Moravian Workbench #1: Moravian Workbench Build at the Woodwright's School

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Blog entry by Tom posted 09-11-2019 06:46 PM 549 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Moravian Workbench series Part 2: Setting up the Vise Part 1: The garter »

I was fortunate to get the opportunity to take a class at Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School to build a portable Moravian workbench. The class instructor is Will Myers along with Roy Underhill. Will is wonderful and patient teacher and demonstrates many hand tool woodworking techniques.

The class is 5 full days of hand tool heaven. There is a material fee which includes all the wood needed to build a complete workbench including a Lake Erie vise screw and hand made vise pin. The wood is custom milled and seasoned. Yellow pine is used for the legs and stretchers. Oak is used for the cross members and thick workbench top. Your material fee will help finance materials for a future class after the wood seasons for a couple years. Will even provides yellow pine boards for the tool tray along with a few slotted screws for the assembly that you do at home.

Will demonstrates each layout and process for cutting the joints required to build the workbench leg assemblies and leg vise. Three joints are required to make the leg assemblies: bridal joint, through mortise and tenon and a lap dovetail. The first couple days are spent preparing these joints. Prior to glueing up the leg assemblies, the through mortise is cut for the stretchers which have the wedged tusk tenon that holds together the workbench frame.

In additional to the hand saws, augers, chisels and mallets, we also used a couple machines to help speed the process. We used a foot powered mortising machine and a rotary auger machine.

We also used a big T auger to bore the hole for the Lake Erie vise screw. It took some effort but it made quick work of it.

Five days is not enough to finish all the details on the workbench. But you can assemble the main body of the workbench and use it to finish the rest of the details such as the tool tray and vise assembly when you get home. Other accessories and holding fixtures are left up to the builder to decide. This is a later picture but shows what is basically completed at the school. In the picture, I have started work on the planing stop and leather for the vise.

In future posts, I will explain the steps I used to complete the workbench. There is still a lot of work when you get home, but it is a lot of fun!

-- Tom

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