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Moravian Workbench

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Project by BRolls posted 12-18-2020 04:05 PM 1583 views 7 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi All,

I have a small workshop that is slightly larger than the size of a one car garage. I was looking to build a workbench that I could move around easily if needed, but I also wanted it to be sturdy. The Roubo style workbench I had before, which was a Craigslist buy, wobbled on my uneven floor and the shims under the feet would always come loose. So I built a Will Myers Moravian workbench with mostly hand tools (used table saw to dimension the quarter sawn oak boards that make up the laminated top). It’s got a mostly Douglas Fir undercarriage, maple wooden vise screw (2 tpi) from the “brickclickin” eBay seller, and a Cherry vise chop I made. I also added a hand forged plane stop from HowardBlacksmiths on Etsy, and a Christiansen (cir. 1930s) bench vise that I found locally. I’m using Gramercy holdfasts in 3/4” dog holes. I tried buying holdfasts from a small business on Etsy, but they didn’t work. I won’t mention that maker here, since I got a full refund.

So far the bench has worked great. It’s super sturdy, really heavy with the oak top, and I made it to fit my height perfectly. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks for reading!





28 comments so far

View Notw's profile

Notw

943 posts in 2808 days


#1 posted 12-18-2020 04:41 PM

Looks awesome, all you need now is a will myers wagon vise.

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

12544 posts in 3506 days


#2 posted 12-18-2020 04:45 PM

Wonderful build BRolls. How is the planning stop working out? Your pics brought back a lot of memories from building my bench, a Roubo with the same vise setups as yours. Keep posting.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

1977 posts in 656 days


#3 posted 12-18-2020 04:59 PM

This looks great! I am part way through my build so yours is inspirational for me. I love the look of he top being oak. I choose SYP over a solid oak top. The oak was from a 150 year old beam and would be dimensioned but at $500 too much for my first attempt. After seeing yours a laminated oak one may find its way to my top later down the road.

What height did you end up with? How tall are you? I haven’t cut my leg bottoms yet but I am getting close to that decision.
The storage underneath, is that just a rebate with planks across it? Curious on how that went together because I am milling my long stretchers this weekend.

View BRolls's profile

BRolls

16 posts in 119 days


#4 posted 12-18-2020 05:37 PM

Thanks, controlfreak. The laminated oak really adds some weight to it, which is great with fir undercarriage. SYP isn’t really available in Colorado, so that’s why I used fir, but it worked well. I just screwed some thin pine ledges to the inside of the long stretchers and sat crosscut, 2×6 boards across. These thick boards also added weight. I was planning to use the 2×6 flat sawn board for the tool tray bottom but it cupped too badly for me to use. I don’t have an electric planer so I wasn’t going to try and flatten it out.

The long stretchers are 4X4s rather than the dimensions that Will Myers recommends. Again, I really on had hand tools and a small table saw so I just made the stretchers and legs out of 4×4s.

As for the height of the bench top, I went by used the hand measuring method that Jim Tolpin describes well in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBS5-AV81lg. I’m about 5’ 7” so my bench top height ended up being 34 3/4”. This is actually probably a smidge too tall, but I wanted the bench to also be reasonably comfortable when I’m standing upright, and not just perfect for hand planing. I hope that info is helpful.


This looks great! I am part way through my build so yours is inspirational for me. I love the look of he top being oak. I choose SYP over a solid oak top. The oak was from a 150 year old beam and would be dimensioned but at $500 too much for my first attempt. After seeing yours a laminated oak one may find its way to my top later down the road.

What height did you end up with? How tall are you? I haven t cut my leg bottoms yet but I am getting close to that decision.
The storage underneath, is that just a rebate with planks across it? Curious on how that went together because I am milling my long stretchers this weekend.

- controlfreak


View pottz's profile

pottz

16193 posts in 2039 days


#5 posted 12-18-2020 05:39 PM

real nice bench,that should last a couple life times.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View BRolls's profile

BRolls

16 posts in 119 days


#6 posted 12-18-2020 05:39 PM

Thanks, oldfart. Honestly, I haven’t used the plane stop much since installing it. Seems to be working as intended so far. Because it sets flush with the bench top it’s easy to use and forget about when using my bench for other projects. I like the look and idea of using such old technology. Hence my interest in using antique tools.


Wonderful build BRolls. How is the planning stop working out? Your pics brought back a lot of memories from building my bench, a Roubo with the same vise setups as yours. Keep posting.

- theoldfart


View BRolls's profile

BRolls

16 posts in 119 days


#7 posted 12-18-2020 05:40 PM

Thanks, pottz. I’m sure it will outlast me many times over.


real nice bench,that should last a couple life times.

- pottz


View BRolls's profile

BRolls

16 posts in 119 days


#8 posted 12-18-2020 05:43 PM

Thanks, Notw. Last I checked that vise was nearly $300. That’s a bit pricey for me for now, but it sure does look like it’s fun and practical to use. Because lumber seems to be significantly more expensive out here compared with the east coast, the lumber ended up costing more than I expected.


Looks awesome, all you need now is a will myers wagon vise.

- Notw


View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

1977 posts in 656 days


#9 posted 12-18-2020 06:19 PM

Thanks BRolls, Your responses are most helpful. I am not a very good blogger but am trying to place items in for others to see here I must admit that I tend to just go to the shop and just get into it. I am doing a hand tool build but did use my planer and jointer to flatten the stock but after that it was all muscle power. I really got into flattening the top with a hand plane. I like your taste in tools I have that plane, 45, router plane (or wireless router as Paul Sellers calls it) and miter box. Thanks again for sharing.

View BRolls's profile

BRolls

16 posts in 119 days


#10 posted 12-18-2020 10:22 PM

Thanks for sharing the blog. I paid to have the faces planed at the lumber yard, so I’m not that much of a hand tool rebel. I didn’t want to pay for a Stanley scrub plane just yet so I put a slight radius on my #4 plane. It worked well except for not having enough knuckle clearance. I think it still looks like I used it as a weapon in a street fight. I used the #71 router on to cut 28 dados on two bookcases. It took a while and lots of sharpening, but it got the job done. I still haven’t put the #45 to much use yet since I haven’t wanted to put the time into mastering the setup.


Thanks BRolls, Your responses are most helpful. I am not a very good blogger but am trying to place items in for others to see here I must admit that I tend to just go to the shop and just get into it. I am doing a hand tool build but did use my planer and jointer to flatten the stock but after that it was all muscle power. I really got into flattening the top with a hand plane. I like your taste in tools I have that plane, 45, router plane (or wireless router as Paul Sellers calls it) and miter box. Thanks again for sharing.

- controlfreak


View mafe's profile

mafe

13089 posts in 4144 days


#11 posted 12-18-2020 11:13 PM

That is one of the most beautiful workbenches I have seen to date.
Love everything about it, need I say more…
Congratulations may it serve you well.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View John's profile

John

2044 posts in 2324 days


#12 posted 12-19-2020 04:10 AM

Love all these beautiful benches!! Neat.

-- John, Sunshine Coast, BC, Canada.

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

1223 posts in 3554 days


#13 posted 12-19-2020 08:55 AM

Very nice workbench.

I am 5’9” and happy with the 38” recommended by Paul Sellers.
I have found a study where they tested different heights with different people and evaluated pain in back, neck, wrist, shoulder etc in multiple hours work. It seems the optimum height is about 150 mm below elbow height (with shoes on).

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

View Peteybadboy's profile

Peteybadboy

3281 posts in 3004 days


#14 posted 12-19-2020 10:50 AM

BRolls,

Welcome to LJ. Very nice bench. I had an oak tree from our golf course (member) milled, and I think I will build a bench with it. I don’t know when. Thanks for posting

-- Petey

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

7490 posts in 1629 days


#15 posted 12-19-2020 11:37 AM

Those splayed legs just look like they would just dig in and kick buttocks.

Use it in good health.

Welcome to LJ’s

-- Think safe, be safe

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