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This is an excerpt from The New Traditional Woodworker by Jim Tolpin.
In traditional Western-style woodworking, the workbench was central to nearly all the woodworking processes. This is where the artisan planed surfaces and trued edges; ripped and crosscut short lengths of stock to size (with smaller-sized panel saws or bow saws); made precision cuts for joints (with backsaws); pared joints; chopped out mortises and put together smaller assemblies such as drawers. As a new traditional woodworker, this is where you will be spending more than 90 percent of your time as well. As you might rightly assume, it’s crucial to choose the right type and size of bench to accommodate you and the kind of work you intend to do at the bench. There are many styles of benches to choose from.

Some, like the low-slung and massive Roubo and English-syle benches, lean more toward accommodating planing and coarser joinery work (such as chopping out mortises) while the typical northern European “Continental” benches with their higher stature and large shoulder vises lean more toward accommodating cabinetmaker’s performing finer joinery (such as sawing out dovetails and other close, precise work).


 

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