amateur woodworkers and administrators who have little in the marketplace to compare with.

  2. It sounds like you have experience with this bench, and I'm sure you are right about your observations. In this model on the showroom floor, there were some problems showing up due to the expansion and contraction of wood. You make something in Asia and export it to the US and shrinkage takes place in the winter months.

    We are not buying this model for ESSA and will go with a much more expensive one for school use.

    But if you cannot afford better, this bench would provide some value.