Hi from Switzerland beginner

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Hi guys and gals... or should I say "Grüüezi"?  I'm a beginner woodworker and need some advice.  I am an American expat living in Switzerland for the past 14 years for work.  In the two years before moving, I had taken up wood working and had put together a small basement shop.  I completed some beginner-intermediate projects (blanket chest, table, crib).  When I moved, I had to give it all up because of space.  Most Swiss, like me,  live in apartments without garage or basement facilities.  So there is really no space to set up a personal work space to even set up a bench.  Recently I have found a local shared community woodworking shop (my German is now good enough), and was able to complete a simple project (cutting board), so now I am hooked again.  So I thought I would ask some general advice: Simple projects appropriate for a re-entry hobbyist,  woodworking courses that would provide a good basic skill platform that I could build from,  I do have seldom used balcony space at my weekend mountain apartment... I'm thinking that maybe I could build a small rudimentary bench and build small projects with handtools... any ideas about a weather-proof mini-workbenck that would be stable enough for small projects/hand cut dovetails etc? 


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Hi, Brad! Your idea for a balcony workbench is a good one. For hand tool work, you need a rigid, stable work surface, and some way to clamp your work to it.

Is it possible you could store a small bench inside, if it disassembled easily? IMO, that might be a better choice than trying to weather-proof it.

We've had some apartment dwellers around here. I recall one that used a heavy plank across his bathtub as a workbench. 

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If the bench is going to live at your weekend place I would just store it inside during the week. You could put a vinyl tablecloth over it at night if you leave it out overnight. Maybe you could clamp it to the railing for more stability when you are using it. Leaving a bench outside would lead to it absorbing moisture no matter how hard you try to weatherproof it. They make casters for workbenches that lock down to move it then flip up so it rests on its feet. Adjustable feet with a rubber cushion will help keep the bench still and allow you to level it on an uneven balcony.

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8 hours ago, Brad in CH said:

Simple projects appropriate for a re-entry hobbyist

Because of your space constraints small boxes like jewelry or keepsake boxes can provide to opportunity to learn different types of joinery and other techniques.  And you can end up with nice gifts.

There is a lot here https://www.thewoodwhisperer.com as far as learning techniques and he also has a pay per project website that gives you hours of quality video instruction on each project.  It allows you to watch, learn and work at your pace. 

And welcome to the forums Brad hope to see you post some projects here in the future.

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I'd just make the workbench out of some sore of dense oily jungle wood like Ipe or the like. If that stuff holds up as decking no reason why it wouldn't work as a bench. it's density also helps keep it from moving around. A grill cover would also work well to keep it out of the elements. I'd personally put a stick underneath the cover so it wasn't on the work surface trapping moisture against the wood.

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Welcome, Brad! Not knowing what styles you might be interested in, I'd suggest a good project might be a small, Krenov style wall cabinet or cabinet on stand, since it can be made in two parts. Pretty much all of it can be done with hand tools.


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Where in Schweitz? My dad and his wife lived in Lucerne for many years. I was able to visit many times and loved to browse the hardware stores and lust after the tools. They all have that ‘funny’ power cord. Welcome!

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