This morning I awoke to the meows of a hungry cat. This is fairly typical. She knows that I get up at 5:00 AM during the week, so she makes sure I don’t oversleep. This is usually a good thing, except she does the same thing on weekends. Anyways, I digress. After feeding the cat, I pop over to Chris Schwarz's blog on the Woodworking magazine site. It usually has all sorts of interesting bits of information. Today, he posted a workbench built by one of his readers.
He had been asked what his dream bench was, and he finally responded a French style bench with Holtzapffel work holding. Well, someone else built this bad boy! In the right corner is the twin screw vise. One the end, it looks like just a quick release vise. A sliding deadman, holdfast holds, and dog holes round out this interesting bench. Honestly, it just looks simple to build, sturdy, and would easily handle damn near anything I can see myself throwing at it.
The question is, is it the design I’m looking for? Another thought I had bouncing around my noodle was to just use a crochet on the front in conjunction with holdfasts, a very traditional approach, and use the twin screw vise on the end. I could still cut dovetails and such with the twin screw, and the crochet approach would let me end joint almost any sized workpiece. However, this might work better in a larger shop, and this idea popped into my head when imagining making enough profit from the sale of this house I’m currently in to pay for the shop. However, that might not happen, so I have to be realistic.
Designing a workbench is a real pain for me. Everything I’ve read says that the workbench is the most important tool, especially for a hand tool workshop. The odd thing is, if I hadn’t been looking at moving in a couple of months, I might have already thrown something together that would have been less than ideal. So, the delay is, ultimately, a good thing. It will force me to make sound decisions rather than running off half cocked and be disappointed with the result.
While I doubt I’ll find the perfect workbench design first time out, I have to make sure it’s a good design that will work for what my plans are. So…here’s hoping!
-- "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!