modified moravian workbench design

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Forum topic by Rukus posted 10-25-2017 04:21 PM 2316 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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28 posts in 2206 days

10-25-2017 04:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench moravian myers lang

Hi all,

I am thinking through my next workbench (currently use a version of Schwarz’s knockdown nicholson with a veritas quick release vise on the face) and something about the moravian design really catches my eye (i like the nicholsons with the splayed legs/angle leg vises but think i have had enough dealing with wide aprons with my current nicholson). i now work out of a garage, and while i have a portion of it set up as a semi-permanent shop, it would be nice to be able to disassemble the bench when needed. have also toyed around with the idea of building Bob Lang’s 21st century workbench, but dont think i want to go the route of a twin screw on the face. i do like some other features of the bench though.

am currently contemplating a mashup of will myer’s moravian and bob’s 21st century workbench, with a thick split top and removable/flippable tool wells in the middle and a removable sliding deadman. think ‘21st century moravian’. probably 7ft long and 30” wide. i think this will:
a) give the bench more mass for using hand tools and give me a wider footprint to make the bench more stable when planing across the grain and
b) give me some more clamping options down the middle of the bench while also giving me the option to have a completely flat surface from back to front if needed for glue-ups/assembly work.

thoughts on the above general design?

also, i still want to an angled leg vise since, while this bench is ultimately just a tool, an angled leg vise really appeals to me from both a visual perspective and by adding extra vertical clamping. am concerned about two things on the moravian/portable design though:
1. does a leg vise create too much leverage on the edge of a moravian top (i will laminate rather than use a wide plank) held in place with dowels per something like Will Myer’s portable moravian? perhaps countersunk bolts like Schwarz used in his knockdown nicholson would be better (though add more time to set up/knock down)?
2. are the legs of a moravian wide enough to handle a vise screw? or do i need to beef them up beyond what a typical moravian design might call for?


2 replies so far

View Sylvain's profile


1051 posts in 3303 days

#1 posted 10-26-2017 03:29 PM

In the original design, the vise effort is transmitted to the top with a big tenon . There is no risk of splitting the dowel.

Will Myers has made a modified Moravian workbench to accommodate an angled leg vise .
For this he had to beef up the leg.
If I were doing this I would make a big tenon at the top of the leg vise’s leg.
Another solution might be to replace the front dowel by a lag bolt and then cut the head with a hack saw. The hole in the top might nevertheless ovalise under the pressure. This would be solved by a metal plate inserted flush under the top, held with 4 screws and with a hole for the (shortened) lag bolt.
But may be it is not a problem; W.M. has just beefed up the corresponding dowel.
Except the wagon vise added by WM , the original design is not using metal except to secure the vise wooden nut.

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

View Rukus's profile


28 posts in 2206 days

#2 posted 10-26-2017 05:03 PM

thanks Sylvain. I had missed that post by Will and will go back and take a read.
as for your suggestions on the top connection for the front leg with the vise, i like both of them very much. if i am considering beefing up the leg to support the screw anyway, i wonder if there is a way to get two dowels in that front leg so that the load is split between the two instead of just one, but will play around will your suggestions as they may be easier. thanks!

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