Review Show No. 4 “Monster Workbench” with Matt Kenney

September 15, 2011

Title: Monster Workbench
Run Time: 30 Minutes
Production Date: 2010
Produced By: Taunton Press
Price: $29.95 US (Buy Now)
Marc’s Score: 3.6 Grape Sodas out of 5
Matt”s Score: 3.5 Grape Sodas out of 5

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From the Back of the Case:

“Learn how to construct this workbench from the experts at Fine Woodworking. Watch as they guide you through the critical steps and techniques needed to build this shop workhorse that’s so big and impressive it’s called The Monster Bench. Perfect for hand and power tool use, it features a thick top on a sturdy base with both glued and knockdown mortise and tenon joints, plus twin-screw vise and plenty of dog holes. Includes digital SketchUp plan. Great for beginners and intermediate woodworkers.”

Our Thoughts:

The Monster Workbench is a solid and straightforward offering. In the last few years, the common workbench has come under scrutiny and a bench like this tends to get a bad rap these days. So for me, it was refreshing to see a simple yet sturdy single-vise design with little in the way of bells or whistles. Kenney provides reasonable justification for his design and executes it in a way that really resonates with me. He clearly is a hybrid woodworker and takes the time to show some techniques using hand tools only as an alternative, making this project approachable for everyone. My only significant gripe with this production is the length. There are many subtle details and solutions to problems that inevitably arise when building a workbench. It would have been nice to see these issues addressed given the fact that there was plenty of room on the DVD, and in all likelihood the footage fell to the editing room floor. Judging from the reference to “episodes” in the script, I assume this production was originally intended for the website and as we know, anything over 5 minutes is far too long for the average woodworker to sit through (dripping with sarcasm).

The Breakdown:

Entertainment Value: Marc 2.5/5 | Matt 3/5
Production Quality: Marc 4/5 | Matt 3/5
Information Quality: Marc 3.5/5 | Matt 3.5/5
Overall Value: Marc 3.5/5 | Matt 3.5/5
Keeps Its Promise: Marc 4/5 | Matt 3.5/5
Final Score: Marc 3.6/5 | Matt 3.5/5

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Comments (2)

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  1. Jack says:

    I agree about the need in the market to over deliver from promises. Stores do better that provide not just good price but unexpectedly good service, movie DVDs that don’t provide ‘additional material’ are not considered ‘premium entertainment’. You guys on your various shows provide not just the technical details but humor and a great entertainment flavor. All that said, even techie video’s are not expected to go above and beyond to be considered ‘good’.

    Yes, you did over belabor the ‘smile’ aspect. But even in call centers where the people are never seen, ‘smiling’ for the customer is greatly encourage. You can ‘hear’ the customer service reps smile. (At least it keeps them from being to grouchy sounding.) … And the same goes for DVD’s and other video’s. Looking like the presenter is enjoying the process helps a lot (Even Norm used to make sure he presented a pleasant face, even when he concentrated on the project. But he did have a advantage of a ‘production team’ to keep him focused on video production as well as the technical aspect.)

  2. Joe Zagula says:

    Great info. Your evaluation of monster workbench DVD is great. I am a intermediate woodworker and have been looking for a good workbench plan.

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