A Chairmaker’s Work bench

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Chairmaker’s Work Bench by Ambrose Vevers.

I saw this beautiful and sturdy chairmaker’s work bench on AMBROSE VEVERS’ Tumblr blog early this morning and wanted to share it.  It is a great example of a purpose-built and appropriate sized benched for a craftsman.  Not every bench needs to look like an 18th Century Diderot drawing or Roubo bench.  That sets the bar prohibitively high for so many woodworkers, especially those with limited space.

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Roubo-style bench.

When I first left graduate school, I went back to work as a woodworker-carpenter and I was living in a small apartment.  Needless to say, my work space was extremely limited and most of the sawing was actually done on a small balcony to keep the dust outdoors.  Prior to this, I shared an 1,800 square foot work shop, and though it was not perfect it was extremely spacious.  Moving to the apartment really began my thinking about spaces and portability which has influenced me ever since.  I am always on the lookout for workshop solutions and I am a huge fan of recycled lumber.

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“Chunky reclaimed Oak top with Douglas fir frame and a York spindle vice.”

To see more of Ambrose’s work, head over to his Tumblr page.  Here’s his description from the website:

“Ambrose’s workshop is nestled in the Ancient Stannary town of Ashburton, within Dartmoor National Park. Each piece of furniture is skilfully crafted by hand from locally sourced materials.”

Ambrose's workshop is nestled in the Ancient Stannary town of Ashburton, within Dartmoor National Park. Each piece of furniture is skilfully crafted by hand from locally sourced materials.

 

Weekend Sawbench

A Saw horse or a full-size workbench, for Hobbits?

Baumeister_-_Holzschnitt_von_Jost_Amman_-_1536.svgLiving where I do, without a proper workshop, I have moved to a more portable setup.  Along with this, I have pared down by letting go a number of cumbersome tools.  However, a flat, solid surface is sorely missed.

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A less messy version of my current shop.

I find myself working on the seat of the shave-horse or on top of saw horses quite a bit with my small table-saw serving as a layout table (when the project is small enough).  And yes, I do miss the full-size table saw for ripping long boards.

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Here’s a recent photo of me in my make-shift workshop.

A little over a year ago I began scheming for a small, pre-industrial-style setup.  Something an itinerant carpenter or bodger would be likely to use.  It needed to be easy to move and store but provide a solid clamping and layout surface.  I wanted it at the same height as my shave-horse so that they will work in concert for large projects.  So, when my friend Mick gave me a thick, rough-sawn maple board last summer, I decided it was to become the top of a new saw bench.

First, before the mail comes flooding in;

there is no perfect formula for a saw bench!  For thoughts about height, look here: “A Proper Saw Horse.”

There are some wrong and right things to do, but all in all, there are as many combinations as there are woodworkers.  Much depends on what you make and how you work.  I am 6’1″ and after much changing and experimentation, I use 22″ tall benches for hand work.

“Off-side” of the saw bench under construction.

 

For what it’s worth, here is the bench I came up with last weekend.  It maybe grew a little too much, trying to more than a saw horse, but still not a Roubo.

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Roubo’s bench.

Materials: All of the materials for this project, other than lag bolts and a few stainless steel screws, came from the scrap pile; all recycled lumber except the top which came from Mick.  Legs and bracing are constructed from oak while the till bottom is dimensional pine from an old shelf.  The legs are splayed at 12 degrees in both dimensions.  Dog holes for stops and holdfasts will be added soon.  The little vise was a last minute addition as it’s never a bad thing to have too many ways to hold things.  This increased the project price to just over $20 US.

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A work in progress, but coming together.

Had I considered the vise sooner I probably would have positioned the legs to place it closer to the left end but this will due.  The little hardware till on the top will hold those wily drill bits and pesky chisels looking for an escape as well as corralling screws, pencils, and marking knife.  More work will be done, and I’m considering a second till near the bottom of the legs to store the shooting board and bench hook as well as a safe place to set a saw while working outdoors.

Comments and criticisms are certainly welcome and more information about this project will be forthcoming in the near future.