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Moravian workbench long stretcher height

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Forum topic by Vuddha29 posted 01-19-2022 06:54 PM 426 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Vuddha29

58 posts in 415 days


01-19-2022 06:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: moravian workbench

Hello

I’m in the process of building a Moravian workbench and i thought I’d ask for some advice.

I was thinking of lowering the height of the long stretcher (to maybe 3-4” off the floor), maybe coinciding with the height of the dovetail stretcher.

The reason for this is twofold:

1) I’m going to use an angled leg vise and I’m thinking of using a wooden crisscross instead of the parallel guide. This is the only way i can think of to install a crisscross on the leg without interfering with the long stretcher.

2) lower to the floor helps me hook my feet under the stretcher

I’m wondering if the lowered height of the long stretchers would pose any problems. I’m relatively inexperienced and this community has a wealth of knowledge.

If this is a terrible idea, please feel free to tell me! Thanks for any advice!


3 replies so far

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controlfreak

3737 posts in 1059 days


#1 posted 01-19-2022 07:19 PM

You may already have the plans but they can be gotten here

I don’t see a problem as long as it doesn’t conflict with a short brace but those can be moved too. I haven’t dug into mine to see if I can add a crisscross without a conflict but have printed out the documents for it. Right now they are a perfect height to rest my feet when sitting on a stool to do dove tail work and the are also my clamp rack too.

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

1675 posts in 3957 days


#2 posted 01-20-2022 10:08 AM

Will Myers mention the need to lower the bottom stretcher with some hardware here:
https://eclecticmechanicals.com/2019/06/25/moravian-workbench-crisscross-install/

plans:
https://eclecticmechanicals.com/2018/08/01/moravian-workbench-plans-free/
read the old WK Fine Tool article, very informative.

If I were lowering the stretcher, I would move the dovetail stretcher up or down to avoid interference.

Now you have to consider the workbench height you want. If you make it higher, you might have enough space for the criss-cross and a big Lake Erie screw.
I have no idea how well a criss-cross works when not vertical.
To avoid pain in various parts of the body (back, shoulder, neck, elbow, wrist, ...) there is a study showing the best compromise height being about 6’ below the elbow height (with shoes on).
A low workbench is not necessary with sharp irons in the plane (Paul Sellers video).

info on angled vise version in the second part of this article:
https://eclecticmechanicals.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/ratcheting-parallel-guide-pdf.pdf
Note that you will have to use stronger dowels for the top as the effort transmission is different.

2) lower to the floor helps me hook my feet under the stretcher

I’m wondering if the lowered height of the long stretchers would pose any problems. I’m relatively inexperienced and this community has a wealth of knowledge.
- Vuddha29

Why do you like to hook your feet under the stretcher?

A low stretcher makes cleaning with a broom more difficult.

The distance between the ground and the bottom of the angled mortise must be great enough to resist shearing. But you need about 6’ to hook your feet anyway. And the wedges must not hit the ground.
The lower the stretcher, the more racking effort is supported by the joint.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn (and that is nice)

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Vuddha29

58 posts in 415 days


#3 posted 02-09-2022 06:08 PM

Thanks for your comments Controlfreak and Sylvain. They definitely gave me something to think about.

I do intend to be seated at the bench more often so the height to rest my feet is something to consider.

The comments by Myers about lowering the stretcher is interesting too.

The suggestion about the racking resistance from the stretcher is what i was trying to understand actually. I definitely shouldn’t put it too low, then.

Thanks also for the comment about the bench height. My current bench is a modified Paul Sellers design that started high (37”), but i cut it down to 32” to try. I’d like to increase that a bit, and 33” is basically the sweet spot that you describe.

I won’t alter the long stretcher height too much, maybe by an inch or two. I’ll try to offset the tusk tenon enough to clear the crisscross mortise. If that doesn’t work then I’ll just shorten the crisscross. I don’t think a 12” cross will be a huge issue.

Thanks again!

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