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06 Aug. 2003

Woodworking bench top design,woodworking scroll saw portraits,ultra modern house blueprints - Reviews

Eddie Haske has something I particularly like in bench design: he's used a different base on it.
Popular Woodworking has a very good deal that includes Chris Schwarz' Workbench and Workbench Design Books, plus 3 workbench plan CDs and a great poster in a bundle. A traditional leg vises excel at clamping longer work horizontally (especially when used with a board jack) and they have a very generous working depth from the bench top to the screw, typically around 10 inches.
The great UK workbench maker has launched a new website dedicated to those interested in purchasing one of his exceptional custom workbenches and wooden bench screws in the United States.
David Randall had a workbench design problem that a lot of woodworkers have: Very little workspace. The complete episode of Roy's construction of his French, Roubo-style bench is available in full from The Woodright's Shop. It's always hard to find good woodscrews of the size and quality needed for building a traditional style workbench like a Roubo or Holtzappfel twin screw bench.
Considering that the well-tested designs we're using for contemporary benches are 3-400 years old, it's not often something comes up that's really new in the world of serious workbenches. For those woodworkers that really like to work with hand tools, Mike Flaim's new bench is a real treat. This bench features a sturdy top and a trestle base is rigid enough to resist any racking forces. Not only does he make some of the finest bench vises made anywhere, he has now added a workbench plan to his collection. Made out of super dense steamed English Beech, featuring massive legs and 4" thick tops and traditional construction, these benches are incredible.


He combines details from Roubo benches from Christoper Schwarz and Roy Underhill with several interesting ideas of his own. In many ways you can think of this as a very well designed new take on the Black & Decker Workmate.
Yes, it does work out to be fairly expensive but, as I mentioned these are exceptional benches.
Using a combination of sliding plates and cams, this unit is not only a quick release design but can also be retrofitted on to an existing bench. In process he not only built a solid bench out 2-by material but also created a very unique vise arrangement that combines a tail vise and a shoulder vise on one end. His Cabinet Maker's style bench has a nice cabinet below, an imbedded Tucker Vise and even an adjustable cup holder.
If you don't have room for multiple benches the solution is to build an adjustable height workbench. Based upon a modern split Roubo style bench it features his terrific leg and tail vises plus several other unique features.
Jameel at Benchcrafted who already offers wonderful wagon tail vise hardware has now created new leg vise that's really exceptional. Considering how difficult it can be to mount a tail vise even on a new bench this is quite an accomplishment. But, if there is one of us who actually should join a 12 step program, it's Chris Schwartz of Woodworking Magazine. I know of only three available designs, one involves using a dedicated and expensive metal base.


A great bench for handwork and it's built with readily available materials so it's not expensive to make. It's a completely new design and will incorporate many, many new features including reader forums designed for sharing our workbench experiences and ideas, the ability for readers to upload their favorite benches and tons of new plans and links to useful things. Charlie Kocourek has come up with a remarkable new design that incorporates some very clever ideas and torsion box construction. This is a terrific bench and was not only my own first bench and woodworking project, but also helped instigate my career as a fulltime furniture make.
Make sure you check out the latest American Woodworker Magazine (#156) to get the bench plans. It's a great book written by one of the most knowledgeable experts on their beautiful furniture designs.
Where a worktable might have a machinist's vise bolted to its top, a woodworker's bench is built to accommodate a number of different workholding mechanisms, such as bench dogs, planing stops, hold fasts, or board jacks, and will usually have one more woodworker's vises integrated into its structure.
It is filled with lots of information and great photos and for any woodworker it is sure to be great book to have around to learn about this great style and for inspiration for what to build on top of your workbenches. Next time I would go with the 2" prefinished hardwood workbench top they sell at lee valley.


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