|Review by Tadd||posted 11-10-2010 08:01 AM||6011 views||2 times favorited||9 comments|
Chris Schwarz’s new book provides plans and details for eight different workbenches. These benches range from a Roubo bench, in which Chris built almost entirely by hand, to a workbench assembled in 24 hours. Chris actually puts a couple paragraphs in the book explaining whether you actually need this book, which I think says something.
I think all of these workbenches were described in articles in Popular Woodworking. So, you can probably find the plans for the workbenches elsewhere, although there is something to having the several designs consolidated in one source. Also, the benches are made by different people and not by Chris alone, which creates some interesting contrast in opinion about workbench design.
I think the book is very helpful—if you are designing your own workbench. You can look at numerous design choices and gleen important information from what was done and about what choices were made by the builders. Further, each builder provides, at the end of their respective chapters, a list of pros and cons about their workbenches. This information is really helpful.
The end of the book provides information about how to upgrade your existing workbench. I did not find this section as helpful as I have yet to build my workbench. However, I think it could help those of us who want to improve our benches without scrapping them and building anew.
He also puts in a section on vises and workholding. If you have done your research on what vises are available on the market or read Chris’s various blogs, this section will seem fairly redundant.
The next section was the one I was most intrigued by. Chris writes a chapter on the “best bench never built.” Essentially, Chris describes his perfect bench, if there were no limits on what he could build. From someone who has built and used so many benches, this section was really telling about what a bench needs and how to make it.
Finally, as a throw in, Chris also includes a section on how to build a sawbench.
Bottomline: I really liked this book. If you are designing your own bench, this book would be extremely helpful. However, if you have your heart set on a Roubo bench (which seems to be all the rage), I think Chris’s first book is actually more helpful.
-- Tadd, Denver, http://patentcraftsman.com/