Thursday, May 24, 2018

Portable Moravian Workbench Update

After finishing the portable bench build I wanted to work on it before schlepping it all over the PNW and other points of interest. I moved the old joinery/assembly bench against the wall under the wood storage and set up the portable bench in its place. I've been working on the bench for a couple or three weeks now and it has exceeded all expectations. In fact in many ways I like working on it better than the main English/French bench.

The Lake Erie Toolworks wood screw has made the best woodworking vise I've used. It is fast 2 turns/inch and holds like no other. The bench itself is rock solid in both directions, it is hard to believe a bench that can't weight much more than 200lbs total can be this solid. I only have one quibble with the bench as a daily user, it is too short. Just not enough total real estate, wide enough but needs to be longer.

I expect to take care of that some time in the next year. After the PMW trip the portable bench will find a home in the motorhome's side bins and I will build another Moravian bench to shop size, about 600mmX2500mm. Approximately 2'X8' for those still stuck in the world of hands and stones. 

I'm making a "Changing Table" per the DIL's request (the new Grandpeanut is due around the first of July). It will be painted so the wood is Poplar. All the parts are sized and I'm in the process of marking out before doing the joinery. I expect a good part of the joinery will be done on the small bench. 

Here it is with one of the legs in the vise for marking out:

As always....Click it to big it.



  1. Anonymous12:26 PM

    Nice to hear it meets (more than) your expectations
    What was enhanced in comparison with in the first one? (except for the wood choice).

  2. Sylvain,

    Not really very much other than the legs and stretchers being a little heavier and not glue ups of construction grade DF and the vise backer also is not a glue up. The other bench worked very well and I would have been happy to use it but I needed a replacement of my sharpening bench and it was the perfect size. The other change is I installed a external brass garter vs. the internal wooden one.

    I also just like building benches and usually each new build is a little better than the last one.


  3. Anonymous2:20 PM

    Do you have any interest in making and selling one? I am looking for a bench inside my home (too hot in garage during summer and I feel disconnected from family during cooler months) about 6' long x 2' wide x 40-42" high (it's for fine joinery; the 35" high bench in garage is too low).

    It's not an urgent thing and I live in the outskirts of the San Francisco Bay Area (not too far off I5).


  4. Steve D2:25 PM

    My late uncle-in-law was English and told me years back that they could buy 2x4's but the length was in meters.

    Another oddity was for milk delivered to homes was measured in one system but milk in stores was in the other. Perhaps to make price comparison difficult or just to be difficult for no apparent reason.

    That is a fine looking bench, even if too short.

    1. Steve,

      The question is...had I rather be 14 stone, 220 lbs or 100 kilos :-). Either way I'm a FOF.

      Thanks, it is a pleasure to work on.


  5. Hi Ken

    Great looking bench!
    The vise sure looks beefy. And I the wedge assembled lower stretchers is a really nice touch.
    Wedges are so cool for making portable stuff.

    Seeing you massive planer in the background, it looks as it has got a 20" capacity! So were you able to fit the entire benchtop through the planer for this bench?


    1. Jonas,


      It is a 20" planer. Yes because the top is split.

      I've a dining table mulling around in my head using tusk tenons with stretchers and tops of different lengths instead of extensions. May be one of the next builds.


  6. Good job Ken, and thanks for posting the dimensions in her Majesty Imperial measurements :-)

    Bob, still stuck in the old world...

  7. That really came out well. I still can't believe this is your "RV" bench.