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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The Mistakes of First-time Bench-builders

If you’re about to embark on building your first workbench, you might want to read this blog entry. I expect you to discard every piece of advice in it (most bench-builders do) and build the crazy contraption you’ve planned out in your head. Here, in my opinion, are the most common missteps woodworkers make...

Mexican workbench.

Workbenches, Mexi-Roman Style

Discussions about the proper height for a workbench always crack me up because they are usually myopic in the extreme. When you look at workbenches across long periods of time and across cultures, there is a lot more diversity. Roman workbenches, for example, were about knee high. And lest you think that bench went...

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Stop Your Workbench in its Tracks

While this isn’t the dumbest shop trick ever (that honor belongs to: “A coffee mug is a good place to store pencils”) it’s close. About six months ago, I became crazy annoyed about my workbench moving while under heavy planing. The bench weighs about 350 pounds, so it wasn’t a matter of mass. For...

A French bench with 8" x 8" legs and a 4"-thick top.

Can Workbench Legs be too Big?

Jacques writes: I have your workbench book, and I am currently working on my version of the French bench. I had soft maple cut down from my woods, so I had it sawn, and I am working with it for the top. For the legs, a friend of mine gave me four beams that...

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Leg Vise with No Parallel Guide or Garter

Last summer I built a workbench that was as close to the bench shown in A.-J. Roubo’s plate 11 as I could manage. While I still have three details to add to my bench (a drawer, a tool rack and a grease pot), the rest of the bench has been up and running since...

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4 Tricks For Flattening French Benchtops

One of the gripes I hear about French workbenches is that the benchtops are difficult to flatten because of the end grain protruding through the top. I don’t buy it. Here are a few simple tricks that deflate that argument. 1. Start with ‘Stop Shavings’ When I flatten a French benchtop, the first thing...

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A Cousin to the ‘Milkman’s Workbench’

An eagle-eyed reader spotted this small benchtop that looks like the bigger Danish brother to the portable Milkman’s Workbench I wrote about in the June 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. This benchtop was made by LEVARD, a company in Denmark that still manufactures workbenches. I’ve seen LEVARD workbenches in Europe and even the...

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A Close Look at H.O. Studley’s Vises

Once you are able to rip your eyes off of H.O. Studley’s magnificent tool chest, you can spend almost as much time looking at the benchtop and vises of the Massachusetts piano maker. On Monday, Don Williams, the author of a forthcoming book on Studley, and Jameel Abraham of Benchcrafted spent the morning taking...

The bench before I added the crochet.

New Workbench DVD Available for Pre-order

You can now order my newest DVD “Build a Sturdy Workbench in 2 Days” from Popular Woodworking for $24.99. The two-hour video show you how to build a sturdy workbench using home-center materials and a benchtop made using solid-wood kitchen countertop from IKEA. It really can be built in two days – I built...