LumberJocks

The Workbench #2: The Next Step

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Tomcat1066 posted 01-20-2008 05:12 AM 3736 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Starting to plan Part 2 of The Workbench series Part 3: The Hybrid »

This past Tuesday, Chris Schwarz’s Workbench book showed up on my doorstep. Needless to say, Tom is a happy camper. It was read completely before bed that night. Yeah, I’m pathetic.

Going into the book, I had a deep affection for the English Workbench that Chris built, and was eager to build my own version. After reading the book though, I still want to. However, until/unless my tiny shop situation changes, I don’t think that’s a good idea.

Instead, I’m leaning toward the French workbench with a leg vise and a standard cabinet maker’s vise on the end in the tail vise position. Why? Well, mostly it’s a matter of weight. The English bench can have plenty of mass, but I’m just not sure if it’ll have enough with the dimensions it would have to be for my small shop. At 2 feet wide and 5 feet long, there’s just not a great likelihood of sufficient mass for hand planing.

However, I have decided to adapt a bit here. One of Chris’ previous workbenches for Poplular Woodworking was the 24 Hour Workbench. The dimensions were 27”x61”. Now, this is completely doable for my shop space. Since the 24 Hour bench is basically a French workbench, I even have a basic idea of what it will look like. However, that’s where the similarities end. The French workbench from Chris’ book is a more refined design, one that will have fewer inherent problems.

One significant downside of the French bench is cost. It will take a LOT more lumber to build it, and I’m not that crazy about trying to assemble that beast! Still, the difficulty at the onset should be worth it for a strong, stable surface.

Of course, nothing is set in stone. Who knows. I might end up with a shaker bench instead ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!



7 comments so far

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 3453 days


#1 posted 01-20-2008 05:36 AM

Decisions, decisions.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1770 posts in 3554 days


#2 posted 01-20-2008 06:02 AM

I know you are trying to go old school, but you can just buy a top for a workbech. I did when I made mine . Just a thought to simplify your process.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View Eric's profile

Eric

875 posts in 3248 days


#3 posted 01-20-2008 11:19 AM

That’s much how my bench is looking. Top will be about 18 2×4s, legs will be three 2×6s glued together. Stretchers will be 2×4s as well I think. Should be pretty solid.

-- Eric at https://adventuresinwoodworking.wordpress.com/

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3261 days


#4 posted 01-20-2008 03:22 PM

Giz,

I’ve looked into that, but I just haven’t been that impressed with what I’ve seen. I need a good amount of mass for such a small table, and the pre-made tops I’ve found just don’t look like they have enough of it. Granted, yours looks pretty damn sturdy though!

Where did you get your top?

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View WoodworkersResource's profile

WoodworkersResource

33 posts in 3436 days


#5 posted 01-20-2008 03:46 PM

Here’s another option that you might look into as well. If you keep up with Chris’ writings I’m sure you’ve read about the Holtzapffel bench. This is the bench that Chris uses in his shop at home. Part of the reason is it’s smaller size. I think his version is 6’, but you could scale it back to 5’ if needed.

I did an hour long interview with Chris that’s posted on my website. I asked him mostly questions concerning his new book on workbenches, but also stuff like what’s it like to be an editor of a woodworking magazine, what got him started in woodworking, and what he likes to build on his personal time.

You can check out the interview here:

http://www.woodworkersresource.com/

Just look for the picture of Chris to find the interview.

Hope this helps in your decision making.

-Craig

-- Craig, www.WoodworkersResource.com (Where Information meets Inspiration)

View Tomcat1066's profile

Tomcat1066

942 posts in 3261 days


#6 posted 01-20-2008 03:51 PM

Craig,

I was listening to part of that just last night! I didn’t get to finish though because of some other stuff going on here, but I had already planned on getting back to it later today. Now I’ll DEFINITELY have to! ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1770 posts in 3554 days


#7 posted 01-20-2008 05:52 PM

The top is from Woodcraft. You can increase the weight by building a cabinet style base.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com