From outside the confines of our shop, the fact that I’m building another workbench might be interpreted as a cry for psychological help. After all, I already have my fair share of workbenches.
But there are some good reasons that I’d like to share with you. And believe me when I say that the problem here isn’t me, it’s you.
1. “Schwarz, your bench is too large.” One of the biggest complaints I get from readers is that there is no way they could fit an 8′-long Roubo-style workbench into their 6′-wide shop. Or they have to have the bench in a public space and can’t have some ugly construction-lumber thing where the guests can see it. This bench is an attempt to build a smaller, apartment-sized bench that will still do full-size work and looks nice enough for a public space.
2. “Dude, I don’t have power tools.” Another criticism: The benches I’ve built have used a combination of power and hand tools. What about the people who work entirely by hand? This bench is an attempt to document the hand process (I used a machine to deal with one nasty part of the top that I should have asked the sawyer to deal with).
3. “I need a place to put my tools.” This bench will have that. Stay tuned.
4. “What about other bench designs out there, such as John White’s “‘Newfangled Workbench?'” This bench won’t address that question, but a book I’m working on now will. Yes, you read that right, a new workbench book.
This book will be a companion to the book “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.” The tentative title of the new book is “The Workbench Design Book.” It will contain complete plans for a bunch of workbenches we’ve published in the past with some updated information and new chapters.
We’ll have chapters that take about 20 common workbench designs (from the “Newfangled Workbench” to Frank Klausz’s workbench) and explain the pros and cons of each design (as I see it). I’m also going to re-draw these classic bench forms (blasphemer!) to show how they can be modified to be more effective.
And we’ll have a chapter on how to make your workbench knock down and an updated chapter on workholding , there have been a lot of new vises that have hit the market since 2007.
The book will be published later in 2010. More details to follow.
We’re also making a DVD that will document the construction of this old-school Roubo bench. Glen Huey has filmed every step of the process (except when I used the band saw. I still feel dirty about that).
As of today, the top of my old-school Roubo workbench is complete, and I am itching to get started on the legs. These will be joined to the top with a sliding dovetail and tenon, which is going to be a lot of fun to cut, especially on this grand scale.
But before I get into that joinery, I wanted to give you a quick video tour of the top so you can see how the epoxy looks and the workholding I’ve installed so far. Take a look.
– Christopher Schwarz