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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....

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Workbench Joinery: 10 Years of Tenons

Tomorrow morning I start a new workbench class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. While I’ve lost count of the number of workbenches I’ve built or midwifed into this world, I never tire of the grueling and exhilarating labor they require. For each class, I design a new workbench from scratch that is...

Mexican workbench.

Workbenches, Mexi-Roman Style

Discussions about the proper height for a workbench always crack me up because they are usually myopic in the extreme. When you look at workbenches across long periods of time and across cultures, there is a lot more diversity. Roman workbenches, for example, were about knee high. And lest you think that bench went...

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Stop Your Workbench in its Tracks

While this isn’t the dumbest shop trick ever (that honor belongs to: “A coffee mug is a good place to store pencils”) it’s close. About six months ago, I became crazy annoyed about my workbench moving while under heavy planing. The bench weighs about 350 pounds, so it wasn’t a matter of mass. For...

A French bench with 8" x 8" legs and a 4"-thick top.

Can Workbench Legs be too Big?

Jacques writes: I have your workbench book, and I am currently working on my version of the French bench. I had soft maple cut down from my woods, so I had it sawn, and I am working with it for the top. For the legs, a friend of mine gave me four beams that...

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A Cousin to the ‘Milkman’s Workbench’

An eagle-eyed reader spotted this small benchtop that looks like the bigger Danish brother to the portable Milkman’s Workbench I wrote about in the June 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. This benchtop was made by LEVARD, a company in Denmark that still manufactures workbenches. I’ve seen LEVARD workbenches in Europe and even the...

The bench before I added the crochet.

New Workbench DVD Available for Pre-order

You can now order my newest DVD “Build a Sturdy Workbench in 2 Days” from Popular Woodworking for $24.99. The two-hour video show you how to build a sturdy workbench using home-center materials and a benchtop made using solid-wood kitchen countertop from IKEA. It really can be built in two days – I built...