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Holtzapffel Workbench #1: The plan

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Blog entry by rjack posted 11-19-2007 10:22 PM 8193 reads 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I’ve decided that I’m going to build the Holtzapffel Workbench based on Christopher Schwarz’s article in Woodworking Magazine. You can see a picture of the workbench from the magazine cover.

Also, here is a video of Chris actually demonstrating the workbench. Too see the video, you have to select the Workshop category and then select Holtzapffel Workbench.

I picked this bench because I want to get better with hand-tools and I need the sophisticated clamping capability of a good bench. It will also help me with clamping for power tools.

I have ordered all the necessary hardware, but I still have to buy the wood. I plan on using either White Oak or Ash.

This is going to be a real adventure because I have never made anything this heavy and substantial.

-- Roger - Havertown, Pennsylvania



15 comments so far

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2968 days


#1 posted 11-20-2007 12:10 AM

It’s a great looking bench and I wish you the best on its construction and use.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Calgirl's profile

Calgirl

188 posts in 2553 days


#2 posted 11-20-2007 03:52 AM

Good luck on your project….....I noticed in the video that the bench looked awfully low to the ground for the height of the editor presenting the bench on the video. It might be good for your back to think about what height will best suit you. I like the quick release tail vice.

I am going to build a bench also and have chosen a bench featured in Shop Notes #84. It is pretty involved but I am looking forward to building it.

-- Forget the health food, I need all the preservatives I can get !

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8780 posts in 2757 days


#3 posted 11-20-2007 05:38 AM

Ash is a good bit easier on the wallet than oak, white oak in particular. Ash is very workable and very durable. I think it would be a good choice.

If you are doing hand tool work the Holtzapffel workbench looks to be a superior design. I think you would be very happy with it.

It looks like you have put some real thought into how you will use the table and what design would best suit your needs. That will pay off for you.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3966 posts in 2721 days


#4 posted 11-20-2007 07:25 AM

Nice and substantial bench. I wonder if any Ljocks have any info on Holtzapffel’s ornamental lathes.
Good luck on your project, rjack!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Dorje's profile

Dorje

1763 posts in 2654 days


#5 posted 11-20-2007 07:41 AM

This is going to be a great one to follow! Thanks for blogging it!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View cajunpen's profile

cajunpen

14393 posts in 2723 days


#6 posted 11-20-2007 12:27 PM

Sounds like a great project. Go get some wood and get it started – I can’t wait to follow the project.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased." http://www.cajunpen.com/

View Calgirl's profile

Calgirl

188 posts in 2553 days


#7 posted 11-20-2007 04:32 PM

rjack,
I was just surfing the internet and found an article on workbenches..
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/articledisplay?id=14875

-- Forget the health food, I need all the preservatives I can get !

View rjack's profile

rjack

110 posts in 2512 days


#8 posted 11-20-2007 06:23 PM

Calgirl,

Thanks for the link! The bench that is in the video is 34 inches tall, but the user is 6 foot 3 inches tall. You actually need a fairly low bench to get enough leverage to use handplanes. I’m only 5 foot 7 inches, so I might make my bench 32 inches tall. I’m thinking about adding hinged extension legs to the bottom of each leg so that I can optionally raise it to 35 inches tall for some types of power tool work. More on that as the project continues.

-- Roger - Havertown, Pennsylvania

View Olaf Gradin's profile

Olaf Gradin

69 posts in 2496 days


#9 posted 11-22-2007 04:09 PM

I talked with Christopher Schwartz about that height issue. I knew he’d have some insight I could use – I’m a few inches taller than him! As a result, my project with the same bench is being built at 36½”. I got the measurement from another article I read that said how to do it. With your hand relaxed by your side, measure from the ground up to where your pinky meets your hand.

Thanks for dropping by my project posts on the Holtzapffel workbench! I think we probably can help each other out as we go. One thing I’ll mention regarding the wood issue – compare prices of the lumber at the rough dimensions you need. My local guy charges more for 8/4 stock than 4/4 in the same wood. You might also find deals as the price depends largely upon the local demand. Ash isn’t sought after too much here in Northeast Georgia for some reason, whereas White Oak is. However, the White Oak could be ammonia-fumed if you’re up to it, and that would make for a real looker when you’re finished!

By the way, what hardware did you go with? I haven’t purchased mine yet, so I’ll be interested to hear about your experience with what you have.

-- It takes a viking to raze a village. &mdash Blog'r: http://www.gradin.com

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8780 posts in 2757 days


#10 posted 11-22-2007 04:15 PM

You might consider checking with a local cabinet shop to see if they will put the top through their sander for you. What you pay will save a lot of labor and it will come out flat. There is nothing wrong with going through the whole process, especially for personal development, but this may be a good time to utilize a pro shop’s assets.

Two requirements may have to be met. #1 Glue it up a bit thicker than needed, then scrape or hand plane all the glue off of it. This will gum up their belt. #2 Build it a little long and then do a final length cut after it is sanded.

This is just a suggestion that might be worth looking into. I have a 24” sander in my shop and sometimes I still pay to have a large shop sand bigger and heavier pieces. It has always been worth it.

Don’t be surprised if you are turned down, I had 2 out of 3 shops say no to me. It is a great excuse to check out some big shops.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View rjack's profile

rjack

110 posts in 2512 days


#11 posted 11-22-2007 04:25 PM

Olaf,

I’m only 5’7” so I plan on making my bench about 32 inches tall. I’m also thinking about adding hinged extension feet so that I can make the bench 3-4 inches taller for certain power tool operations. The extension feet idea is in the same issue of Woodworking Magazine as the Holtzapffel Workbench. Maybe you want to consider this also?

For hardware, I went with most of Chris’s recommendations in the article: Lee Valley Quick-release Steel Bench Vise, 2 Veritas Bench dogs, 1 Veritas hold-down, 2 economy Bench screws from Woodcraft, 1 pair of Gamercy Holdfasts.

Todd,

Thanks for the advice. I actually have a good Jointer Plane that I want to try out for flattening. However, I will keep the sanding idea as the backup plan.

-- Roger - Havertown, Pennsylvania

View Olaf Gradin's profile

Olaf Gradin

69 posts in 2496 days


#12 posted 11-22-2007 05:44 PM

There are no dog positions in the face vise as I recall. Is there a good reason to omit these? My thought was that you may need a double-row of bench dogs to clamp a wide piece. You would need to add matching holes into the top of the work surface, but probably no more than one row (if the hold fast holes don’t accomplish this for you).

-- It takes a viking to raze a village. &mdash Blog'r: http://www.gradin.com

View rjack's profile

rjack

110 posts in 2512 days


#13 posted 11-22-2007 06:15 PM

Olaf,

Good question! I’m no expert, but you can accomplish holding wide pieces in other ways including hold-fasts. The downside is that more holes weaken the benchtop. I’m not saying don’t add them – you just need to consider how you personally are going to use the bench.

I strongly recommend Chris Schwarz brand new workbench to you because he has a great chapter on matching workbench features to functions. See my blog book review for more information.

-- Roger - Havertown, Pennsylvania

View Mark D.'s profile

Mark D.

155 posts in 2425 days


#14 posted 01-06-2009 02:46 AM

Not to resurrect this from the dead… but did you ever get this thing finished? I would love to see how it came out.

-- Looking for free wood working plans? Visit us at www.AwlFreePlans.com

View jcontract's profile

jcontract

84 posts in 1745 days


#15 posted 12-13-2009 03:51 AM

Have you made any progress? Finish it? I’m not too far off from starting my Holtzappfel. I live in the northeast and got pretty lucky with the lumber. A company was offering Ash cut to dimension just for the bench. I was able to get 12/4×7 for the top, so glue-up wont be too difficult. Please let us know your progess, or if you’ve completed. There seem to be many interested in the process, so I wouldn’t mind blogging mine when I start.

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