Chris Schwarz's Blog

Other Bench-building Adventures

As the Holtzapffel workbench from Issue No. 8 has been making its way into the hands of readers, there have been a fair number of questions landing in my e-mail about the bench.

One of the most common questions has been about which bench is my favorite. The answer is simple, but it vexes many readers: My favorite bench is any workbench that can pass the simple Kitchen Test. I don’t care if it’s French, English or made out of termite-barf MDF.

But to give you a (I hope) more satisfying answer: I have the Holtzapffel bench in my shop at home. I have the Roubo-style workbench in the shop at work. And the English-style workbench I built in December is in the basement workshop of a close friend, after almost wiping out his stairwell wall during the moving process. I hated to give up the English workbench but it was just too big for my diminutive home shop.

The other question that is coming up quite a bit is: Do you have any more plans, photos and drawings for the Holtzapffel workbench? The answer is no, I’m afraid. I poured everything I had into the article in Issue 8.

However, there are some other great bench-building resources now on the Internet that can help you plumb deeply into the bench-building process in a level of detail I couldn’t achieve in a printed magazine.

Fellow Midwesterner David Pearce is in the middle of building a Holtzapffel-style workbench and is documenting the entire process in remarkable detail on the excellent WKFineTools.com site run by Wiktor Kuc. Pearce provides everything that my article does not: encouragement, details on alternate processes and additional step photos. It’s an excellent companion site to my article, especially for a first-time bench builder.

Another good site to watch is Miraboo’s “Sidney Woodsmith” blog. Miraboo has designed an interesting hybrid bench and is still in the planning stages of building his workbench. His current design is a little bit French and a little bit English. The design could change, so stay tuned.

And finally, Jeremy Burton’s blog at WolfpackWoodworks.com is also a good saga to follow. Jeremy has built a rough bench to experiment on so he can develop his plans for his dream bench (a good idea; wish I had thought of that). His current bench is a little bit Roubo with some other engineering involved. Check it out.

If you have a blog that details your bench-building experience, let me know and I’ll share it with other readers. Just leave a comment below.

– Christopher Schwarz

2 thoughts on “Other Bench-building Adventures

  1. Dave Pearce

    Thanks for the kind words Chris. Honestly, the plans you made were easy to follow, even for a beginner like myself.

    Of course, there’s more installments coming up, with *alot* more pictures to document the whole process I’m going through and I’ll probably throw in more of "coulda done that, shoulda done this" stuff as well.

    However, I’ll spare everyone the pictures of my bruised and battered hands, the trips to the store for "yet more lumber", and my wife wondering if I’ll come in from the garage after 2am again tonight.

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