Chris Schwarz's Blog

I Guess it’s a ‘Deadwoman’

For me a design is never done until the finish is on the piece, I’ve stared at the thing for a long time and I’ve turned my back on it.

Up until that moment, I’ll readily shift gears if need be. I’ll order new hardware, rebuild a drawer or change a moulding. So this morning I found myself in SketchUp tinkering with the design of the laminated veneer lumber (LVL) workbench we’re building in the shop right now.

First I tweaked the parallel guide for the leg vise. I added an ogee to one end of the guide and decided to attach the guide to the chop with a wedged through-tenon.

Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick wanted a sliding deadman on the bench, which is a great accessory for working on long edges of boards or assemblies. I have a couple common shapes that I use when I make deadmen, which some people call a “sliding board jack.”

But for Megan’s bench, I wanted to go with something even curvier. Not because she’s a woman (honest , if that were the case, I’d be a real dead man) but because I really like to have a few bold curves in a project that has such a strong rectilinear look , I’ve always admired George Ellis’s designs for Gustav Stickley that did this.

I saw a few bold deadmen when I looked over the old workbenches in the tool collection of John Sindelar a few years ago. So I copied some of those shapes and drew what you see here.

I’m not completely sold on the placement of the holes in the deadman. I’ll have to work those out in the shop, but I’m fairly close to what I want.

So now I better hurry back into the shop and build it before I change my mind again.

- Christopher Schwarz

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4 thoughts on “I Guess it’s a ‘Deadwoman’

  1. Stuart Hough

    Chris,
    You should put the hols up the middle of the
    dead(wo)man, that way it’ll look like a corset. Wouldn’t that be a sexy addition (at least for us lecherous old men!)

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