In Chris Schwarz Blog, Schwarz on Workbenches

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It seems, well, insane that I would want to build another workbench. But it’s your fault. Really.

After my book “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” came out in 2007, there was one significant criticism from readers that hit home. Why didn’t I discuss knockdown workbenches in any detail?

It was a valid question. So much so that I wrote a free supplementary chapter for the book about knockdown hardware and the strategies for attaching the top to the base that would allow any bench to be broken down.

We are a mobile society, and moving a workbench is a valid concern.

So when Managing Editor Megan Fitzpatrick wanted to build a workbench, I insisted that it be able to knock down flat, plus it had to fulfill all the high expectations I have for a good workbench. After a couple hours of design work in SketchUp, I think I’ve come up with a bench that can be built quickly and easily — and be knocked down in about 10 minutes tops.

We’re hard at work on the bench this week, and I have to admit that it has been a cakewalk. It took us some time to laminate the top because we were interrupted by some special events and pesky magazine deadlines. However, with those behind us, things are moving quickly. The top is done. Today we assembled the entire base and started installing the hardware. I’ve never had a bench go together so quickly and easily. We probably have about 15 hours of shop time in the bench at this point.

One of the things that has made this project easy is that we are using laminated veneer lumber and a full suite of power tools.

Confession time: I have been hard at work on a hand-tool book since February 2009 and have hardly used an electric tool. It has been an enlightening journey, but I also have been itching to bust through some stock with the machinery in our shop.

For this bench, I vowed to build the sucker without picking up a plane or a chisel. And I’d kept my vow until today. We were fitting the nut block for the leg vise and it was about .003″ too wide. Instead of futzing around with the table saw I dressed the block with a jointer plane.

Megan made a “tsk” noise.

By the end of the workday on Tuesday we had the base entirely bolted together (wow is it stable). But the top stretchers were still a tad too proud of the tops of the legs for my liking. So I broke down again and started planing things with one of the new Stanley No. 4 smoothing planes. I was surprised how easily the adhesive in the LVL planed up. However, we’ll see how long the iron can withstand that sort of abuse.

As Megan and I wrapped up the day we started debating what to name the bench when we publish the plans in the November 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking. Megan suggested the “Cheap & Easy Workbench.” I did not make that up. I countered with the “Franken-Roubo Bench” because of all the bolts. Megan came up with “La Petite Roubo,” to which I wondered “What, no early modern English name?”

We’re at a loss for a name for the bench. If you have one, post it in the comments before midnight Aug. 3. If we pick yours we’ll send you an autographed copy of my book on workbenches and our eternal thanks (which also fits in a No. 10 envelope).

– Christopher Schwarz


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Showing 107 comments
  • John Walker

    La’Rouvelle

    Past the deadline I know, but for what it’s worth, that’s what I’m gonna call it!
    Regards
    John

  • Scott

    Past the deadline I know, but I’m just endorsing a name already mentioned…

    Gotta go with the Lambo. Although, Green Bay Packer fans will think it’s named after their field.

  • JJ Gray

    Low Dough Roubo
    The L-Bo Bench
    The Low-Down Knock-Down

  • Doug Fulkerson

    Ok, it is a knock down Roubo made from LVL, but it’s still a Roubo and not really a "new" bench. It’s really an adaptation.
    So,in the seme way we name ships,(and a tip of the hat to Megan) call it the Portia, after this Shakespeare quote.

    "Think you I am no stronger than my sex, Being so father’d and so husbanded?" Julius Caesar (II, i, 296-297)

    It may be the lowest bench in the shop, but it comes from good stock. 🙂

  • Philippe

    or also:

    Demoiselle Roubo (Miss Roubo)

  • Philippe

    Inspired by the previous entry:

    The Wenchbo bench or
    Fillette de Roubo (Roubo’s daughter in french)

  • Matthew Holbrook

    Chris:

    I suggest we keep it simple.

    My name for your LVL workbench is:

    The Ply-Bench.

    Regards,

    Matthew Holbrook
    Reformedtruth@yahoo.com

  • Doug

    My suggestion with a nod to Megan as well as the ability to knock this baby down is the Wrench Bench.

  • aris

    Lvly (pronounced: el-vlee or loo-vly or la-vly)

  • Phil Gilstrap

    How about Megan’s Knock-down Laminar Workbench?
    Not too cute but very descriptive, and Megan gets a place in history….Phil

  • kenny freeman

    How about Lamb Bench.It was built for a Megan so it should be a girly name.

  • Ronald Deal

    How about this simple name! Lamo Bench
    Ron Deal

  • Brian

    How about the Glue-Lam-Bo bench?

  • Jeff Brown

    How about "Son of Roubo".

  • Jay Hitchens

    Some of these creative names for Megan’s bench are a tough act to follow. I do have a suggestion for the name of the people submitting them –

    Megan’s "Lamalama Dingdongs"

    Jay

  • Vince M

    When I think abount laminated wood, I think of the Dagwood Bumstead sandwich from the Blondie comic strip. It even has the word wood in it!

    "The Dagwood Workbench"

    Vince

  • Lee Laird

    Hard to follow all of the good suggestions, but how about the "Cheap n Easy" bench.

    (Obviously absolutely no reference to Megan! Just felt like I had to dis-associate the name, since so many others had already drawn the connection on theirs.)

    Regards,

  • Jay W. Sprague

    …following Sean’s "Lamb in Tights" idea, it might be shortened to "LAMINTITE" (laminate+Titebond or Lamb+tights)…I yield my prize to Sean for his original idea…

    Jay

  • David

    Megan – Since I’ve already got an autographed copy of Chris’s workbench book, I’ll take myself out of the running for the prize (if you like my entry, donate the book to the local public library – that way, lots of newbie woodworkers will get use out of it).

    While cute ‘n funny names are amusing on a blog entry, my thought is that putting that on the magazine cover probably isn’t going to pass muster. There’s a common, generic name in the construction industry for LVL that’s a lot less opaque than "LVL" – it’s called "gluelam". Therefore, I’d suggest "Modern GlueLam Roubo Bench" for the mag cover, potentially shortened to "Gluelam Roubo"

  • Michael H.

    The ChrisPatrick.

  • TedM

    MegaBench

  • RDW

    The "KDB WorkBench". What does KDB stand for? Figure it out.
    RDW

  • Mark Coleman

    How about,

    " A great new workbench which is made out of LVL and bolted together – which means it is very strong and can easily be broken down into a flat (level) pack so you can transport it easily – if you wish"

    or

    "10 Minute LeVeLer"

    Mark

  • Stuart Hough

    Howzabout the "Quickie Wench Bench"?

  • J Nelson

    The Schwarz-Fitzpatrick Optimized Bench

  • J Nelson

    OOPS. Above I said that Rockler was taking pre-orders for the new Stanley planes and I should have said Hartville Tool. I apologize.

  • Matthew Groves

    The One Man Travelling Bench

  • Joe McMahon

    How about the

    SHORT DOUGH, NEUVO ROUBO

  • Alan

    I would like to change my last entry. 🙂

    WoobieWench Bench (This would be more proper "English";-)

    That would better describe someone that goes around picking up other people’s Woobies…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh RUN……..aaaaaahhhhhhhhh….RUN….aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh…..

  • Bruce

    It’s not a real Roubo.
    So it must be a Roubogus.

  • Kirk

    The Black Pearl. (Scharwz = Black, Fitzpatrick = Pearl?)

  • Alan

    Woobie WenchBench *g*

  • Gene

    Absolutely no idea what you should call Megan’s bench, but I know what your NEXT bench should be:

    Katy’s Bench

    Seems like it’s probably about time, don’t you think? You can’t let the Lang family dominate the magazine forever, now can you?

  • Swanz

    Andy said "Faux-bo"

    hehehe, I like that.

  • Andy

    Faux-bo

  • Narayan

    I’ve started referring to my bench as my "vice jig". But I’d go for less literal and more figurative. Examples below:

    -The Whale Hat
    -Flea Disco
    -Bertram’s Lament
    -Myopic Panopticon
    -The Middle East
    -Artichoke Ladder

    I’m totally going to win.

  • Paul Gardner

    the "Wench Bench"? (confined to the first 2 meanings in the dictionary)

  • Hubert Kunnemeyer

    Every good bench is named after a person so since the two of you built it together I think the name "The SchwarzPatrick" is suitable as it will look good in the history books.

  • James Watriss

    Use the red paint idea (which is cool, btw) and call it "Big Red… the knocked-down knock-down bench."

  • Rob Porcaro

    OK, here goes:

    It’s big, it’s bad, it’s for Megan, it’s by Schwarz/Roubo/Holtzapffel, so . . .

    Megaroubo

    Megaholtz-roubo

    Megaschwoltz-roubo (this gets everyone into the act)

    Happy woodworking, Megan!

    Rob

  • raney

    gluebo definitely gets my vote. With a sub-head of

    "better living through lamination: processed bench food for the woodworking soul"

  • Dylan

    If it’s going to be painted green, call it the Banner Bench, otherwise call it the Barbie Bench (manufactured, plastic, and blonde with dark roots).

  • ServerGoon

    How’s about…

    quick bench (need a bench, you can have this assembled in a jiffy)

    sto-n-go bench (yeah, not very original, but gets the point across)

    temporarily stable bench (stable when assembled temporarily)

    eh, it just keeps getting worse doesn’t it? Better stop now.

    ServerGoon

  • Hank Knight

    How about, simply, "Megan’s Bench?" It is her bench, after all. "Megan" will become synonymous with a fabulously clever, knockdown bench from state of the art materials, just as "Roubo" has become synonymous with the classic bench of his era.

  • Jonathan Hartford

    The Lambo

    ..or, taking the vowel-free LVL name into acount:

    WRKBNCH

  • Bob Armstrong

    Moubo

  • Dave Rodgers

    The Level Bench (The LVL Bench)

    dave r

  • Jeremy

    I like the idea of the cyborg bench, but why not go one step further and just call it a ‘Cylon’. It looks like a workbench, it feels like a workbench, but is it really a workbench? Or is it a mechanical replica of the original?

  • Bryan Lloyd

    What about … The SchwarFitzBench? I bet you can’t say it five times fast!

  • e mojica

    Hello,
    It would be hard to "one-up" any of the great ideas already offered but how about…(I’m not Australian)
    the LVL knockabout workbench.
    (Adj. 1. knockabout – full of rough and exuberant animal spirits; "boisterous practical jokes"; "knockabout comedy", boisterous, spirited – displaying animation, vigor, or liveliness)
    Or, for the sake of descriptiveness, how about the knockdown lvl bench a la roubo.

    Great blog, thanks for being generous and sharing your genius.

  • farms100

    How about YAWB

    Yet Another Work Bench.

    or YAW
    Yet Another Workbench

    or Daddy has a work bench problem, bench.

  • Andrew Friede

    The Short and Sweet Workbench (with apologies to Megan)

    Andy Friede

  • rfrancis

    Schwarzbo

  • Dan Nelson

    Name the bench, "The Megan."

    Maybe I’ve read too many catalogs.

  • Verne Mattson

    Megapffel

    Rouboschwarz

    LamIam

    Megaschwarz

    Or, since it can be broken down and moved, maybe the Mobo-Roubo?

  • John Abbott

    The new bench is obviously a roubikea.

  • Roy Jensen

    How about:

    "little lam"

    "on the lvl"

    "Glue Sandwich"

  • Jon Spelbring

    How about The LeVeL Roubo?

  • Doug Fulkerson

    How about the "New-bo"; modern innovation meets classic performance? The bench for those of us who don’t own a primeval forest.

  • Doug Fulkerson

    How about the "New-bo" – Modern Innovation Meets Classic Design. The bench for those of us who don’t own a primeval forest.

  • Chris Norman

    How about Rou-Borg

    Built from BORG lvl, and it can be assimilated in 10 minutes. 🙂

    Chris Norman

  • ryan

    "The work bench formerly made of wood" . . . then some clever symbol.

  • CHARLIE TURNER

    HOW ABOUT NAMING THE LVL BENCH; "LAM, BAM, THANK YOU MAM BENCH"

  • Brandon Conover

    Envi-Roubo. Looking forward meeting everyone in St. Charles.

    Regards,

    Brandon

  • John

    How about-

    The "Roub-Econ"

  • Kevin

    The Rouboulon Bench
    "Boulon" is French for bolt, and yes, I had to look that up. I have to say though, Lambo is pretty darn clever.

  • Jim White

    LVL is part of a class of materials known in the industry as "engineered wood products"; thus I would offer up the name:

    "The Over-Engineered Workbench"

    …that’s what I’m calling the one I have in progress. It will have an LVL laminated top and all the base baterial is made from 4×4 LSL "Timberstrand"

  • Sean

    Continuing the cheap and easy vibe = "Carpenter’s Dream" Bench

    A nod to the laminate and your generous glue up process = "Mo PVA than Wood" Bench

    Laminates plus the painted legs = "Lamb in Tights" Bench

  • Gye Greene

    The Lasagne Bench (all them layers…).

    Based on Megan’s comment: The Low-Rider Bench.

    The Zebra Bench (again, all them stripey layers).

    –GG

  • Bruce Jackson

    GlueBo hit my funnybone, too. Better than The Will-Shake-Less Bench?

  • Ethan

    It has a top that will stay flatter than most.
    It has a very stable base.
    It easily packs down for mobility.
    It can be built in half the time.
    It’s smaller than the average workbench.

    How about, "The Smart Bench"?

  • Ken Smith

    I think you should call it "Cybench 2009" As in Cyboard, as in Cyborg…

  • Mark Lorion

    Just finishing a knockdown version of your "$175 bench" from 2x’s and a laminated IKEA top and appreciated the supplementary chapter for ideas about attaching the top – thanks!

    For your LVL bench, how about "Why Knot?". The typical weekend woodworker has so little free time, rather than getting obsessed with making an elegant maple bench (consuming months of time) crank this baby out in a weekend and use that precious time for projects – plus, you don’t have to deal with any "knots" in the wood 😉

    Mark L

  • David

    and we called it "Fred". (Rodney Carrington reference)

  • Guy Forthofer

    The LVL ASAP Bench

    Although I personally liked Joel’s "Wench Bench".

    Guy

  • Rob

    The Apartment Work Bench.

    or

    Gen X Work Bench.

    Rob

  • Jerry Lassetter

    In your appendix you write about “engineering” a workbench that is stable and can be broken down. LVL is an “engineered” lumber. Why not call it “The Engineered Workbench.”

  • Rob

    The Apartment Work Bench.

    That would catch some attention on your magazine cover.

    Alternatively. The Gen X Work Bench.

    Rob

  • Gil

    Le Petit Lamine

  • raf verpooten

    why not: MYB MoveMyBench

  • Randy Klein

    Since it’s a Roubo attached with bolts, you can call it the "RouBolt"

  • Greg Barringer

    How about The Laminator? Or Laminateur?

  • roger savatteri

    .

    "The Pop-Up Workbench"

    or

    "The Pop-Up / Pop Down Workbench"

    or

    "The Almost Pop-Up/Pop-Down Workbench"

    or

    "The 10 Minute Pop-Up/Pop-Down Workbench"

    .

  • Glenn Whitener

    I don’t have a good, catchy name to offer, but the Gluebo suggestion is pure gold. This is provided, of course, that the thing is actually in the Roubo style. If it’s not, my suggestion would be to go full Deutsch and call it a Leimholz Bench, since you know, that sounds somewhat exotic, and heck, it could be someone’s name.

  • Ananda Dorje

    keep it simple: "(the) laminated lumber workbench" has a nice ring…or "the loader" since lvl is designed to carry loads…

    how about "(a/the) knock down, drag out workbench"

  • Tex

    Stable and Portable Bench

    Solid Knockdown Bench

    Roubo-Lite

    Great blog, btw.

    Tex

  • Alan

    Boltsappfel

  • Tony

    Midget "LVL" Roubo

  • J Nelson

    "I’ve never had a bench go together so quickly and easily."

    If it was that quick and easy you could call it Megan’s Queasy Bench.

    How do you like the new Stanley plane? Do you also have the new Stanley block planes? I see Rockler’s is taking pre-orders for them.

  • Mike Morris

    So the quickest thing that came to mind (a little slow after some Landshark Lager) was related to a deodorant commercial. ‘LVL – Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman’. Then you can add all kinds of smelly puns to the article and make it a really entertaining read for your audience.

    Regards,
    Mike

  • Patrick Secord

    Though its pedigree is not truly French, but has the ancestry:
    Roubo a la mode
    or
    Faux Bois Roubo

    Did I miss it, how were the beams to hand plane and resulting edge afterwards? Is the glue very hard or brittle in comparison to the SYP, and isn’t the grain all crazy/random?
    Cheers
    Patrick

  • Mike Siemsen

    The LoVeLy Bench.

  • benito

    The Lam-Wow! (Ok, that one might not age too well, more of a joke, really…)

    The One-Weekend Workbench? Nice alliteration (or is it assonance?), if little else.

    The T-Rex? I was thinking "Lam-rock"–maybe the Bowie Bench?

    The Bentham? (Utilitarianism, right? Or am I going too deep?)

    The Shakespeare? In honor of Megan, obviously (by the way, I thought Rob’s "Fitzpatrick" was good). This may seem horribly unsuitable for an LVL bench, but think about it: layers upon layers…yes? You’re right, no.

    I’ll probably come up with more as soon as I send this. It’s fun.

  • dave ball

    I was thinking you called it the Holtz-bo in one of the early blog entries, and someon suggested in the comments that the Roubapffel (sounds like a pastry) might be better. Let’s take that one more step with the Holtz-lambo. Maybe PlyBo….

  • megan

    Thanks Rob. To be fair, though, I’ve served pretty much only as an outfeed table and glue girl on this project.

    Joel, Gluebo is pretty good; Wench Bench is funny (yeah, I suppose I should be offended, but it made me laugh).

    What Chris didn’t mention in the post is that this one looks like it got whacked at the kneecaps compared to Chris’s Roubo, Bob’s 21-st Century Bench and Glen’s Shaker bench. I’m _almost_ 5’6" — it’s perfect planing height for me.

  • Swanz

    The SYP Yellow Glue Hybrid Roubo.

  • Since it’s a modern bench w/ no popularly known equal, why not call it the Fitzpatrick? I think Megan’s done enough to get her due. 🙂

  • joel

    Gluebo
    YAPWWB (prounounced Yap Wib Yet – Another Popular Woodworking Work Bench)
    The BLT (Bolted, Laminated Top) or Bolted, Laminated Together)
    The Wench Bench
    The Wench

  • Peter Evans

    How about the:

    The JunkTimber WorkBench

    Cheers
    Peter

  • Stewart

    The LVL-Best Workbench

  • Wes Smith

    RouboNator or RouboNated Bench?

    Wes Smith

  • Jason Weaver

    Being a laminated Roubo, I would call it the Lambo Bench.

    To better describe it, I might go with the Lambo Knockdown Bench.

  • Kevin Doyle

    Microlam Macrostrong Mighty Stable Roubo Bench or some such combination.

  • Will Stone

    How about the "The Economical Roubo". Or the "The Modern Roubo".

    Will Stone

  • Jay W. Sprague

    LeVeL Bench, LSP Bench (level, square, plumb), ROULVLBO ROULVLBOHO, FRANKENROLVL, RouHoltzaLeVeL…

    …you know, something like that.

    Good luck, enjoy your work/magazine/blog/books etc.

    Jay

  • Jeroen

    I’m very curious about that new book you are writing. Is it all about saws, since you post so much on it lately?

    And why don’t you keep the name simple: the LVL knockdown bench.

    Jeroen v.d. Berkmortel

  • Terry Lee

    How about the "Franken-RoubEasy Bench"?

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