What is the first thing any woodworker thinks of when presented with a larger workshop?…..
A BIGGER WORKBENCH!
As soon as I realized that my recent move was going to give me a larger shop area I began dreaming of a bigger bench. However, being frugal by both nature and circumstance, I was immediately conflicted.
There is nothing wrong with my current bench. I do wish it was longer, but it works just fine. Its a 5′ version of Paul Sellers design. Like I said, it works just fine and has served me quite well. But I don’t work wood exactly the same way that Mr. Sellers does. I prefer to use Japanese pull saws. Not a big deal, just a minor adjustment when working at the bench. I also prefer to plane the faces of boards with the board on the bench. I can do it on this bench, but the vise gets in my way more often than not. My biggest gripe with my current bench is the tool well. I loved it at first, but now I find it more of a nuisance. It’s always full of junk, tools and shavings. It also limits the working width of the bench. The bottom line is that, while the bench works quite well, it doesn’t suit the way that I work. That being said, I could still use this bench for the rest of my days and be quite happy with it.
If you’ve been through my blog, you have undoubtedly seen my makeshift assembly/work table. A couple of trestles with a slab of plywood on top. It works and can be broke down and moved out of the way if need be. So I began thinking about adding a permanent assembly table to the new shop. It just so happens that an assembly table is the current Paul Sellers Masterclasses project. I did the math and looked at the cost of materials. Turns out the cost of materials for the assembly table is pretty close to that of a new workbench. Hmm…..
Sometime ago Lost Art Press released a video titled “The Naked Woodworker“. In that video Mike Siemsen goes to a tool meet, buys the tools needed to get started woodworking, tunes them up and then builds a saw bench and a Nicholson style workbench. Well worth a look if you haven’t seen it.
Not too long after the video was released Mr. Siemsen posted a YouTube video on how to work on a bench with no vise. Also well worth a look. I was quite intrigued by the bench that was built and have entertained the thought of building one. Of course, being frugal by nature….
OK, long story long. I went to Lowes after work on Wednesday. You know, just to look around. I ended up walking out with four 12′ 2x12s, some 2x4s, a couple of 1x8s and a couple of boxes of screws. This weekend I’ll start building an 8′ Nicholson style bench based upon “The Naked Woodworker” video. I’ll say it again, just so I’ll start to believe it.
Eight foot workbench.