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Big Workbenches Need Big Machines

This week a team of 25 woodworkers is in Barnesville, Ga., to build 17 massive French workbenches using ancient oak imported from France and every bit of machinery muscle we can get. I love hand tools, but when it comes to moving around 400-pound slabs of oak, I’m happy to see a forklift coming...

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First Look: ‘Workbenches, Revised Edition’

ShopWoodworking.com is now taking pre-orders for the new revised edition of “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” for $34.99 plus free domestic shipping. The book will be released on or about Oct. 20. I spent several months earlier this year on the revision to the book and am quite pleased with...

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Chinese Workbenches – a Little Bit Roman?

When you start studying ancient woodworking tools, it’s the similarities that are most striking – not the differences. Saws, chisels and planes – the core tools of the furniture maker – are only mildly different in the East and West. While some people amplify those differences – pushing a saw vs. pulling it is...

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A Benefit of an Out-of-flat Workbench

I’ve been putting off the inevitable chore of flattening my workbench – I have a low spot that is interfering with my ability to handplane thin panels. But this time, I’m going to allow a high spot to remain high because it has proven to be useful. Like many French workbenches with the traditional...

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Revising my First Book, ‘Workbenches’

For the last month, I’ve been revising and expanding my first book “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” for F+W Media. The revised book is scheduled to be out by the end of 2015 and printed in the United States. I started writing that book in 2005, and a lot has...

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2 Workbench Vises I’d Like to Try

  The more I study workbenches, the more I’m convinced there is no end to the clever vises out there. This week I have two vises that are worth a close look. One is a ratcheting leg vise made by Will Myers, a woodworker who teaches at The Woodwright’s School and is one of...

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Basque Workbenches – With Unusual Face Vises

Take one leg vise. Rotate it 90°. Now you have a Basque face vise. Woodworker Matt Talley is working in France right now. And during his free time he is hunting down workbenches in the Southern France/Basque region. He’s posted photos of some of his interesting finds at his web site here. I’ve been...

Workbench Day 2: The Case for Workbench Classes

Building a workbench at a school is, in my calculation, a wise investment. Good schools have huge machines – wide planers, beefy mortisers and sliding table saws – that can make difficult jobs a breeze. You also have lots of help – another 10 to 20 people who can help you muscle the stock....

Workbench Day 1: Grab the Ash With Both Hands

The hardest part about teaching a class on building a workbench isn’t the teaching part at all. It’s finding good material that makes the class a pleasure – instead of a battle against the material. This week I’m teaching a class on building a traditional French workbench at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking....