French Workbench

webb_bench_overall_PXK55671

Interesting Workbench at the Ta’ Kola Windmill

Finding a French-style workbench with a twin-screw vise is somewhat uncommon. And so what furniture maker Nick Webb stumbled upon on the Mediterranean island of Gozo is even more unusual. The bench is in the carpenter’s shop of the Ta’ Kola Windmill, an 18th-century structure on the island. The bones of the bench are...

french_holdfast_pad_IMG_2958

French my Bench

This summer I have made two changes to my Roubo-style workbench that I built in 2005 that have made the bench even more effective and easy to use. First up, a real-deal antique French holdfast, sent to me by a colleague in France. Clearly blacksmith made, this holdfast is sized somewhere between the monster...

dictum_saw_tenons_IMG_2427

French Bench. German School. American Teacher. Day 1.

No matter how many times I do it, every class on building a workbench is remarkably different. Different wood. Different tools. Different students. Different country. I don’t know how I got talked into teaching a workbench class at a hand-tool school in Germany. OK, that’s a lie. I know exactly how. I was drinking...

tenon_IMG_1822

Workbench Assembly. With Glue.

Assembling workbenches in the old-school manner is a nail-biter. If the drawbores are too close together, then you drive the peg in and nothing happens. The tenon isn’t pulled into the mortise. You start looking around for your framing nailer. If the drawbores are too far apart, you drive the peg in and it...

wb2_IMG_1772

Build a Hand-tool Bench With Power Tools? Yup.

Talking about the motivation for building a French-style handwork bench using lots of power tools is always a discussion that feels like a hall of mirrors. Many of the 16 students in my workbench class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking aren’t infatuated by the gorgeous machinery the school offers. They don’t seem...

wb1_IMG_1748

French Workbench in Douglas Fir, Day 1

When it comes to building furniture in my shop at home, I have zero desire for industrial-grade machinery. But when I need to get a class of students at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking to get 17 benches completely built in five days, I embrace the large-scale noisy stuff. Some might call it...

French Workbench Class – Day 6

It is unwise to rush when installing vises on a workbench. So I stopped whipping the maggots students during the last two days of the class and encouraged them to work at their own pace. Some slowed down, but some stayed at the fevered pitch established in the first four days of the class....