Chris Schwarz's Blog

French Workbench Class – Day 5

Installing vises in workbenches is always a finicky process – unless you go for a super-simple setup like the one I prefer: A quick-release vise for the end vise and a simple leg vise for the face vise.

We have 10 benches being built in this class at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking, and no two are the same dimensions or have exactly the same workholding. So today we juggled a bunch of fine fitting chores – routing out recesses, aligning parallel guides and building vise chops.

Many of the students are using the Benchcrafted vises – including the tail vise and the Glide vise. These involve more parts and more operations than a simple bench, but we all know it will be worth the effort.

We took a break this afternoon to visit the Saulmon Early Technology Lab at Berea College, and later everyone took a nap while I delivered a presentation on the evolution of workbenches with the lights down low. So it was a low-key day.

But it is going late. It’s 10 p.m. and we still have four students going hard at it – determined to make some more progress before the chariot turns into a pumpkin.

Saturday is the last day of the class. It will be interesting to see what happens.

— Christopher Schwarz

Read the other stories in this series:
French Workbench – Monday
• French Workbench – Tuesday
• French Workbench – Wednesday
• French Workbench – Thursday

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