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How to start a woodshop?

How do you begin woodworking when you have no woodshop? Sure, you can go buy the tools, but you’ll realize early on you need a good solid work surface. I’ve tried many different approaches. I built a table using Kreg Jig pocket hole joinery which worked well. I also purchased some sawhorses from Lowes or Home Depot that were the plastic variety. Those did not work well. They broke very soon after purchase. I’ve even worked on the floor of my garage and a cheap folding table. None of the options worked well, and I was faced with the ever-pressing question of how do you build a workbench without a workbench?

Not diving straight into the workbench, I decided to make some trestles that Paul Sellers has on his site. These are a pair of supports that can be used to support wood, store wood, or you could lay plywood over them for a work surface. They are a cousin to the sawhorse in a way. They are a good weight and super sturdy. They stack next to each other nicely and don’t take up much space. Here are a couple photos of the trestles:

I made a couple of mistakes while building mine. Cutting all the pieces to size went fine, but the order of assembly could have been better. Here are some tips:

  1. After assembling the feet and posts, clamp the lower rail between the two posts. The location at this point is not critical, you are just ensuring the posts are spaced apart correctly.

  2. With the lower rail clamped, attach the Top Rail to the posts. Then attach the gussets on the posts and top rail. (I did these last, and realized I’d positioned my lower rail too high)

  3. Now that the top rail is installed, unclamp the lower rail and position it where you like. Make sure there is enough room for the gussets to fit.

  4. Be sure to set the lower rail the same distance from the ground on both trestles.

 I’m very pleased with the results. My bare shop no has two trestles that are so solid they will likely last a lifetime. They cost far less than the poorly constructed plastic sawhorses I had bought previously, and each trestle took me about 2.5hrs each to make.

Here is Paul’s YouTube video to get you started:

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