Moravian inspired workbench for the son - recycled wood

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Blog entry by Sylvain posted 04-26-2021 01:55 PM 574 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The pic-nick table in the garden had some rotten board, so my wife wanted a new one. I don’t like to have to do things for the day before yesterday, so we bought a new one. But, that was a great opportunity to recycle the old pic-nick bench. So I offered to the son to make him a Moravian workbench, pointing that:
- it was easily knock down and wouldn’t eat much space in his house;
- he could use it as a buffet table when doing a garden party.
I don’t know if his wife would have objected but these were good arguments if needed. I could also have pointed out that, weather permitting, he could work on it outside.
I have made a Paul Sellers workbench a few years ago and I am perfectly happy about it but a Moravian workbench presented some other challenges like wide, deep and oblique mortises in the feet, deep mortises for the tusk tenons and the big lapped joints of the top rails. My Paul Sellers have served me very well to do this Moravian workbench.
One thing I didn’t respect from the original Moravian workbench is the leg assemblies. I Have decided to make the lower rail with through tenons and to dispense with the middle rail.
The tool-well bottom comes about 10 mm under the workbench-top, in a rebate.
This workbench being done with recycled wood and some construction grade wood, the dimensions of the various parts are only approximately those shown on Will Meyers plans.
In the end, the oblique mortises weren’t really more difficult then straight ones.
I had of course a few brain farts.
-Selecting the nice faces of the board to be the most visible ones and gluing the wrong way so finally the ugliest faces are showing.
- Ripping the board for the round of the tool-well too narrow (subtracting the bottom thickness!?)
- and so on.
What needed some creativity, was marking the pins for the dovetail for the tool-well while ensuring the proper alignment of the grooves. I had the good idea to put the tails on the long board and I made a small rebate to make alignment easier.

So this work bench is made of some pine from the old pic-nick table (bench-top lamination, rails and the two long stretchers) construction grade wood generously given by a neighbor (four feet and vise boards) and some pine bought new for the tool-well.

As one can see, we are still waiting for the delivery of a vise screw.
I started this construction about one and a half month ago.
Except for the holes (vise parallel guide, holes for dowel to keep the top in place and a hole in each key), everything was made with hand tools only.

Untill now, the son has only seen pictures of the construction (covid distanciation).

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

3 comments so far

View Sylvain's profile


1248 posts in 3581 days

#1 posted 04-27-2021 01:07 PM

I made more than 60 pictures of the build but I won’t inflict this to the community.
Thee things that might be useful though are
1. how I chopped wide mortises:
Making two narrow mortises and then chopping the waste in between.

2. ensuring the grooves for the tool-well bottom are aligned when marking the pins of the dovetail joint.

(using an exercise-dovetail as clamping square and a small rebate on the 1.5 m tail board)

3. “Spanish windlass” for long clamping:

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Tom's profile


269 posts in 973 days

#2 posted 04-27-2021 07:40 PM

Nice workbench Sylvain. Helps to have a workbench to make a workbench. I’m sure your son will love it. :)

-- Tom

View Sylvain's profile


1248 posts in 3581 days

#3 posted 04-27-2021 08:47 PM

Thank you Tom.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

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