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Moravian Workbench #1: building myself a bench

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Blog entry by Schade posted 10-26-2017 01:46 PM 977 reads 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Moravian Workbench series no next part

I’m finishing up a work bench I started about 8 months ago and thought I’d share my progress here, since I’ve learned and got inspired by the group here.
The Tool Tray is Tiger Maple boxed by Sapele. The wedges in the stretchers are walnut.

Since I’m a hobbyist, I worked on the bench when I got the time, or when I saved up for more materials. It’s a Moravian Work Bench with a leg and tail vise. The legs are made from Sapele and Hard Maple. The stretchers are soft maple with laminated Tiger Maple on the outer faces. The top is laminated hard maple, with square dog holes, a Sapele accent stripe and a Tiger Maple laminated front face.

I had a lot of fun and heartache making her. But it was well worth it. I built the Bench using 80% hand tools, and cheated with Power Tools for ripping down the 8/4 boards.
Some of my joints didn’t get as nice as I woulda hoped, but my hand tool skills improved tremendously along the way.

Some things I learned:
Sapele is fun to plane ( except for the ribbons that seem to tear out, no matter which way you go) Finished them off with a hand scraper.
Hard Maple is REALLY HARD, and not fun to plane.
Some Operations are actually quicker with Hand Tools then with Power Tools.
Sharpening the plane and chisels then stropping them makes them REALLY sharp, cuts wood and flesh equally clean. I’ve used Power Tools for some time, and (knock on wood) have a good safety record, I think when you first start using hand tools you don’t fully appreciate how sharp they can be, because they aren’t followed by the hum of a 2 HP motor. Luckily I didn’t do any major damage, but I learned quick to keep my opposite hand out of the way.

All I have left to do, is take a hand scraper to the tool tray to bring out the Tiger Maple and clean up the Sapele, then put some Shellac on it to help protect it from glue, minor scratches and what not. Make a brass ring for the handle of the tail vise.

A few shout outs of people that tutored and inspired me:
Paul Sellers
Will Myers ( his excellent video guided me through the construction)
Stumpy Nubs
Shannon Rogers
Matt Evans from Evans Wooden Screw Company for custom making me the Vise screws
And a few others I can’t think of right now.

I hope the images show up.
Any questions let me know.
Thanks to all on Lumber Jocks posting their work, it inspired me, and hopefully my work will inspire someone else.











14 comments so far

View Holt's profile

Holt

183 posts in 2500 days


#1 posted 10-26-2017 03:24 PM

Kudos for the Renaissance Woodworker shout out. I don’t think Shannon gets the recognition he deserves. Can’t see the pictures from work, but looking forward to seeing them this evening!

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

684 posts in 2370 days


#2 posted 10-26-2017 03:47 PM

I am afraid you have to reload all the pictures directly in Lumberjock because Photobucket has changed his policy.

see our administrator post:
http://lumberjocks.com/topics/240057

I definitely recommend just uploading your images here. There is no limit.

I also recommend always keeping a backup of your images.

—LumberJocks.com Community Manager

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Ampeater's profile

Ampeater

439 posts in 3618 days


#3 posted 10-26-2017 03:47 PM

The only images I see are a lot of ads for Photobucket.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

View sepeck's profile

sepeck

340 posts in 2012 days


#4 posted 10-26-2017 06:14 PM

I don’t see any images.

-- -Steven Peck, http://www.blkmtn.org

View Schade's profile

Schade

7 posts in 85 days


#5 posted 10-26-2017 11:36 PM

OK I got rid of the photobucket stuff and just uploaded. Hope you all see it now.

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

684 posts in 2370 days


#6 posted 10-27-2017 10:06 AM

Splendid workbench.
The wagon vise ‘screw seems (I might be wrong) right hand threaded. Was it more expensive to get a left hand thread?

Although, according to Mosquito, you get used to turn the handle the other way around.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View htl's profile

htl

3467 posts in 1030 days


#7 posted 10-27-2017 01:28 PM

Looking great!!!
It’s so pretty and heavy duty to boot!!!

-- Learn More About Making Wooden Models. An Index Of My Model making Blogs. http://lumberjocks.com/htl/blog/116729

View CMDEvans's profile

CMDEvans

32 posts in 2396 days


#8 posted 10-27-2017 01:51 PM

Looks Great!

Should be a really nice workbench to use. I love that light/dark contrast and the tiger maple.

One thought. . .Every time I build a bench with a tool tray I make a ramp on at least one end. It can be unattached, but if you don’t it’ll make cleaning it out a real bear. (unless you exclusively use a shop vac to clean it out, then it’s not such a big deal)

-- We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. . .

View Schade's profile

Schade

7 posts in 85 days


#9 posted 10-27-2017 09:16 PM

@Sylvain- I didn’t even consider right or left thread when I bought it. The first time I used it I noticed I’ll have to turn it towards me. I’m sure I could’ve gotten left hand thread. Another live and learn moment, but it works really smooth and does the job, so I’ll get used to it.
@CMDEvans- that’s a good idea, the Moravian workbench disassembles and the tool tray lifts off to dump it. But I think I’ll put a ramp on one side, who wants to lift that off all the time. Thanks for the idea!

View Rick_M's profile

Rick_M

10813 posts in 2251 days


#10 posted 10-28-2017 04:25 AM

Good looking bench

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8065 posts in 2448 days


#11 posted 10-29-2017 05:31 PM

Beautiful work

View Rukus's profile

Rukus

25 posts in 1274 days


#12 posted 11-01-2017 01:09 AM

Excellent looking bench. Love the wood choices. I’m thinking of going a similar route for my next bench (replacing a Nicholson). Am currently working myway through wills videos.
- how steady does the bench feel when you plane on it? With the grain vs cross grain? Any operations where it feels unsteady or like it wants to walk on you?
- did you attach the top via pegs/dowels? Do you find it sufficient as an attachment method?

I know the bench is relatively new to you but a couple questions:

View Schade's profile

Schade

7 posts in 85 days


#13 posted 11-01-2017 11:14 AM

Hi Rokus,
Yes I have not done a ton of work on it yet, but I have planed and scraped boards over 7’ long with no movement or rocking of the bench when I was making the tool tray. The woods I used are extremely heavy as well which I’m sure makes a huge difference. Will builds his from pine and oak which I’m sure is also fine, but I’d be willing to bet that just my one leg made with maple and Sapele weighs as much as both legs made in pine.
I attached my top with 1” oak dowels like the video and it is solid and tight. The tool tray I did the skid method which I’ll show in my next post.
This is my first real bench, since for years I worked off of a piece of plywood clamped to saw horses so I have nothing bad to say . I couldn’t be happier with it.
I think as long as you take your time on the angled joints in the legs and stretchers and use some heavy hardwoods you’ll be pleased with the outcome.
Good luck and keep us posted.

View Rukus's profile

Rukus

25 posts in 1274 days


#14 posted 11-01-2017 12:24 PM

Thanks! That is good know, I am glad to hear that because I do love the stiffness of my current Nicholson but don’t like the wide apron (really does get in way of clamping and I have become less a fan of its look, though that’s minor). I’m likely to build the a version of Will’s Moravian starting sometime in the next 1-2 months. Just working on dimensions, additional features, etc. I will likely go with soft maple for the top (though I like your idea of pairing a special type of wood in key places) and am still deciding on the undercarriage species. Will probably start one of these blogs to get feedback as I progress with my take on the design. Wish I was good at SketchUp…


Hi Rokus,
Yes I have not done a ton of work on it yet, but I have planed and scraped boards over 7’ long with no movement or rocking of the bench when I was making the tool tray. The woods I used are extremely heavy as well which I’m sure makes a huge difference. Will builds his from pine and oak which I’m sure is also fine, but I’d be willing to bet that just my one leg made with maple and Sapele weighs as much as both legs made in pine.
I attached my top with 1” oak dowels like the video and it is solid and tight. The tool tray I did the skid method which I’ll show in my next post.
This is my first real bench, since for years I worked off of a piece of plywood clamped to saw horses so I have nothing bad to say . I couldn’t be happier with it.
I think as long as you take your time on the angled joints in the legs and stretchers and use some heavy hardwoods you’ll be pleased with the outcome.
Good luck and keep us posted.

- Schade


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