The Ultimate Workbench Do-it-Yourself Public Woodshop

I would like to announce the opening of the Ultimate Workbench, do-it-yourself public woodshop in Hamilton, New Jersey. For complete details please visit our website at www.ultimateworkbench.com.
Our 8,000 s.f. facility features a first-rate Delta/Porter-Cable woodshop, woodworking classes, and a retail store. If you can dream it, you can build it. Whether you are new to woodworking or an experienced craftsperson, you will find our shop to be an excellent outlet for your next project.
We have a full complement of equipment including five lathes, two tablesaws, a 15 inch and 13 inch planer, an 8 inch jointer, and much more. We have ample storage available for member projects. A shop safety foreman is always available to assist you with the equipment, and to help you with your projects.
During our grand opening celebration we are offering deep discounts on memberships, block time passes, classes and more. Right now (December 4, 2004), for example, a peak one-year membership is just $39.99/month.
Our class schedule is growing rapidly, and currently includes, an introduction to woodworking class, a basic and intermediate level turning course, a class in cabinetmaking, and a sharpening class. Also, on December 18th from 11am - 2pm we have a single session scroll saw holiday ornament class. All classes are taught by our professional staff. Additional courses in finishing, intarsia, fundamentals of fine woodworking, and more will be available in the coming months.
Our retail store offers everything from lumber and plans to tools and finishing products. We are a dealer for Porter-Cable/Delta, and will be adding Bessey clamping products shortly.
We are located at 200 Whitehead Road in Hamilton, our website provides directions. Our operating hours are 11am - 9pm Monday - Friday, and 11am - 6pm Saturdays and Sundays.
Feel free to call us at 609-587-3618 with any questions you might have. We hope to be a great resource for you.
We hope to here from you soon.
Ethan Garr Managing Director The Ultimate Workbench
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You're kidding right? There are NO details on the web page. At a minimum I expected to see a list of available tools. How about a few photos the the shop? Of the store? Can I bring my own wood? Supplies?
Membership: What do I get? As many hours as I can get there? I see block time offered. Is that in addition to or in lieu of membership? Can I use the shop during scheduled class times? Can I leve my big and bulky project or do I have to haul it home every time I visit?
The classes need a tuneup also. Do the prices include materials? Since you don't state otherwise, I'm going to assume they do. If not, I'll b e pissed off when I sign up and find it costs more. The ornament class test says by the end of the night you will have an ornament completed. The hours are 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Does that mean I have many hours of finish work after the class?
Constucting the cabinet classes. Is it a six day course every Wednesday? What are the hours? Since no cost is noted, is it free?
Don't tell me I can find complete details and offer nothing of interest. While I wish you success, you must be realistic in what you tell people to have any credibility. Take the information in this post and put it on the web page.
Yes, I'm being a PITA, but if you don't look at what I'm criticizing and correct it, you will lose potential sales from lack of or confusing information
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Mr. Pawlowski makes some good points, and we will work to update the website as quickly as possible. Perhaps I got a little carried away in saying that our website offers "complete" details, though I think it does do a good job of getting the point across as to what we are and what we do.
Without a doubt, the website needs to include photos, and more details, but I hope my post and the site will at least convey the message that we offer something new and exciting in the area--a public woodshop, woodworking education facility, and retail store.
Again, I would encourage anyone who is interested to call us with any questions you might have at 609-587-3618. In the meantime, let me answer a few questions directly here:
- Yes you can bring your own wood and supplies. Our store is a convenient resource, but by no means are you obligated to purchase items from us.
- Memberships--details are provided on the website in this area. A peak membership entitles you to unlimited use of the shop during our operating hours (M - F 11am - 9pm, Sat. and Sun. 11am - 6pm). Block time is shop time by the hour. You would purchase block time or a membership, not both. Block time is offered in 5, 10 and 20 hour increments.
- The shop is open during class times, so yes you can use it. The facility is quite large (almost 8000 square feet in total), and we have multiple machines of the same type in many cases.
- We offer storage at our facility for members. When you start a project we put your name on a plastic bin which you can use to store your work in progress. Bin storage is free for 6 weeks from the time you start a project. If there are others waiting for storage you will be charged a storage fee after 6 weeks, if no other member is waiting there is no charge. For exceedingly large projects we will work out arrangements on an individual basis. There is also limited storage for block time users of the shop. - Most classes include materials, like our introductory classes, but absolutely, Mr Pawlowski is correct that we need to be explicit here.
Like any new business, The Ultimate Workbench is a work in progress, and our website is one outlet we have to present ourself. It, like the business, will only get better. I appreciate comments like Mr. Pawlowski's as they help us improve our product.
Thank you, Ethan Garr Again--if you have specific question that were not addressed here, call us at 609-587-3618.

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On 5 Dec 2004 06:45:49 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@ultimateworkbench.com (Ethan Garr) wrote:

[snip for space]
This is one of the best rants and replies I've ever seen here. Both were substantive. The rant was not solicited but could not have been more helpful if it had been (and, BTW, I agree w/ the analysis), and it was taken in good cheer. The reply was direct, with weaknesses acknowledged. (Is positive reinforcement OK around here?) -- Igor
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Ethan, I'm glad you took my comments the way intended. Your clarifications are exactly what is needed. Even though I have a well equipped shop, I dont have every tool and it would be a good idea for me to buy blocks of time. Unfortuantly, I'm 260 miles away.
The cost of classes is reasonable from others I've seen. Good luck with your venture. It should be a good way for apartment dwellers and those new to woodworking to enjoy a very satisfying hobby as wll as a way of the rest of us to socialize and hone our skills.
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Thanks. I am sorry you are so far away, I need people who tell it like it is to tell me how it isn't! Woodworking is a great hobby, and it is my intention to make it more accessible to more communities with this do-it-yourself public woodshop and others.
I am glad Igor chimed in, it was a good exchange. Please keep your eyes out for updates to the web site. Incidentally, in the meantime if anyone is interested in seeing photos of the shop, let me know and I will email them to you.
Thanks again Ethan Garr Managing Director The Ultimate Workbench Phone 609-587-3618
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Thanks. I am sorry you are so far away, I need people who tell it like it is to tell me how it isn't! Woodworking is a great hobby, and it is my intention to make it more accessible to more communities with this do-it-yourself public woodshop and others.
I am glad Igor chimed in, it was a good exchange. Please keep your eyes out for updates to the web site. Incidentally, in the meantime if anyone is interested in seeing photos of the shop, let me know and I will email them to you.
Thanks again Ethan Garr Managing Director The Ultimate Workbench Phone 609-587-3618
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On 4 Dec 2004 15:37:34 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@ultimateworkbench.com (Ethan Garr) wrote:

(snipped for space)
I'm just curious as to how you are handling the liability. Can anyone walk in and use the power tools? How do you determine if a customer is qualified to use any machine? Do you administer a test?
I would think that if someone came in there and got hurt, you owners could be in for a rough time, liability-wise. And that would be even if you DID make the user sign some kind of indemnification agreement.
Terry
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Well, anyone can sue anyone over anything, and the Florida courts have ruled that you CANNOT sign away your right to SUE over negligence
However, a GOOD waiver and avoiding any negligence on the part of the folks providing the tools should prevent any serious litigation - and in most states you can counter sue for frivolous lawsuits to recoup your legal costs. In fact, that is something that needs to be in the waiver - that if someone brings litigation that FAILS, they are liable for the defendant's legal costs
John
wrote:

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Safety is definitely a top priority for us at the Ultimate Workbench. Beyond liability issues, shop safety is important to me personally because I want this to be a safe, comfortable, and fun place for the community--every element of our business is based on creating that environment.
We have a shop safety foreman on duty at all times. To use the facility, members and block time users must read and agree to our safety manual, and pass a safety check in which the foreman explains and demonstrates the safe operation of each piece of machinery. Then the user demonstrates the operation to the foreman and answers some basic questions based on the safety manual. The primary safety check covers a core set of equipment. Members can then request safety checks for machines outside of the primary check. Users can only use machines for which they have been checked.
Insurance was the first issue we tackled in developing our business plan. We felt that the rates we were quoted would be manageable within our projections. But like I said, for me it goes beyond liability.
I am happy to report that the early response to the business has been extremely positive. It is early, and the road ahead is long, but The Ultimate Workbench is on its way.
Thanks for your questions and comments.
Ethan Garr Managing Director The Ultimate Workbench Phone 609-587-3618
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I apologize to everyone for not posting in a while. Things, thankfully have been going very well for the Ultimate Workbench. We actually filled our Intro class that started this week, and we only have three spots left for the one starting this Saturday (1/15/05). We have signed up many members, and we have many woodworkers using the shop for their projects.
I wanted to post an invitation to our Grand Opening celebration next Thursday, January 20th, 2005 at 1:00pm. The mayor of Hamilton Township will be cutting our ribbon, and we will have an open house through closing at 9:00pm.
If you plan to attend, please let us know by calling 609-587-3618, so we can make sure we have enough refreshments.
Need directions? Visit our website at www.ultimateworkbench.com
I hope to see you there.
Ethan Garr Managing Director The Ultimate Workbench
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Hi Ethan. Glad things are starting up well. Wish I could attend your grand opening. Best of luck to you. Ed
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Thanks Ed, I still owe you photos on the website. Keep your eyes out we should have them soon.
Ethan
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Hello everyone,
I just wanted to post a quick update on how things are going at The Ultimate Workbench, do-it-yourself public woodshop. We are off to an exciting start. There has been a great deal of interest for our Intro to Woodworking classes, and our first two iterations of this class went very well. The end table project was a good mechanism for building joinery, tool, and safety skills and we are excited about developing the class further. The feedback in our course evaluations was overwhelmingly positive. We'll likely add a fifth session based on this feedback.
We just started our Constructing the Cabinet class tonight. This serves as a follow-up to the Intro class, or as an intermediate level class for more experienced woodworkers. We are also running a lathe class right now, and I am excited about our upcoming sharpening course starting in a few weeks.
Besides classes, many people have taken advantage of our membership options. The shop is bustling with activity, and the foundation for a strong community of woodworkers has been laid. Members seem to really apreciate our foreman staff. Being able to tap profesisonal cabinetmakers, furniture refinishers, and school shop teachers on a daily basis is a nice perk for members as they work on their projects.
The retail store is improving as well. We have brought in some more Porter-Cable tools and Delta power equipment. And we are working on a deal to bring in some nice turning tools, japanese tools, and other higher-end woodworker's tools. I'll keep everyone posted.
For anyone interested, we have had a couple of nice feature articles in The Trenton Times and the Princeton Packet you might be interested in reading:
http://www.nj.com/living/times/index.ssf?/base/living-3/1106211993261790.xml
http://www.zwire.com/site/myzwire.cfm?BRD 91&dept_id43157&newsid561815&PAGF1&rfi=9
If you haven't had a chance to stop by, please do.
Thanks to everyone who has helped make our first two months both succesful and exciting.
Ethan Garr Managing Director The Ultimate Workbench Phone: 609-587-3618
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http://www.zwire.com/site/myzwire.cfm?BRD 91&dept_id43157&newsid561815&PAGF1&rfi=9
Nice articles Ethan. Maybe you can get the reporter from the Packet back and show him the difference between a lathe and a bandsaw though ;)
From the pictures it looks like a good sized shop. Continued good luck with it.
--
Ed
http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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