Schwarz on Workbenches

From 500 Year Old Shaving Horses to the latest modern bulletproof vises being made today, Popular Woodworking Magazine’s contributing editor Christopher Schwarz writes frequently on designing, building, and using workbenches on his woodworking blog, the Chris Schwarz Blog. Whether you’re looking for the best workbench design, workbench plans, a solid history of how benches have evolved, or want to soup up your existing workbench with smart jigs and holding devices, you’ll find it here. http://www.popularwoodworking.com/workbenches/schwarz-workbenches/new-bulletproof-vises-from-lie-nielsen

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You and Your Puny Moxon Vises

We all know that Joseph Moxon didn’t invent the Moxon vise. But perhaps the Italians did? I spent a fatigue-fueled weekend researching some red herrings and stumbled on this circa 1300 hand-drawn illustration of the construction of Noah’s Ark. I found the plate in “Les Rabots,” a fantastic modern book on handplanes in French....

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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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The Modern High-traction Doe’s Foot

The notched batten – also called a “doe’s foot” – is a great way to restrain your work on the bench without a tail vise. With a holdfast and a doe’s foot, you can even work across the grain aggressively and the work will stay in place. During the last couple years of using...

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A Basque Planing Support

There are lots of ways to get around not having a sliding deadman – sometimes called a “board jack” – on your workbench. For the last 15 months I have been working on a bench without a deadman or a tail vise, so I am always looking out for novel solutions. This weekend a...

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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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Happy Birthday, You Big French Baby

It usually takes a year for a new workbench to settle down, and for me to put enough hours at it to form a half-decent opinion. Every bench has plusses and minuses. I’ve never encountered a bench that was 100-percent perfect. And I’ve never encountered a bench that was 100-percent crap. (OK, that last...

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New Vise Mechanism from Hovarter

Len Hovarter of Hovarter Custom Vise has developed a simple and inexpensive quick-release leg vise mechanism that looks quite ingenious. Like all of Hoverter’s vises, they work on the age-old principle of unicorn magic. They slide in and out smoothly without a threaded rod. Then they engage the work with a short turn 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...

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Metal Planing Stops Not Obsolete

Because my workbench doesn’t have an end vise, I’ve become creative when it comes to planing my stock with only a simple planing stop, a holdfast and dogs. Mine is a primitive arrangement compared to a beautiful European tail vise with its array of dog holes, but it works. And I rarely ever think:...