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Thread: English Workbench

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Brandon, MS

    Smile English Workbench

    I just finished building the English bench out of Chris Schwarz's book. I followed pretty closely to his version with only minor changes. Instead of the square dog holes, I used 3/4" holes throughout. It was easier to make that way and it gives me more options for hold downs and wonder dogs.
    I have been thrilled with it so far. It does not budge unless you really want it to, even though it probably weighs less than 200 lbs. Just the real estate on the top is worth it. It is more than double my old bench, so I can really spread out. Now I just need to get over my worry about damaging the top and have a little fun.
    This is a great bench to build for somewone with only limited tools. I built it with an old contractors saw, an older craftsman 6" jointer, and even older craftsman 6" planer, and a benchtop drill press. I did truck the aprons and top over to a friends house to use his 20" planer, but it is definately possible without major tools.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
    Wow! Very Nice!
    Jim D.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Billings Missouri near Springfield Mo
    Thats a NICE bench Don you did yourself proud

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Very well done.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I'm not familiar with all the bench styles, so I'd not seen one with the canted legs. Is that what sets the "English" style apart from others? Looks like a great bench, and I'm sure you smile every time you use it.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    ...Is that what sets the "English" style apart from others? ...
    FWIW - I have never seen one like it either. It may well be a traditional english pattern but it is no more prevelant now than any other style. Nice looking bench though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    Wow, that does look VERY solid

    Well done!

    What is the wood you used?

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Very nicely done Don. I can see how it would be very stable with the cantilevered legs. I also like your attention to detail for the dog holes on the apron.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Brandon, MS

    Some answers

    Thanks for the compliments guys. To answer a couple of questions, I used southern yellow pine for the entire bench. In the book Chris reccomended buying the longest 2x12's you could find. The reason being that they are the straightest and clearest pieces you will find. He was right on. I did get quite a few funny looks and a several comments as I hauled them out to my PT Cruiser. I just used a handsaw to cut them into 8' lengths in the parking lot. I do want to replace the jaw for the leg vise. The pine flexes a little too much for me. I will probably go with ash, hickory or maple.
    From my understanding the biggest defining feature of an English bench is the wide aprons. Chris notes that many historical examples have vertical legs, or only one side angled out. The angled leg on the leg vise gives you clearence to the floor without hitting the screw or offsetting your work. He designed all four legs angled out just to simplify the base.
    Thanks again, Don

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI

    That looks like one solid bench. Nice job! I love the fact that you were able to make it out of readily available, inexpensive stock.
    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

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