Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My New Workbench


No doubt Chris Schwarz will want to include plans for this natural-edged workbench in the updated, revised version of his book, Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.*

In the interim, here are detailed instructions on how to build one:

1. Keep an eye on the neighbor lady’s tree that’s about to be toppled.
2. After the tree has been felled and sawn, casually walk your dogs by her house to inspect the logs.
3. Just “happen by” as her strapping young son-in-law is chopping up the logs for firewood and inquire about the largest part of the trunk.
4. Be nice, and the strapping young son-in-law just might wheel your new workbench home for you on a dolly.

Why the new workbench? Because I found Robin Wood’s website. Robin is a woodturner and maker of treenware. On his site, he posts video tutorials on how he makes his spoons, while sitting in his living room, and using a tree stump as a work surface. What fun! To start with a log, use an axe to rough out the shape, and finish with carving tools and knives is something I’ve always wanted to try.

I have only made one kitchen utensil, a pasta rake, which works surprisingly well. It’s made of cherry and is finished with olive oil. There is something “right” about using wooden utensils and I can’t wait to use my new workbench to make more. I just need to find another neighbor who is planning to cut down a tree so I can “happen upon” some logs.

*If you have not read Chris’ book and are thinking of building a new or upgrading an existing workbench (or are just looking for a fantastic read), do yourself a favor and purchase a copy. His book is replete with valuable information on building workbenches, choosing lumber, making bench jigs, and the whys and hows that aren’t found in other workbench books.

14 comments:

Vic said...

VC,

I can see why you might be able to sweet talk a young lad into hefting a big piece of tree trunk for you, but I don't think I'd be as successful:D

Chris Schwarz said...

Here you go and one-up me. I thought I had found primitive workbenches, but I'm just a piker.

My only criticism: Either your top is too thick or your legs are too short. Clamping a routing template to that benchtop is going to be a doosie.

Chris

The Village Carpenter said...

Vic, the difference is, you probably wouldn't need for some dude to help you move it!

Chris, actually, the far side is hollowed out and I've installed a sliding deadman. Works great!

Shazza said...

Nice stump!

The Village Carpenter said...

Stump??!!!!!

Why, I outta....

johnjoiner said...

Nice find on the robin-wood site. Those are some good videos.

Now I just need a storm to blow over a neighbors tree.

Vic said...

Now see, there's where you're wrong VC. You're thinkin' I'm a some hunk of burly man. Actually, I'm as thin as Schwarz and half his size...well, maybe not half. Anyways, I'm a little fellow. But!!! I'm am a hunky man...so says my wife:D Thank god she sees what she wants to see!!!

The Village Carpenter said...

All that matters is what your wife thinks. :o)

Vic said...

I think she just keeps me around 'cause I'm handy:D

Gary said...

I can see from whence the inspiration for this construct first came. There are decidely French influences in the curvature of the apron, as well as the Arts & Crafts voice in the use of grain to focus the visuals on the planar surface. There there is the Adirondackish features of the natural bark calling us back to the wilds.

I applaud you.

The Village Carpenter said...

Gary, that was a brilliant synopsis!

Vic said...

Gary's hilarious..and insightful!;D

Gary said...

Clearly I've been watching too much Antiques Roadshow...

Lane said...

French influences? Here I was thinking it must be Scandinavian...probably the new model from Sjöbergs.