Sunday, October 28, 2018

Shop Sized Moravian Bench

Back in July or August I made a slab for a new shop sized (non-portable) Moravian style workbench. After finishing the slab I ran into a couple of problems that stopped progress. The first was getting my wood for the base, I wanted to use 12/4 Ash. The local wood store said the Phoenix store had it in stock and would deliver with the next shipment. The next shipment no joy but it would for sure be on the next one. Yep you guessed it, the check is in the mail. By this time I was getting ready to spend September in the PNW so everything slid until we were back from Oregon. Once back I'm back in the chase for 12/4 timber for the base after a week or so of back and forth with the wood store I quote "The Ash is too checked and ugly to sale but we do have some 12/4 Hard Maple at $13 USD a BF instead. Ain't no way I'm using $13 USD wood for a workbench base, glue up or not.

Cut to the chase. They had some 8/4 Beech on sale for just under $5 USD a BF, so it needs glue up, for $ 7 USD a BF I can handle that. Just under $400 USD I have my base plus some spendles and legs from the cutoffs. I've broken the Beech down and will start glue up of the legs and stretchers this afternoon. If work and honey dos do not interfere too much I should have a new bench in a couple or three weeks.

The chair drying between coats of paint with the bench parts in the background:

The chair will need at least two more coats of red, that's the bad news, the good is milk paint dries almost as fast as it is applied.

The stretcher and leg glue ups will take a couple of days to complete. I do not have room or clamps to do 'em all at one time. BTW, my bench building days may be ending soon. Wrestling bench sized timber kicks my butt anymore, I ain't as strong as I once was. That said, I expect I have at least one or two more benches in me and I want to replace my butt ugly shave horse with a nice one that will break down for easy transport.



  1. Glad to see you are painting the chair. As for wrestling timbers, I have my chopsaw on a mobile base with wings and I back in the pickup then slide the timbers off onto it to be broken down. Works for me.

    It always surprises me that beech is so inexpensive and I don't understand why. Another very inexpensive wood in good supply is soft or bigleaf maple, which is native to Oregon. Last time I bought it, it was $3.50 a board foot. It's an excellent secondary wood.

  2. Andy,

    Thanks, The paint brings all the woods together and I think fits vernacular style better than oil. I started with real milk paint (what is pictured) but MsBubba didn't like it so the last couple of coats will be GF's "Milk" paint. Not the same but close.

    I will usually break down as much as I can off the tailgate but there are always a some that need ripping as well as cross cutting. Ibuprofen is my friend.

    My woodstore got in a large stock of European Beech several years ago. I seem to be the only one buying it. I made my English/French bench from the Beech when it first showed up and parts of two other benches. This latest build will be close to 100% Beech. Go figure, it is a great wood to work. Soft Maple in these parts is almost as expensive as the Hard stuff.


  3. Anonymous10:17 AM

    You probably don't need it, but Will Meyers has a new blog:

    this one also has the angled leg vise.


  4. Sylvain,

    I saw that the other day, Meyers is a hoot to watch and has amazing skills to share. I expect his site will be one I follow.

    I thought about doing the ratcheting guide but I think I will stick with the pin for now. I could be wrong but I expect it is a better solution for those that hate the pin than the crisscross. Definitely simpler and usually simple is better.