Author: Jeff Branch

Three SketchUp Projects – What I Learned

ometimes I hear compliments like “your SketchUp skills are crazy good” or something else equally kind. I know SketchUp pretty well, but I think the things I do with SketchUp tend to be the same kind of work; the same thing over and over. So when an opportunity to do a different kind of SketchUp project comes along I give it full consideration and on occasion, I’ll do free SketchUp work, especially if it has the potential to test my skills in a new way. I recently completed three SketchUp projects and this is what I learned from them… The AWG Workstation I lead a SketchUp workshop at the Alabama Woodworkers Guild. I am careful not to call this a class because that would then make me the teacher and while I have learned a lot about SketchUp, I don’t feel I have the broad knowledge to be called a teacher or instructor. But, I am getting there. Recently the Guild asked me to create a SketchUp model for a new workstation. It is a …

Moravian Workbench: Installing The Second Vise

ust as I began the installation of the second vise for my new workbench (an end vise), I saw a blog post by Richard Maguire saying that you don’t need a second vise. In fact the title of his post, “Why Your Workbench Needs One Vice (Or Less)” implies that you can get away with no vise at all. And I recently pointed to a video by Mike Siemsen where he shows several ways to use a workbench without a vise. But, If that isn’t enough, I have heard Fine Woodworking authors Mike Pekovich and Matt Kenney talk about how they dislike end vises. Specifically, they don’t like pinching stock (heard on Shop Talk Live). Pinching stock is when you place a board between a bench dog and an end vise and clamp it in place. All of these woodworkers do great work, all of them teach woodworking, so they are people whom I listen to and respect. Now then, I know something about having a workbench with no vise at all. For many years, I …

An Update to “Old World Dining Table”

Since I published my 15th woodworking plan titled You Can Build an Old World Dining Table, several factors fell into place which led to an update. Whether it’s building a piece of furniture or creating a woodworking plan, if I know it can be better, my conscience bugs me until I make it right. With Old World Dining Table, a few comments led to a realization that the table didn’t look old world enough. In a post I wrote about the design of the table, I mentioned playing around with gothic arches in the leg assembly. I omitted these arches because with chairs in place, said arches would be hard to see. Also, adding them to the woodworking plan would make explaining the construction process much more difficult and equally difficult to pull off in the workshop. I am treating these arches sort of like floating panels, so they fit in grooves with other joinery close by… But, not having the arches bugged me. It’s like my conscience was telling me, “Jeff, put the arches …