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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Félibien and the Fantastic Goberge

  Before Joseph Moxon’s “Mechanick Exercises,” there was André Félibien. Félibien (1619-1695), was an early and important art critic and published a book in 1676 on the tools and processes used by woodworkers, sculptors, painters and architects called “Principes de L’architecture….” The book, published anonymously, is beautifully illustrated. And the plates were almost certainly...

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Getting Bit by the Toothed Planing Stop

I know there are people who use edge tools straight out of the box, but I can’t. I always sharpen them. So why should workbench accessories be any different? For many years I’ve been indifferent to metal planing stops. The aluminum ones are terrible for too many reasons to even get into here. The...

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The Notched Batten – a Great Workbench Trick

Traversing boards without a tail vise can be tricky. For the last eight years, I’ve used a setup that requires two holdfasts and a batten between them. It works fine, but it requires a long batten and two holdfasts to work. Workbench builder Richard Maguire published a tip on his blog this summer that...

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WoodOwl Bits Eat Oak for Lunch

When building a workbench, boring the dog and holdfast holes is a drag, even with an electric drill. Last month, however, that all changed. While building a French oak Roubo workbench at an event put on by Benchcrafted (details here and the movie is here), Jameel Abraham introduced me to Japanese-made WoodOwl Nail Chipper...

The bench before I added the crochet.

Notes on the Two-day Workbench

If I told you that shooting a woodworking DVD is hard work you’d probably laugh. It sounds like a supermodel complaining about a photo shoot for the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. So I won’t tell you how we worked under hot lights with no air conditioning (the microphones pick up the fan noise), or...

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Meet the ‘Two-bo’ Workbench

Getting a good workbench usually takes loads of money, time or both of those things. But what if you tried to be really clever and you used inexpensive construction and home renovation materials to build a massive traditional bench for a fraction of the cost of a commercial bench and with only two days...

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Roman Benches II

Roman workbenches have not left this world. In fact, some people might argue that they are still used today and are called shaving horses. While I don’t have a dog in that particular fight, I do have some evidence to present on how they were used up through the 20th century in their original...

A Roman bench from Pompeii. Probably 50 A.D.

The First Recorded Workbench

The first time I saw an 18th-century workbench, I thought: Wow. That will never work. But then I built some of these benches (dozens, actually), and I am a huge fan of the form’s stability, simplicity and purity. So the first time I saw a Roman workbench from 50 A.D., I thought: Hmmm. That...

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The Milkman’s Workbench in Use

The Milkman’s Workbench – a portable bench I built for the June 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine – is about 653 percent better than my first workbench. Thanks to the clever engineering in the portable bench, it can handle most handwork tasks when clamped to a dining room table or kitchen countertop. My...