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The Holtzapffel Project #1: Design

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Blog entry by kem posted 03-21-2008 05:59 PM 3549 reads 11 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of The Holtzapffel Project series Part 2: Spending money »

After reading Christopher Schwarz’s excellent “Workbenches” book, I was inspired to build a bench. I am a novice woodworker with only a couple of big projects under my belt: a mobile clamp cabinet and a 4’ x 4’ outfeed table. I used a workmate for those projects and am completely dissatisfied with its workholding abilities. But being a little more seasoned, I’m ready to take on a workbench.

I was originally all set to build the Roubo bench in the book, but after discovering Schwarz’s blog and his third design, the Holtzapffel, I immediately knew this was the one for me. I love its minimalist aesthetic! I bought the digital 8th issue of Woodworking Magazine with the article describing the bench and started scribbling modifications to the design drawings. My friend turned me on to SketchUp and I’m now using it for my design.

kem bench

I’ve made some modifications to the article’s design based upon some of the construction techniques in the “Workbenches” book. Since I’ll be using 2×12s and 2×8s of Douglas fir from the local Home Depot, I dimensioned the legs and stretchers for 1 1/4” thick stock. I also liked the ready-made tenons in the book, so I decided to use those for the legs and long stretchers. I also added ledgers for a shelf in the bottom.

kem bench cut list

Here’s a look at the joints in the legs. I’m new to designing so if I’m making a terrible design decision here, please let me know!

kem bench leg stretcher joint

-- Kevin



8 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3290 days


#1 posted 03-21-2008 07:37 PM

Kem,

This looks like an interesting project. I can’t wait to see it moved from design into construction. This is something that most woodworkers, who don’t already have one, would love to have in their shop.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 3222 days


#2 posted 03-21-2008 07:38 PM

Looks good I like the leg bits. I am reading the book myself, I got the deluxe version and I am reading the e-version when I get the chance while flying. I am drawn to the Roubo but like some of the elements of the Holtzapffel and may do some blending of the two. I will keep watch with keen interest. Good luck!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 3582 days


#3 posted 03-22-2008 12:37 AM

You will find a few us building the Holtzapffel bench here at LJ. Here’s my blog if you are interested. Here’s a blog I also didn’t on bench design.

View kem's profile

kem

56 posts in 3186 days


#4 posted 03-22-2008 05:34 PM

Hi Mike,

I’ve been following your blog with great interest. When I first googled “building holtzapffel”, your blog came up as one of the first hits! (That’s how I found out about lumberjocks.) The #1 google hit demonstrated some of the things not to do in building the bench and, in contrast, your bench really shows a high level of craftsmanship. I aspire to build mine with the same care you’ve demonstrated.

-- Kevin

View kem's profile

kem

56 posts in 3186 days


#5 posted 03-22-2008 05:49 PM

FC,

What elements of the Roubo are you interested in? I think the chassis of the benches are pretty much the same, though the Roubo is much heavier with the 4” thick, 8’ long top. In my mind, the Roubo is the more graceful looking of the two with the beautiful crochet, leg vise and deadman. It really is a great looking bench. I decided to go with the Holtzapffel because it seems like the workholding of the tail vise would be more secure and require less skill than using the planing stop and I like the versatility of the twin-screw face vise.

-- Kevin

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 3582 days


#6 posted 03-22-2008 06:29 PM

Wow I showed up in a google search above Christopher Schwarz on the Holtzapffel bench! What is the world coming to :).

I should have the top glued up this weekend, I’ll be posting some pictures soon. I really like how the Douglas Fir has turned out. I think you will enjoy working with Douglas Fir.

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 3456 days


#7 posted 03-22-2008 08:59 PM

I’ll be following this one.

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

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 3222 days


#8 posted 03-23-2008 04:48 AM

I like the heft of the Roubo, the crochet, and the deadman, but I like the twin vise of the Holtzapffel. I also haven’t decided on the end vise solution, still reading on it. My bench is a downn the road project though, so I have plenty of time to tinker with the design.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

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