Workbenches

One of the most important tools in the shop is the workbench. And for years, Christopher Schwarz (formerly the editor and now a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine) along with all the editors, has been investigating various methords of workholding and workbench designs from around the world. In 2005, Chris built his first Roubo workbench, and since then, he’s personally built two more, and helped countless others do the same. Here, you’ll find workbench plans and workbench SketchUp models, reviews of various vises and more. In short, everything you need to make the perfect workbench for your shop.

Early English Manual Training Workbench

While at Bloodline Merchants we also investigated this English workbench, which is almost certainly an early manual training bench. The face vise is a Parkinsons Perfect Vise (and yes, it is spelled “vise” not “vice” on the casting). Parkinsons were made in the 1880s and this example features early metal screw threads that are...

Antique Lefty Workbench in the Wild

Until yesterday, I’d not seen a left-handed antique workbench in the wild. While I’m sure there are some out there, the historical record suggests that left-handed woodworkers usually made do with right-handed benches and learned to plane with their dominant hand on the toe of a handplane. While poking around Bloodline Merchants, a delightful...

On Thick, Wet Slab Tops for Workbenches

During the last seven years, I’ve slowly become a fan of using a monolithic slab for the top of a workbench. And I’ve also slowly begun to ignore all the criticisms of slab tops. I built my first slab-top workbench in 2009-2010, which was published in the August 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine....

Roman Workbenches High And Low

When researching Roman workbenches, one of the things that leaped out at me was how low many of them were low, knee-high like a sawbench. After building a low bench based on drawings from Pompeii and Herculaneum, most visitors to my shop had one question: Were the Romans really short? The answer is: no....

Another 511-year-old Woodworking Vise

Screw-driven vises are not modern inventions. The earliest screw-driven vise that I know of is this Italian vise that is circa 1300. I am always looking for earlier vises because the screw mechanism has been around since Archimedes, though his screw was originally used for irrigation. This year I have been delving deep into...

A Quick Preview of the ‘Vampire Vise’

With only six days before Woodworking in America, I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to get everything ready for the big three-day woodworking geek-fest a few blocks away from my shop. Today I’m putting the finishing touches on one of the two Roman-style workbenches I’ve built for Woodworking in America. I’ll be presenting...

Roman Workbenches at Woodworking in America

I’m building a pair of Roman workbenches in my shop that I’ll be demonstrating at Woodworking in America this fall (Sept. 16-18 in Covington, Ky.). This will be my only public appearance in 2016 – I am in full-on hermit mode right now. Why the heck would an Arkansas boy build Roman workbenches? Easy....

Green Wood and Roubo Workbenches, Part 2

Seasoned, well-dried wood is good, but not for all things. For the last two years I’ve been editing a book called “Woodworking in Estonia,” which is about the pre-industrial woodworking cultural heritage of a small Northern European nation. The book is not a review of the historical literature sprinkled with speculation about how people...

A Roubo Workbench from Green Wood

Here is a question that has been going through my mind for more than a decade: When an 18th-century French woodworker started building a workbench, what was the moisture content of the wood? Had it been seasoned for many years? Freshly cut? Something between? Lots of modern people have speculated about the answer, but...