Three Cultures, One Workbench
The most common question I’m asked these days (right behind “Could you please get me some chocolate raisins at Trader Joe’s?”) is this one: “What is your dream workbench?”
It’s a fine question. And when Craig Stevens at Woodworkers Resource asked me the question for this podcast interview, I stumbled around and answered that it would be something like a Roubo Workbench (a French design), with the workholding of a Holtzapffel Workbench (designed by a German living in England).
A bit of a Euro-mash workbench, I suppose.
Well today, woodworker James Oliver of Vancouver Island, B.C., sent me a photo of that exact workbench, which he has recently completed building. The bench is 112″ long, 27″ wide and 32″ high (James reports that he’s 5’7″ tall). The majority of the bench is structural fir; the vises and sliding deadman are ribbon-figured African mahogany.
The twin-screw vise is even larger than mine , 25-1/4″ between centers. And the jaws are lined with saddle leather. And my favorite detail is the little oil cup on the left side (made from walnut) , Andre Roubo would love it (if he were alive and had a broadband connection).
The bench took about a week to build. James builds furniture for Coastal Carvings fine art gallery using only solid stock, no plywood or veneers.
I think James’s bench is an excellent design. Bravo.