Moravian Bench Reimagined #1: My First Blog

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Blog entry by MagicalMichael posted 09-17-2019 09:15 PM 535 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Moravian Bench Reimagined series Part 2: Why A New Bench Now »

Greetings. My name is Michael and this is my first experience at blogging. Some, yikes, many, years ago when I was doing intensive volunteer work leading non-violence training in a max prison, I got the nickname, Magical Michael. I liked it and have stuck with it ever since.

This blog series will be written as I build a Moravian style workbench. I say “style” because rather than rebuild the Will Myers – Woodwright – Joshua Farnsworth workbench, as excellent as it is, I have felt the need to incorporate contemporary materials, designs and processes. I’ll admit that I have never been good at drawing between the lines, and that aspect of my personality, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse has generally defined my woodworking. This blog series will focus on the thought process that went into problem solving at every step, from imagining to creating. I like thinking, maybe too much, but admit that plumbing generally reduces me to loud anglo-saxon as if it might be more useful than thinking!

I hope this will be useful for those thinking about a bench build, and resonate with those who have been through this process. It seems appropriate to introduce myself, at least as a woodworker. I am not a professional. After learning basic carpentry from my father-in-law (my father couldn’t drive a nail straight and my HS didn’t offer shop courses) I took up furniture building as a hobby, some 40 years ago. At the time I was a H.Q. financial wonk with a Fortune 100 Corporation and woodworking gave an outlet to the romantic in my soul. I gave it full reign, buying jack, joiner, and smoother wooden ECE planes, a set of good Marples chisels, which have survived my long effort to learn how to sharpen, some cabinet scrapers, rules and squares, a 600mm bow saw& multiple blades. I inherited a brute of a craftsman drill and added a good Rockwell circular saw, which I still have, and a cheap Craftsmen table saw. I built a square, plywood & hardboard table and went at it. After a couple of passes at the obligatory plywood bookshelves I built two cherry pieces that still reside in our dining room.

From this project I learned many things but most importantly I learned about the biggest drawback to woodworking as a hobby. Unlike my other hobbies – cycling, gardening, and baseball – you can’t work out inner stress while doing it. You must arrive at the workbench completely centered.

My next big project was a workbench. I decided on the Tage Frid Scandinavian bench. I have been using it ever since. I went to a local craft school, which provided the power tools I needed to complete this project. I really only remember leaning two things at that school. First, some basic instruction on how to avoid cutting off my fingers on power tools (still have ten wigglies). Second, an instructor telling me I was in way over my head. There was a good bit of truth in that second piece of advice but I have no regrets about having chosen to ignore it. That is the bench I am now setting out to replace.

-- michael

3 comments so far

View surrywood's profile


26 posts in 780 days

#1 posted 09-18-2019 09:09 AM

Good luck to you. I will be following along to enjoy the process and progress. I have liked the Moravian since I saw it and am interested in your approach. I built a version of a Nicholson/Paul Sellers bench about 3-4 years ago and while I do like it, I am looking for something more…permanent. So, blog away.

View BubbaIBA's profile


473 posts in 2881 days

#2 posted 09-18-2019 12:46 PM


Good luck with your first blog. I will enjoy kibitizing along with the build.


View EddardFisher's profile


2 posts in 151 days

#3 posted 09-25-2019 09:05 AM

Great review, good luck with the blog. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on him.

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