Making A Start

by | Dec 18, 2015 | 25 comments

The start of this week saw the start of our English Workbench Series, and after the weekend we’ll be moving on to getting the trestles joined.

It’s been a busy time for us here as Richard completes his final Maguire Workbench and I’ve been finishing the edits for our latest video series; deciding which of Richard’s remarks are unsuitable for a family audience and polishing everything up.

Truing the workbench frame

Next year will see a big change for us and we’re planning plenty of content for here on the blog with our hand plane build coming early on.
Workbenches continue to be our focus this Christmas though and if you’re considering joining us with our English Workbench build here’s a few things you can expect to learn throughout the series:

– Mastering face & edge marks and taking short cuts
– Basics of hand prepping – Removing twist, straightening edges, flattening boards
– Cutting dovetailed lap joints – splitting the cheeks
– Building the face vice – understanding the design and maintenance. Cutting mortices and twin mortice and tenons
– Flattening a bench top
– Understanding workbench design, and the glueless bench top
hand planing to remove twistThe idea with this series is to be able to build a bench to last you a lifetime, by hand with minimal investment. The bench itself is a traditional English design, ideal for building and using by hand. Richard will be going through some of the design decisions in more detail shortly, but basically it’s old school, time tested and simple, with a few Richard quirks added.

Read more about the materials and tools needed, and purchase the series here.


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About Helen Fisher

About Helen Fisher

Helen seeks to explore ways to live with greater joy & sustainability for both ourselves & the planet. Concepts which have led to the launch of her second business We Are Carbon. As the producer of our videos, Helen brings a unique perspective & injects life to our education ensuring it is both a pleasure to watch & easy to follow & learn from. Learn More About Helen & The English Woodworker.


  1. Ken Haygarth

    I’m late to the party, but I will be along soon. Merry Christmas everyone 😉

    • Helen

      Merry Christmas Ken! 🙂

  2. James

    Editing concern: Richard’s remarks that are unsuitable for a family audience is why I enjoy his videos…the woodworking is good as well;)

    • Rob

      Indeed! We are all over forty. : )

      • Helen

        Is ‘shaking like a sh****g dog’ acceptable, or do we draw a line? 😉

        • Tracy

          It’s a shame there can’t be two versions but I understand that doubles the amount of editing.

        • James

          Lol. Love it.

        • Jasper

          I don’t know. Is that what dogs do? Then it’s fine with me. I draw lines with the same pencil that I use for writing any word I like. Please don’t polish off the patina. Still like this bench!

        • Thomas

          no one but adults in my house lol . The cultural and linguistic asides is one of the things I like the most! I occasionally even catch my wife trying not to laugh behind her ‘puter .

        • James Watriss

          If you must edit such things out, I really think there should be an ‘out takes’ section.

          Speaking only for myself, I have a hard time thinking that someone who speaks like a school teacher all the time is actually addressing serious adults.

    • Peter

      I strongly agree.

  3. Tim

    I’m a premium member and purchased both video series even though I just finished building a Nicholson style workbench using construction-grade lumber. It’s a show of support for what you guys do. Richard is incredibly knowledgeable and has a colorful personality to go with his skills. My wish is for you to “go easy” in the editing room. Merry Christmas to all!

  4. António

    “…which of Richard’s remarks are unsuitable for a family audience…”

    Helen: Just put a red dot flashing in the corner as a warning and leave it as it is 🙂
    I like his “expressions”….
    Or just make an outtakes video and “youtube-it”, I can anticipate millions of views and likes.

    Merry Christmas and Happy new Year to You
    Carry on with the good work old chap!

  5. James Waldron

    If you clean up Richard too much, you might as well film in black and white. His expressiveness lends most of the color to the site and is a major contributor to your success to date.
    The start-up of this session is not good timing for me, so I’ll have to catch up a bit later. Looks like a worthwhile series, so I’ll get there soon as I can.
    Good luck with everyone else.

  6. Gary Tucker


    Great job catching the mouse on camera. It fit right in with Richard’s commentary. Have a Merry Christmas.

  7. Derek Long

    Most of the time I have to take a moment to figure out if Richard was not being “family friendly” or not. We Americans need a dictionary of English profanities on hand to keep score. 🙂

    Change not a thing.

  8. Dan G

    I don’t concur with the idea that non-family-oriented language is an attraction. I payed for both video series and I follow the blog *despite* the bad language and occasional double-entendres. I don’t even think the word bloody is necessary. It doesn’t add anything to the value of what you are producing. Tom Fidgen and Paul Sellers don’t use that kind of language and they seem to be doing well. But I prefer Richard’s instruction over theirs because Richard’s style of instruction (clarity of thought, organization of ideas and concepts) as well as his methods and philosophy all fit very well with my goals. So I will continue to follow but I think cleaning up the language would be a valuable improvement which would most likely attract far more business than it would drive away. My 2 cents/pence.

    • Peter

      I think the ‘colourful’ language is entertaining, however I wouldn’t want it to be any stronger: for me, that would be overstepping the mark.

  9. Len A


    I know you won’t sanitise him but there are somethings that are perhaps best left out and we will leave it to your good judgement what bits hit the editing floor. I do like the idea of an outtakes selection for adult audiences. 🙂

    I like the fact that Richard never comes across as condescending and doesn’t talk down to us unlike some others that are around.

    I agree with Tim – you both deserve our support because you pass across skills to us regardless as to whether we need to build this particular project. Each episode comes with at least one golden nugget. Roll on the next episode and I look forward to seeing Richard next week.


    • Jeff S

      I agree with Len. Most of us may be over 40 (or 50 or … ), but I’d like to be able to get my grandkids started so family-oriented would be appreciated. Richard’s wonderful style comes through with everything he says, a few missing words won’t spoil the experience.

      Everything you’ve done so far has been great, looking forward to much more.

  10. Tim C

    Many years ago, when I was in the Navy, I ate breakfast every morning with three hundred guys who made Richard sound like my minister.

    I don’t think you’re talking to any virgins out here, so just focus on content, and let the chips fall where thry may- no pun intended.

  11. Dave Ray

    Helen, please let us enjoy Richard as he is. The same as you do. Merry Christmas.

  12. Len A

    Well today I had the pleasure of meeting Richard in person as he installed his ‘final’ workbench in my workshop here at home.

    It is, as you would expect, a superbly crafted piece of kit and I am both pleased and honoured to have his last build. (or at least his last bench for sometime- never say never).

    We chatted away over a mug of tea and bacon butties (sandwiches to our American friends) and he enjoyed looking at my grandfather’s tools I recently inherited from my late uncle Jack, who himself lived to almost 93. Grandad was born in 1887 so many of the tools date back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. Including a Stanley transitional Liberty Bell plane. Richard I thoroughly enjoyed our encounter and thank you very much for your visit. I trust you got home safely to Lincolnshire.

    Merry Christmas to you and Helen.


  13. Joe

    Political correctness is bland! Don’t edit out the spontaneity which gives the presentation its’ richness.

  14. Richard Damien

    Waiting to the the changes and also for the video. Hopefully we will get videos very soon.



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