My Workbench Design – 3rd Pass

Searching the internet I found other small workbenches that might work for me. Among them, Popular Woodworking’s 24-hour Workbench, one of Chris Schwarz’s first “how to build a workbench” articles. Then Chris came along with another hit, the $175 Workbench. Either of these benches could possibly work but I didn’t believe them heavy enough for serious hand tool work.

$175 Workbench from Popular Woodworking February 2001

Least you think I’m under the employment of Popular Woodworking let me also direct you to Bob Key’s workbench pages, plenty of good stuff there. Go to Workbench Design.net for the world’s largest consolidated list of workbench resources. And how about Tom’s Torsion Box Workbench, I’ve used this tail vise dodge in one of my earlier benches.

Tom's Torsion Box Workbench by Tom Casper originally published in Woodwork October 1996

Another couple of benches I looked at that can sort of be lumped together as German-style benches because of their double-screw face vise were Bob Lang’s 21st-Century Workbench and Holtzapffel Workbench, again by Chris Schwarz.

Bob’s 21st Century Workbench is just too big for me but looks really great with lots of ways to hold wood and deserves a good look especially if you use mixed tools in your shop.

The current king of workbench design has got to be Christopher Schwarz at Popular Woodworking magazine. How many benches has he built, 6-7? I just love somebody like him blazing the trail for us? Used to be my bible was Fine Woodworking but no more, Chris is on the money now.

The Holtzapffel Workbench is the right size but has all the wrong vises. A double screw vise might be great for carcase dovetailing but I wouldn’t want it for my primary face vise. And what about that big metal Record vise as the tail vise, what’s up with that?

The tops of both these benches use laminated lumber making for a lot of work which I wish to avoid. I’m leaning toward big slabs of 12/4 already to go instead of all the gluing and clamping needed to laminate a top.

If you are interested in either of these two, it is a simple matter to search Sketchup’s 3D Warehouse for existing models of them. I’ll keep looking…next time from Chris’ workbench book.

- Carl

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