Saturday, February 05, 2022

Up On The Back Side Of The Clock

 Sleep patterns can be strange, or at least different from individual to individual. I've never had a "normal" sleep need or pattern. A few hours at whatever time I feel the need works while MsBubba is more traditional. I can sleep in a LazyBoy thru strobe lights flashing and a CJ610 doing power check run-ups with no problem. Opening the door with a "nightlight" on in the hallway will wake MsBubba enough that she can't go back to sleep. 

Enough of the set up, I'm up looking at "political sites" at 0300 and being the weekend not much was new or posted so I stumbled over to You Tube and woodworking. The first thing up was "Four Things You Get Wrong" when building a work bench or something like that. Here is a link: Workbench

He has some good advice, not quite correct on a few things but overall a good video. It reminds me that I should build an English bench as well as a Scandinavian bench.



  1. One doesn't need wrenches to knock down a Moravian workbench.
    On my Paul Sellers workbench, there are 4 carriage bolts and 4 wooden screws but they don't participate to the stability or anti racking; the carriage bolts are tightened just enough to prevent the nuts to unscrew. There are wooden wedges to tighten the aprons to the leg frames. For the wedges to be able to work correctly, in fact, the holes for the carriage bolts should be slightly oversized.

    It is my opinion that keeping things together and ensuring a correct geometry are two different functions that one try too often to combine.

    When one looks at Paul Sellers working, one will conclude that, most of the time, his workbench is a vise support, the same way a battleship would be a gun platform.

  2. a look at this video from about 1'20":
    to see what I mean.

    1. Sylvain,

      "One doesn't need wrenches to knock down a Moravian workbench" and that is the truth :-).

      While he did a good job of pointing out four of the major mistakes new and even experienced builders make. Where I disagree was his second point of not enough "work holding". My experience or observation is most builders build in too much or the wrong kind of "work holding". KISS applies, I shake my head every time I see a bench with a vise on all four corners and usually each vise is a different kind.

      Sellers is good at KISS.


  3. Size matters a lot.
    When I build my last bench, it kind of started after reading Chris book on benches.
    So it had to pass the four tests.
    My biggest limitations were what I had on hand. As in most of my projects in order to justify my wood hoarding tendencies :-)
    I had a slab of bowling alley maple 1-7/8 inch thick, but with a good cupping to it. It ended up a bit over 1-1/2 inches thick, flatten.
    That piece dictated my bench size, so after some ripping and gluing, I ended up with a top 22 inches wide X 4 feet.
    The piece I ripped was glued up front to thicken the front, it really stiffen things up.
    For work holding, I had an antique leg vise up front, which I rehabbed and a copy of Record 7 in QR vise at the end (rarely used it) with a row of 3/4 holes for bench dogs and a few strategically placed holes for blacksmith`s made hold fasts.

    The base structure is left over pieces of 4X4 posts and laminated 2X6 pieces, front lower horizontal piece is maple, remainders pine construction stuff.
    Joinery is mostly half lap connections, glued and screwed by two lag bolts.

    Bench is very stiff and stay put, after putting rubber pieces under it, works fine, except...
    You will think that it is easier to keep a small bench top cleared? Nope.
    and although it is great at what it is, a joinery bench, I long lusted after a bigger bench. Realistically nothing longer than 6 ft and it would be nice to take it apart to move it in/out the shop.
    For all these reasons, Moravian sounds like a winner.
    In addition, I want to experiment with small portable designs for my son`s apartment lifestyle. That preclude a big heavy bench. Got some idea around the use of my saw bench tricked out.

    All that to say, that I need to make some room in my shop for another bench and a shave horse and... now you know why I like my tools on the wall :-)

    Bob, taking another break from breaking that %$"* freezing rain cement we got dumped with. Room clearing in progress in the shop.

  4. Bob,

    There are many advantages to a Moravian in addition to being easy and quick to put together and take apart. If you build with the leg vise instead of a metal QR the vise is easy to remove and store. Once the leg vise is removed the bench can be used as any number of tables or benches. I do it all the time when I need a serving table in the back garden. If you take care and build to be pretty it can also make a nice side table for your son's apartment when the vise is removed and stored.

    When you get ready to build a shave horse, I can help. after two prototypes I've got most of the pitfalls figured out (famous last words :-)).


  5. I didn't really measure it but, when knocked down and put vertically against a wall, it occupies something like 3 square feet floor space.
    A quick release vise on it would defeat the portability due to its weight.

    1. Sylvain,

      I'm not sure it needs even 3 square feet. I'll post a photo of one of my benches stored with a yard stick next to it later, if I remember and do not get distracted. The distraction is easy when you suffer Old Timers.

      Bottom line, a Moravian bench checks all the boxes of what a modern bench needs to do. I do not know of another bench design that does. With almost every other type there are one or more "yes buts".