Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, Noel, Charley, CHJ

By Joe
I've just finished making this workbench from Chris Schwarz's book (I didn't photograph the build as this would infringe Schwarz's intellectual property). If anyone is considering building one I can report that it is a very sturdy, stable bench and that the leg vice works brilliantly, providing far more effective and unobstructed clamping than I've ever experienced with a standard quick-release vice. Please forgive the dodgy photo but space and light are sadly lacking in my workshop...


By TrimTheKing
Looks good that Joe :D

What's it made of, looks like softwood from the pic.
By Joe
Thanks Mark. It's made of Southern Yellow Pine, which is what Schwarz uses in his book as it is relatively inexpensive and though not very dent resistant is stiffer than many hardwoods (including ash, beech and oak).

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By Mr Ed
Looks like a nice bench - well done. Ref the infringing Schwartz's intellectual property I think you're probably fairly safe here. I have read several WIP's of his Roubo bench on Woodnet and no-one seems to bothered about IP infringements.

Cheers, Ed
Lovely job Joe, looks like a very nice bench.

Chris has published much on this bench and the tail vice on the web, so you shouldn't worry about WIPs
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Good to see it finished, Joel, and thanks for the photo.

I'm interested to hear whether you've decided to finish the bench in some way? I know there are pro's and con's for each case; it looks as though you have, or is that just the flash?

Nice Festool gloat, by the way! :wink:
By Boz62
That's really nice :D.

Chris Schwartz says to get Southern Yellow Pine from the local Home Depot. I suspect the Sheds in the UK would laugh when asked for that :shock:. Is it common in UK timber yards? How does the cost compare to a generic "Clear Softwood"?

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Boz, you shouldn't have much trouble finding Southern Yellow Pine; as it's grown in North America, just look for a local supplier who sells imported hardwoods and they're almost certainly going to stock it. Price-wise, I've found it's pretty much double the cost of redwood. It's much nicer to work with though with straight grain and a lovely smell. :)
By Joe
Thanks for the kind words - closer inspection would reveal that the construction process wasn't exactly cock-up free, but it's come out ok.

Boz - I bought the timber in 4900mm x 300mm x 50mm sawn lengths from an importer in Bristol. I needed 5 lengths (I've still got some left to make a shelf) and it cost about £260 in total.

Olly - Schwarz recommends a couple of coats of Danish oil just to protect against glue spills and the like, so that's what I'm going to do. And apologies for allowing some Festool stuff to creep into the frame...

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By Steve Maskery
Very nice job, well done, etc, etc. I mean it. But.

I feel like real heel bringing this up, but as you've raised the point yourself.... :)


My dad had a bench that had an apron on the front like that. It adds considerable rigidity, I know. But how on earth do you clamp anything down to the bench?

I made the Nelson-Fortune bench from the Landis book (poorly, as it happens. I used beech and, 15 years later, the whole thing is riddled with woodworm).

But if I ever remake it, I'll probably go for a substantially similar design. I do not understand the appeal of a front apron. It just gets in the way.

Now I assure you, I'll be delighted if you can educate me and show me the error of my ways. It doesn't give me any pleasure to rain on your parade, honest. What am I missing?

By Joe
Hello Steve

Chris Schwarz makes exactly the same point that you make about the apron in his book. Of the two benches he discusses he clearly prefers what he refers to as the French bench, or "Roubo", describing it as liberating not to have a front apron. So why, perversely, did I go for the "English" bench? Historical Anglo/French rivalry maybe?

The truth is that it appealed to me aesthetically and I like the efficiency of the torsion-box like design. And it isn't impossible to clamp things to the surface - there is the wagon vice of course, plus I have a Veritas holdfast and surface clamp (both fit in the dog holes plus there are four extra holes towards the back edge of the top ). It is also possible to put G/F etc. clamps onto the end of the top nearest the leg-vice.

Perhaps I'll regret my not entirely rational choice - only time will tell!

By Tierney
It looks good, very sturdy looking.
By white_sw
Thats a great looking bench. May I ask where in Bristol you purchased the pine ?