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

moxon_overall_IMG_0097

Small Changes to my Moxon Vises

Since I began making Moxon-style vises in 2010, I’m made several dozens for students customers and have made some small changes to the way I build them. Above all, I try to keep my Moxon vises as simple and compact as possible, which is why I haven’t added tables or other gizmos. Here is...

cork_open_IMG_9894

Improve the Grip of all Your Vises: $10

For many years I’ve lined the jaws of all my vises with sueded leather to improve their grip. Whenever I mention that I do this, I get a barrage of questions: Where do you buy suede? (Really? Any craft store, fabric store, Tandy etc.) What glue do you use? (Any glue. Hide, yellow glue,...

crisscross_holtzapffel_IMG_9857

The Best $139 I’ve Spent on my Bench

After 19 years of building workbenches and testing workholding devices, I am darn picky about what equipment I have on my benches. In truth, I don’t have a lot of vises on my benches because I prefer simple workholding. But when it comes to my leg vise – the most important part of my...

Holdfast-holes

Holdfast Holes: Where Should They be Located?

You don’t need a lot of holdfast holes to hold most work on your bench. In fact, I’ve found that somewhere between eight and 10 holes is more than enough for most work. And if I used a tail vise, I probably could get away with just two or three holdfast holes. The topic...

disassemble_bench_IMG_9728

Disassemble Heavy Joints

Sometimes you can get a joint together no problem. But getting it apart is another matter. With the joints for a heavy French workbench, disassembling a test-fit gives many beginning woodworkers a fit. Many times they end up slamming hammers or mallets on places that are easily bruised (including their hands). The easiest way...

paring_block_IMG_9724

Pare Odd Corners With a Homemade Jig

The sliding dovetail joint on the heavy French workbench is one of its most distinctive features. And if you mess it up, everyone will notice. So today I took an hour to pare the female part of the joint with some care to get a tight fit with the male part on the leg....

FORP_upside_down_bench_IMG_9670

Eleventy-hundred Benches Later, a New Glue

I know that some day I’ll perfect building these simple French workbenches, but it won’t be today. After 10 years of making benches by myself and in groups, I’m finding new strategies for making them better. The last time we built these French oak workbenches the wood was wet – sometimes out of the...

FORP_joineter_fence_IMG_9669

The Best Jointer Fence I’ve Used

All stock jointer fences stink. No matter how tightly you crank them down or how gingerly you treat them, they won’t remain square to the tables. Why? Because they can be adjusted off 90°. Anything that can be adjusted will eventually go out of adjustment. So today at the French Oak Roubo Project, we...