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Moravian Style Workbenches

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Forum topic by BubbaIBA posted 08-09-2019 04:06 PM 1128 views 1 time favorited 50 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BubbaIBA

435 posts in 2831 days


08-09-2019 04:06 PM

I’m a Moravian workbench fanboy. It all started when I was wanting to make a workbench I could take in my motorhome while on vacation. Would give me something to do dontcha know. Anyway cutting to the chase After much thinking and yes buts I ran across Will Myers Moravian build video and could see how the Moravian bench would answer all the yes buts. So I built one. It worked as I expected only better.

The first was built using HD DF construction grade wood, I wanted a prettier one so I built another. During the second build I began to realize just how brilliant the design of the bench was. Each joint is the simplest and easiest to make that will do the needed job. The bench comes apart and goes back together easily, each unit is light and stores in a small space and best of all the bench is rock solid, my shop sized Moravian is as solid as my Roubo bench that does not come apart and weighs four times as much.

Long introduction to the latest build.

The wood, Poplar, gathered and sized:

More build photos to come,

ken


50 replies so far

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SMP

1318 posts in 360 days


#1 posted 08-09-2019 07:17 PM

Oh ok, I get it. I was thinking that looks like a English/Nicholson style. I am curious to see your build as I too wanted something portable to bring in my travel trailer.

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BubbaIBA

435 posts in 2831 days


#2 posted 08-09-2019 08:03 PM

If you decide to build a Moravian bench be sure to watch Will Myers’ video, it is a fun watch and worth your time in info.

I believe for today’s woodworker the Moravian bench is the best bench design out there. It can be scaled to any size. For the same stability and size it will use maybe a little over half the wood a Roubo uses and because we are so mobile today it is easy to break down and move.

OK enough fanboy for now, here is the start of the current build.

The legs are sized and ready for markout.

Another advantage of the Moravian bench is it is a very quick build. It usually takes about six weeks from buying the wood until finished and useable. That is while working full time, keeping Casa Chaos from falling down around my ears and keeping MsBubba happy. This build has taken a little longer, I’m about seven weeks into the build and have a couple more days to go. I’m not sure why other than the Tucson Summer has been brutal and MsBubba retired in January.

ken

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BubbaIBA

435 posts in 2831 days


#3 posted 08-09-2019 08:06 PM



Oh ok, I get it. I was thinking that looks like a English/Nicholson style. I am curious to see your build as I too wanted something portable to bring in my travel trailer.

- SMP

SMP,

That is my French/English bench. It has Roubo bones and an English apron. Next to it is the shop sized Moravian.

ken

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BubbaIBA

435 posts in 2831 days


#4 posted 08-10-2019 03:07 AM

The legs marked out.

marking out the middle stretcher.

This stretcher has a single shoulder through tenon. A joint that is easier to cut than a double shoulder and should be stronger because more “meat” is left between the tenon and the edge of the leg.

More later,

ken

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Lazyman

3748 posts in 1842 days


#5 posted 08-10-2019 03:54 AM

I’m starting to see the light on th Moravian benches. I’m looking forward to seeing more progress pictures.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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therealSteveN

3390 posts in 1029 days


#6 posted 08-10-2019 05:01 AM

It does look like it would be an easier build than a Roubo, due to simpler joinery, and the strength from the canted legs would be like a well made sawhorse on steroids.

Will Myers, the part of Uncle Roy you don’t see unless you travel to Carolina. Which I highly suggest as a very nice place to visit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKI4aQtIRlg

There are a bunch of great vids on this Wood and Shop site.

-- Think safe, be safe

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BubbaIBA

435 posts in 2831 days


#7 posted 08-10-2019 07:42 AM



I’m starting to see the light on th Moravian benches. I’m looking forward to seeing more progress pictures.

- Lazyman

Thanks Lazyman,

I’m not great at taking photos while building so a lot of the photos will be of the product but you should be able to make out what was done.

ken

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BubbaIBA

435 posts in 2831 days


#8 posted 08-10-2019 08:08 AM


It does look like it would be an easier build than a Roubo, due to simpler joinery, and the strength from the canted legs would be like a well made sawhorse on steroids.

Will Myers, the part of Uncle Roy you don t see unless you travel to Carolina. Which I highly suggest as a very nice place to visit.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKI4aQtIRlg

There are a bunch of great vids on this Wood and Shop site.

- therealSteveN

SteveN,

I’ve built both Roubo style and Moravian and the Moravian is a much easier build due to the simple easy joints and much lighter weight of the parts. When you are older than dirt lightness is important. Because of the design the strength and stability are there. I expect my shop sized Moravian weights no more than half as much as the French/English bench that sets next to it and it is every bit as stable as the heavier bench.

BTW, this build is kinda a hybrid. It is small with a ~1800mm (6’) slab that is 90mm (3.5”) thick. It will be bigger and heavier than my usual portable bench but slightly smaller than a standard shop sized one. I’m looking forward to seeing how it works out.

ken

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BubbaIBA

435 posts in 2831 days


#9 posted 08-10-2019 08:16 AM

The upper stretcher is a simple bridal joint, a much easier joint than a through tenon but offers as much strength as the through tenon in this application.

Sawing the tenons.

Next is the housed dovetail of the lower stretcher.

ken

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Navarro Edwards

39 posts in 207 days


#10 posted 08-10-2019 10:11 AM

I’m new to Lumberjocks is there any certain type of wood to build a workbench ?

-- navarro1950

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BubbaIBA

435 posts in 2831 days


#11 posted 08-10-2019 12:51 PM


I’m new to Lumberjocks is there any certain type of wood to build a workbench ?

- Navarro Edwards

Navarro,

Short answer…No. Longer and better answer, I like a wood with close grain, that is easy to work and has a light color and almost as important is cheap locally. Heavy for volume helps as well. Poplar meets all those requirements except for heavy, I will still use it for things like the base as I’m doing with this bench. In my area European Beech meets all the requirement except for cheap and it gets close on that. I’ve built complete benches with European Beech, this build will have a Beech glue up slab. If cheap is most important, then any of the construction grade woods found at the local home center will work. SYP can be a very good wood, I’ve built several benches using home center SYP, in fact one is still in my shop and I know a friend is still using one I built for him using home center DF. When I go to the wood store looking for wood to build a bench about the only bins I do not look at are Basswood and the darker woods like Cherry and Walnut.

Hope this helps,

ken

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BubbaIBA

435 posts in 2831 days


#12 posted 08-10-2019 03:16 PM

The lower stretcher is joined with large housed dovetail. Agan an easy open joint much like the bridle joint used on the top stretcher. The bottom stretcher’s main job is the keep the legs from spreading and what better joint is there for doing that. Easy to make and the best joint for the job, what’s not to like.

ken

View OleGrump's profile

OleGrump

392 posts in 800 days


#13 posted 08-10-2019 04:25 PM

Navarro, With respect to the many finely crafted workbenches shown in both of these threads, (many are works of art in and of themselves), AN answer to your question is it depends on what wood you have easily and affordably available to you. For instance, my own current workbench is made of about 70% salvaged pine. Parts of an old water bed frame I found at my last home, and other odds and ends of dimensional lumber that were on hand. I used it because I had it on hand, so the price was right. (Also because this bench is designed to be semi portable when/if another move occurs, THIS one will go WITH me….) Pine is also “stickier” than some other woods, which are known to be more slippery, especially when a nice finish is applied. Quite honestly, ALL woods used in workbenches have their respective pros and cons. If this is your very first bench, pine would be cost effective, easily worked wood to use. Build a bench, use it for awhile, see what you like and dislike about it. This low cost bench can be used later on to build a more costly and elaborate workbench. Many of us here have had a few workbenches in our lives as needs and tastes change, and the budget allows. Of course, this is just my own take, but I hate to see someone spend years PLANNING a workbench, when they could have built a first one, and been USING it in the meantime.
Please let us know your progress with your bench.

-- OleGrump

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Sylvain

856 posts in 2954 days


#14 posted 08-10-2019 07:15 PM

Another benefit of recycled lumber is that it is probably dry (unless left outside) and should not move.

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

View Navarro Edwards's profile

Navarro Edwards

39 posts in 207 days


#15 posted 08-11-2019 07:04 AM

Thanks fellow Lumberjocks for all of your help.

-- navarro1950

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