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Last week Megan Fitzpatrick and I put the finishing touches on her new workbench, which was built using an ancient French design, 19th-century fasteners and modern materials (laminated veneer lumber).

We are pleased with the result.

The bench base and top are made of LVL and can be knocked down in minutes thanks to its nuts-and-bolts fasteners (the leg vise and sliding board jack are maple). The overall workholding and structure of the bench is ideal for anyone who uses hand tools, power tools or both in their work , thanks to Andre Roubo’s 18th-century drawings of workbenches.

Lately as I’ve been sketching workbenches (and I do sketch a good number of them) I’ve been incorporating more dramatic curves into the details. These curves are still based on traditional proportions (arcs, ogees etc.), but I’ve decided I like a good swoop or two on a rectilinear bench. This design is the first one of my curvy benches to see the light of wood.

The complete plans for this workbench will be featured in the November 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine, which will go on sale in early October. We held a little contest for naming the bench, and Megan liked “Gluebo” the best (which was submitted by Joel Moskowitz, who is one clever monkey). And while its name won’t make it on the cover of the magazine (we try not to use made-up words) it’s what we call the bench when we accidentally run into it.

– Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 7 comments
  • Gavin Burrows

    Very nice. I made a small version of this bench (1610x375mm) pretty much as described in the book and I love it. I have a Record #52 vice on the right hand end as well as the leg vise. Like the bench above, I’m using a Veritas clamp on the right leg to hold that end of long boards. Colour wise, mine is the opposite of the one above, New Guinea Rosewood top and Australian Silver Ash base. But you won’t find curves on my bench:) Who needs a new design, when Roubo’s from long ago is just so good.

  • Christopher Schwarz

    If you build it with a metal leg vise screw (instead of wood), then it’s about a $400 bench, all told.

    That’s really about as cheaply as you can get an 8′ bench.

    They don’t sell LVL by the bf, but you can figure out your costs. A 24′-long 2 x 12 is $109 here in Cincinnati.

    Hope this helps.

  • Kevin Thomas

    By any name it is a nice bench.

  • Jonathon R.

    Why not just call it "Megan’s Bench" ?

  • Russell Kay

    I’m curious as to what the final materials cost for the LVL was on this bench. Was it more or less expensive than your previous SYP (pretty much unavailable to us here in the northeast)? And what does the cost run in terms of $/bd-ft, so we can compare it to available hardwoods?
    — Russ

  • megan

    I think you’re referring to the "nut block," which is attached to the back of the leg; it’s what the screw threads into.

  • Shannon

    What is the small piece of wood on the left side of the leg vise leg?

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