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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:00 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:06 am
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Location: Howell MI
So last night I finished reading the "opening" part of Chris Schwarz's bench book and went into the actual build section for the English bench. My question is: How many people actually built or have a bench like this? I see the purpose of it and see the benefit it provides but I am not even close to having the skill set necessary to build this bench! I was super excited to get going on the project until I realized I do not know how to create a good mortise/tenon joint, or match angles that well, nor do I have an current bench to build this bench on.

I am thinking that I will shelve this book for about 10 years or so and then tackle this bench. Is that a good idea? Right now I am thinking I just need a 6' long 30" wide slab to put things on and make stuff. Don't get me wrong there were a lot of helpful tips in there but for now, what do you think?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:32 am 
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Obsessed
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Location: Northville, MI
My opinion, so doesn't work for everyone. My shop is intended to work on projects for the house and people. I do not spend time making shop equipment or tools. With my limited time I don't want to spend it on shop stuff. With that said I spend $$ on shop stuff. If I am missing a certain skill I'll build something that requires it, that's how I practice.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:07 am 
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Location: Farmington Hills
Maybe start out with something simpler.

http://www.finewoodworking.com/2013/03/ ... ck-to-make

http://www.eaa1000.av.org/technicl/work ... blefig.htm

They are made out of pine so the cost is cheaper and the wood is easier to work with then hard wood. A good solid work bench really helps out in the shop. I don't think you need a fancy one like in the book, just something solid. I plan to make one of Schwarz benches just have not found a large amount of extra time to build it. Here is the work bench I use.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:37 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:38 am
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Location: Brighton, MI
I built the french bench from his first book with the laminated pine top. I happen to really like it, but I had more time back then. It does take a lot of time (and clamps) to laminate the top. I started building a second bench for my house (the original is at my father's) and "cheated" by buying a laminated beam from Fingerle Lumber. Within a few hours I had it flattened and started building the legs. It's heavy enough that if you wanted you could just rest it on some beefy saw horses and you would be done.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:20 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:06 am
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Location: Howell MI
Jacob Nothstine wrote:
Maybe start out with something simpler.

http://www.finewoodworking.com/2013/03/ ... ck-to-make

http://www.eaa1000.av.org/technicl/work ... blefig.htm

They are made out of pine so the cost is cheaper and the wood is easier to work with then hard wood. A good solid work bench really helps out in the shop. I don't think you need a fancy one like in the book, just something solid. I plan to make one of Schwarz benches just have not found a large amount of extra time to build it. Here is the work bench I use.


Thank you for the links, that second one is great; maybe that is the route I will go for now.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:51 pm
Posts: 501
Location: Warren MI.
MillerMav wrote:
I realized I do not know how to create a good mortise/tenon joint, or match angles that well,

Not a typical Roubo style woodworkers bench, But I built a workbench like this one from plywood. http://www.finewoodworking.com/2007/08/17/rock-solid-plywood-bench It offers the benefits of a mortise/tenon joint with-out having to actually cut one.

All in all it's a nice sturdy workbench! I added an additional layer of plywood to the top & also some "T" track placed where the typical "dog holes" would go.

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Doug


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:03 pm 
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Location: Manchester, MI
I stole this design a while back. It would make for an inexpensive, very sturdy bench. There is one set of "cut" mortises for the end stretchers.

Personally, I would joint and plane the 2x's square... if only the top.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 1:12 pm 
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Location: Rochester MI
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A bench is a curiously personal piece of equipment. My guess is you'll need to make 2-3 to find out what you like and dislike and how to support your methods of work. My latest is under construction and influenced by my Grandfathers split bench.

All Lam'd pine 2x4s (Cheap) Front half is 12" deep and the back is 10" with a 3" gap in the middle. A wagon vise on one end and 7" Wilton on the face. No trough, I use the front half for all my work and the back half for support and tools, the split is for clamping, troughs IMHO just collect chips n' dust and tools that really should be put away.

It's currently still sitting on a set of horses I built specifically as a "skill builder" to improve my mortising techniques for the undercarriage. Legs and stretchers are 4x4 & 2x6 cedar (complete with cracks). Should be complete in the next 3-4 weeks. (yes, I'm slow)

Schwarz has a great post on Popular Woodworking on the "The 10 Mistakes of First-time Bench-builders

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:28 pm 
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Master

Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:39 am
Posts: 134
Location: Plymouth
Lost Art Press just released a 4+ hour video (!!!) of Mr. Schwarz and Wil Myers building a huge slab-top Roubo. They don't go through every minute step -- they expect you know some of the basic vocabulary and techniques, of course -- but they cover all the major points in pretty good detail. And to boot, they show how each of those major steps can be performed fully by hand, fully by power, or using a hybrid approach. So there's something for everyone.

It is $35, and if you're really considering putting the bucks and time into building your "last" bench, it's a great watch. If I can track down an appropriate slab between now and before snow, this will be my winter project. Though mine will be substantially smaller, more like 5' or so in length (I think the video they are working a 9' slab!).

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:59 pm 
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Master
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Location: Dearborn, MI
I just did my first mortise and Tenon on a Shaving Horse that i built. It was super ugly but i dont care and am also glad that i didnt do it on some furniture that i want to build. Perfect chance to learn how to do all that work.

I built my shaving horse at my parents house without my shop tools. I had a circular saw, hand plane, drill/bits, and chisels. It took longer but you can do anything with enough time and focus. Just remember that its easy to destroy it and start over on that piece.

Edit: I also used Epoxy instead of yellow wood glue since its better at filling gaps.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:50 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:44 am
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Location: Rochester MI
Yep - my mortises are not the prettiest things. I'm really glad that I didn't spend big bucks on the wood (2x and 4x stock) The fist try on the legs ended with both having a slight twist when I inserted them into the sled foot :cry:

Second time around looks far better and I've save my ego a bit because they will all be hidden once the bench top is in place. :s_biggrin


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:39 am
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Location: Plymouth
There are no prizes for pretty mortises... my dad was repairing an old rocker a year or so ago and I came to take a look at it -- beautiful chair, certainly built by hand, and the bottoms of those mortises looked like hell. :p But the tenons were turned neat and shoulders made cleanly.

Hey, if anything, a pretty mortise will be less functional -- burnish the hell out of that wood and it'll look shiny and clean, but the glue can't do its thing...

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:47 am 
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Obsessed
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MillerMav wrote:
I am not even close to having the skill set necessary to build this bench!


You're wrong. I built a European-style woodworker's bench (see example pic below) when I was so new to the hobby that all I had was a contractor's saw, a cheap craftsman router and some hand tools. Many apprenticeship programs back in the day had the apprentices make their own workbenches as a skill-building exercise.

I'm also going to pick with Jim Young on this - :mrgreen: - building things for your shop, particularly things like tool cabinets and workbenches can be just as much fun as building furniture. I really don't see any difference. If I'm in the shop making something and using tools, I'm happy.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:40 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:30 am
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Location: ann arbor
jayed_coins wrote:
Lost Art Press just released a 4+ hour video (!!!) of Mr. Schwarz and Wil Myers building a huge slab-top Roubo. They don't go through every minute step -- they expect you know some of the basic vocabulary and techniques, of course -- but they cover all the major points in pretty good detail. And to boot, they show how each of those major steps can be performed fully by hand, fully by power, or using a hybrid approach. So there's something for everyone.

It is $35, and if you're really considering putting the bucks and time into building your "last" bench, it's a great watch. If I can track down an appropriate slab between now and before snow, this will be my winter project. Though mine will be substantially smaller, more like 5' or so in length (I think the video they are working a 9' slab!).


Slab source? Dave Gendler aka Dial up Dave


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:39 am
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Location: Plymouth
Steve Sawyer wrote:
MillerMav wrote:
I am not even close to having the skill set necessary to build this bench!


You're wrong. I built a European-style woodworker's bench (see example pic below) when I was so new to the hobby that all I had was a contractor's saw, a cheap craftsman router and some hand tools. Many apprenticeship programs back in the day had the apprentices make their own workbenches as a skill-building exercise.

I'm also going to pick with Jim Young on this - :mrgreen: - building things for your shop, particularly things like tool cabinets and workbenches can be just as much fun as building furniture. I really don't see any difference. If I'm in the shop making something and using tools, I'm happy.

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I can see both sides, your POV and Jim's. It is obviously very specific to each personal situation and preference, and those situations and preferences can change on a dime... :)

Examples... I bought a couple of nice QSRO bench hooks from Bad Axe when I started the hobby... after building and quickly beating up two I had built from home center pine. I took what I learned from the shop-made bench hooks and the purchased ones and built a pretty alright shooting board out of ply and hard maple for the stops.

I made my own winding sticks because I had a nice board of 5/4 sapele that was too small to make anything else with, but was too gorgeous to put in the burn pile. It was a fun and easy project and yielded a tool as functional as anything I could've purchased, and significantly more pleasing to look at than most affordable options (a pair of sterile metal straight edges).

On a workbench, I think there's a ton of value building your own. I say this as someone that has been using a cheap Sjoberg's knockoff for a little over two years and has thoroughly outgrown its capability. To have a lifetime quality workbench that won't shrug under heavy jack planing or an activity like hand ripping, you can certainly buy a Lie-Nielsen, or even some of the upper-tier Sjoberg's. But you can build the same thing for less than half the price without even trying to save money.

Maybe right now I'm biased because I 1) desperately need a new bench to have an adequate place to work as my skills are starting to expand and the projects I want to take on are more demanding; 2) I can't afford a $2500 Lie-Nielsen; 3) I am doing all handwork so a heavy-ass bench (that's a technical term) is super important to resist the racking forces that most hand operations generate.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:04 pm 
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Master

Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:39 am
Posts: 134
Location: Plymouth
kludwig wrote:
jayed_coins wrote:
Lost Art Press just released a 4+ hour video (!!!) of Mr. Schwarz and Wil Myers building a huge slab-top Roubo. They don't go through every minute step -- they expect you know some of the basic vocabulary and techniques, of course -- but they cover all the major points in pretty good detail. And to boot, they show how each of those major steps can be performed fully by hand, fully by power, or using a hybrid approach. So there's something for everyone.

It is $35, and if you're really considering putting the bucks and time into building your "last" bench, it's a great watch. If I can track down an appropriate slab between now and before snow, this will be my winter project. Though mine will be substantially smaller, more like 5' or so in length (I think the video they are working a 9' slab!).


Slab source? Dave Gendler aka Dial up Dave


Ah yes -- I replied to one of his classified's about it the other day. :) I've noticed he seems to log on a couple times a week so I patiently await his reply. He PM'd me earlier in the year when I first started down this path, but to his credit I wasn't thinking about it seriously enough yet. Now, I'm serious and have a time-frame in mind, know what size I want, and am willing to drive up to his place. We'll see what he says!

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