Chris Schwarz's Blog

Workbench Design Seminar July 14

Designing or purchasing a good workbench is one of the most vexing problems facing woodworkers. The correct combination of materials, overall dimensions and vises is the difference between a workbench that will add speed and fluidity to your work and one that will stand in your way of doing anything with ease.

For the last 10 years, I’ve been studying workbench design, construction and use; and I’ve built more than 10 different workbenches to test the theories and historical research. I’ve written a book on the topic that will be published in late 2007, but you can get a preview of the work at a seminar devoted to workbenches at 10 a.m. July 14 at the Lie-Nielsen Toolworks in Warren, Maine.

During this four-hour seminar, I’ll present the findings using a combination of historical photos and modern recreations of centuries-old workbench designs. I’ll be demonstrating my latest workbench endeavor, a late 19th-century design from Charles Holtzapffel. And I’ll be critiquing workbench designs from attendees at the seminar , so please bring photographs of your current workbench or drawings of the bench you plan to build. I’ll try to show you how to improve your existing bench or alter your design to make it ideal for working with power tools, hand tools or a combination of the two.

In addition to the personalized critiques, all attendees will receive a complete printed plan and drawings for the Holtzapffel bench, which won’t be available to the public until the fall.

If you’ve ever been stymied by the vast number of workbench designs available, this seminar will help you understand workbenches in the simplest terms possible so that the next bench you build (or buy) will be your last bench.

To register or for more details, visit the Lie-Nielsen web site.

– Christopher Schwarz