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When you build a workbench with an impressively thick top, one of the challenges is cutting it to its finished length.

Unless you have an insane circular saw from Mafell.

Yup. The chain mortiser that we used to make the mortises for the base wasn’t the only nutty timber-framing tool we’re using to build these 18th-century style workbenches. We have a circular saw with a blade that belongs on a sawmill.

It made a perfectly square cut on these 140mm-thick benchtops with one pass. One remarkably easy pass. Even with high-end woodworking equipment, this is an almost impossible task.

After cutting the tops to length, most of the students began flattening the undersides of their benchtops to prepare them to receive the bench bases. This was done completely by hand.

Believe me, this week I feel crazily jerked back and forth between the centuries. We’ve been doing so many things in an old-school fashion. But, oh, yes, there’s the chain mortiser.

In the end, it all makes sense because all 13 of us want to have our benches completed by Sunday, which is when the real fun begins. To what am I referring? Let me just say three things. Englishman. Volkswagen Polo. Incredibly big workbench.

Stay tuned.

— Christopher Schwarz

I’m currently teaching a class in building workbenches at Dictum GmbH in Bavaria. You can see the video from the second day of class here. The first video is here.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Julian

    Can’t believe that guy used the giant circular saw without safety glasses. I guess the safety standards are different in Germany.

  • Eric R

    Just got done dancing to the soundtrack!
    (picture arms up, fingers snapping, and dancing like Zorba the Greek!)
    And I thought driving while talking on the cell phone was bad…..oy vey

  • damien

    Planing, by hand? No Mafell 12″ hand planer, I mean 12″ wide 🙂

  • abt

    I like the split handed cell-handplane technique. I can understand the ‘centurial (?)’ confusion. Back in the day it might have been one hand on the pigeon, one on the plane. Nice soundtrack by the way.

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