The Quest for a Proper Workbench

by ziggy on February 16, 2014 -- 1 comment -- Follow


Things are about to get serious. Very serious. Ever since spending time with Greg in his workshop in Tennessee last winter, I’ve realized just how critical it is to have an appropriate space to work on projects. In this case, woodworking projects. Greg has a big 6′ long maple workbench — it’s heavy, solid, and outfitted with extremely useful (and well-made) vises and clamping devices. Using his shop and bench really put the bug in my head that I would like to build my own bench at some point, when space, time, and other factors allowed.

And now I’m graced with having a bit of available time on my hands, and soon, at least some temporary space to set up a workbench. The time has come to build a heavy duty workbench in the traditional style.

The Path to Building a Roubo-Style Workbench

Since winter of 2012, I’ve picked up and studied Chris Schwarz’s Workbenches book, a veritable resource for ideas about how a workbench should be designed and used. The book dismisses all sorts of terrible ideas for a workbench, and quite clearly illustrates several crucial, simple, and downright beautiful design features you might consider. Although a workbench is really nothing more than a simple work-holding device, the beauty and functionality are in the details. Thankfully, Schwarz does an excellent (and very entertaining) job of demonstrating that.

After reading that book, and having more time to think about it, the concepts are pretty clear. As April and I continue to do more in the woodworking realm, and now that we’re living with Jacob who is on a similar path, the combined desire for a decent bench and space to work is too great to ignore.

And so soon we will embark upon making our own Roubo-style workbench. At our current “home base” (and while we seek out land of our own), we are cleaning up Tim and Jane’s workshop space, building lumber racks to better organize and make use of the room. Soon we’ll have room to put a workbench, so we can do all manner of woodworking projects. Projects I imagine doing more of include making trim, building doors, making chairs and simple furniture, carving, etc.

I’ll be posting more about this exciting venture as we hone in on our wood supply and begin building. It’s coming up quick.

Send Me More Updates Like This!

  • Scott

    If you build one, use bolts/threaded rod-that is, if you ever need to move it. My grandfather had a massive workbench (I have no idea what sort of wood it was made of) that was used for everything from building birdhouses to bench-testing flathead V8s. The downside was it couldn’t be disassembled and moved, if necessary.

Previous post:

Next post: