The Quest for a Better Bench #3: The search for inspiration...

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Blog entry by PlanBWoodworks posted 10-28-2017 03:22 AM 1041 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The best bench so far... Part 3 of The Quest for a Better Bench series Part 4: Construction begins... »

As I stated in my previous blog, my first laminated top bench was as solid as anything that I could have hoped for. That being said, before I had even finished building it, and I dare say that I am not the only one that does this, I had already envisioned what I would do differently if I ever built another bench. I built the first laminated top bench to be approximately 48” long by 36” wide. I wanted to have a lot of surface area, but did not have a lot of space for a long bench. Also, the bench was the same height as all of my other work surfaces which is 40”. Now, I am not a tall guy. 5’9”. I think that I grew used to taller benches when I sort of kind of accidentally built my first real bench at like 44” tall.

I knew that if I were to build another bench, I would want to make it longer, more narrow and not as tall. In addition, I wanted to make it more visually appealing. Now, I don’t want a showroom bench. I want a bench that looks good, but one that I am not going to stress WHEN it gets dinged or splattered with stain.

The search for inspiration began with scouring the interwebs and sites like LJs and Pinterest (yeah, I said it). I also completed the required reading, The Workbench Design Book by Christopher Schwarz.

In his book, Schwarz went into great detail about many features and techniques that were exciting and I really wanted to include many of them in the plans for my next bench. I got carried away in dreams of tail vises and tool trays. Dreams of hard maple and sliding dead men and draw boring were entertaining for awhile, but then reality came crashing in. If I built a bench like that, then I would absolutely be terrified to damage it.

I continued my search for inspiration. I found it on the American Workbench website. If you haven’t seen the benches that they offer, then I suggest you stop reading my ridiculous blog and get over to their website post-haste. They have some incredible offerings.

Taking inspiration from their designs, I put together the basic outline for my next bench. The one major design element that I took from Mr. Schwarz was that I wanted the legs to be flush with the front of the bench for work holding.

In the next blog, I will discuss my plan, and describe the first portion of building my better bench.

-- Why can’t I ever find my pencil???

1 comment so far

View Rich's profile


5145 posts in 1197 days

#1 posted 10-28-2017 03:15 PM

My take on workbenches is to let it evolve into something that suits your needs. So many woodworkers obsess with this design or that. The plethora of books, blogs, etc, on workbench design are a testament to that obsession.

Mine started simple and over time became a bench that suits my needs perfectly.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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