Woodworking In America 2013 Event

Lake Erie Toolworks was an exhibitor at the recent Woodworking In America 2013 Event that took place in Cincinnati, Ohio on October 18th-20th. This years show was very well attended with literally hundreds of woodworkers receiving training from the top names in the woodworking industry. The event exhibit area also had many booths from today’s top woodworking tool providers showing their latest wares.

For those of you who haven’t seen us, here’s the team that powers Lake Erie Toolworks at our WIA2013 Event Booth.  Starting from the left is Nick Dombrowski (The brains behind Lake Erie), Rachel Dombrowski (Nick’s beautiful wife and office guru) and Jeff Dombrowski (Nick’s father and operational support go-to guy).   Lake Erie Toolworks Team

Our Lake Erie booth had many visitors and it was great to meet with so many woodworkers to show them our wooden vise products first hand. Some of the consistent comments we heard were: it’s amazing how large the vise screws are, how fast and smooth the vise screw action is and how strong the clamping force is. The overall experience can best be summed up as “fast as can be, smooth as silk and strong as an ox”. Now we have our work cut out for us to try and capture such a “tactile” hands-on experience into a “visual” format for our website and videos and also to do it justice.

We also received a lot of wonderful ideas and suggestions from our audience that we will be putting into play in short order such as the following:

  • Provide Lake Erie Moxon Vises with smaller wooden screws
  • Provide Sketch-Up models of our vise screws & vise installations to help woodworkers when they are designing their workbenches
  • Create a video that shows how to finish and wax a vise screw & nut
  • Provide for more interactive comments on the Workbench of the Month

One of the primary benefits of the WIA2013 Event was that you had a large gathering of the finest woodworking industry leaders and professional tool makers available that you could speak with first hand. Names like Chris Schwarz, Roy Underhill, Tom Lie-Nielsen, Robin Lee, Peter Ross, Ron Hock, Mark Harrell and Don Williams were all on hand to talk with the event attendees.  It is rare that you have such a brain trust of talent present in one place at one time but here’s a picture that captures this point for your enjoyment.Wood Toolmakers

This all said, it was a very successful event for us and we want to thank all of our many customers for your continued patronage and supportive comments and suggestions as we strive to bring you the best products possible.

English Style Workbench – Fort George

A couple of weeks ago, while Nick was busy cranking out vise screw production, my wife and I headed up to Canada for a well deserved mini-vacation to Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. During our travels we not only spent time in Niagara Falls which is truly awe-inspiring, but we also came across “Niagara-On-The-Lake”, a small town just northeast of Niagara Falls situated right where the Niagara River spills into Lake Ontario. The place is absolutely beautiful and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a quick getaway trip.

While in Niagara-On-The-Lake, we visited the “Fort George” National Historic Site:  http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/on/fortgeorge/index.aspx

This is a reconstruction of the original fort used during the War of 1812 which happened to contain something known as the “Artificers’ Building”. This building housed the well trained craftsmen, or “artificers” – that we now know as carpenters and blacksmiths. The fort artificers could repair or manufacture almost any item from tools for other craftsmen and mess benches for the enlisted men to gun carriages and fort buildings, such as blockhouses. Here’s a picture of the outside of the building. Artificers-Building-Fort-George

It was in the Artificers Building that I came across a tremendous find, namely, a fully functional English-style workbench that used wooden vise screws and face vises on opposite sides of the workbench. This workbench was also huge at about 12 foot long and about 4 feet wide. I took several pictures of the workbench & vise details that I’m sharing here for your education and enjoyment. Moral of the story, you never know where you’ll come across a great wooden workbench but when you do, stop, pause and enjoy!

English Style Workbench

English Style Workbench

Wood Vise Screw - Face Vise - English Style Workbench

Wood Vise Screw - Face Vise - English Style Workbench

Wood Vise Screw - Face Vise - English Style Workbench

Wood Vise Screw - Face Vise - English Style Workbench

English Style Workbench

Regards,

Jeff Dombrowski

Moravian Workbench Education

We have a special guest blog article courtesy of Will Myers from Boonville, North Carolina who taught a Moravian Workbench building class at the Woodwright’s Shop in North Carolina earlier this summer. He’s going to give us all an education on this great workbench style via the following detail.

A few years back I was doing some research on different forms of the Andre Roubo workbench that people were building looking for ideas for the one I was working on at the time. I ran across a blog of a fella building a massive Roubo bench in a high rise apartment. The last entry was over a year old and he had gotten the huge laminated yellow pine top glued up and planed flat. I checked back a couple of times later on and never saw any more updates, the blog is no longer up now. Whether he ever finished the bench or not I do not know. So what does this have to do with a Moravian style work bench? My first thought when I read about this bench build was how was he going to get it out of the apartment if he decided to move? What he was building was not, in my opinion anyway, at all ideal for his situation. Even if he made it to where the bench broke down, he would have run off every good friend he ever had trying to move just the top alone. I have absolutely nothing against the Roubo bench, I believe it is as close to workbench perfection as is possible to attain but its one biggest asset is also its biggest fault: mass. I built a Roubo bench of my own and it is wonderful, especially if you do a lot of hand tool work. I have only had to move mine once since I built it but I will be honest; it makes my back hurt just thinking about moving it again.

A few months after building my Roubo bench, Chris Schwarz posted some pictures on his blog of the workbenches in the collection at Old Salem North Carolina, a preserved Moravian village founded in 1766.

Moravian-Workbench-1There were a couple of photos of a smallish bench with angled legs that broke down to move around to jobsites. Luckily for me Old Salem is not far from my home so I went down and saw the benches in person and took some measurements. My favorite details of the bench were its simplicity, the look of the angled legs, and of course the fact it disassembled for transport.

Moravian-Workbench-2

The original bench was made of oak and yellow pine. I set about building the bench almost identical to the original with one major change and that was the top. The original had 2 ½ in thick by 16 in wide top. I, while in the process of building the bench, ran across an old white oak beam from a dismantled barn that was 3 ½ in thick and 13 ½ in wide and decided to make this work for my bench.

Moravian-Workbench-3

Moravian-Workbench-4

Moravian-Workbench-5

The thicker top really ended up improving the bench; it has a wonderful solid feel that I love. I had some concern over the narrow work surface but that turned out to not be an issue. If you ever look at old workbenches you will notice that most of the wear and tear on the bench top is in the front 6 to 8 inches of top. I never noticed this until I started using this bench; most of the work you do is on the front few inches of the bench. I also added a homemade wagon vise and row of dog holes.

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Moravian-Workbench-7

The Moravian bench is solid, stable, and completely resists racking pressure. I also love the look of the bench. It is always nice when a bench combines functionality with attributes pleasing to the eye as well.

Moravian-Workbench-8

I am not trying to push this bench design on anyone, there are many of good designs out there and would recommend to anyone to do some research before building any type of workbench. There are several good books on the subject as well (my favorites are The Workbench Book by Scott Landis and The Workbench Design Book by Christopher Schwarz). Although the Moravian bench is a historic design, I think it fits in beautifully in the modern woodworker’s shop, particularly for those with multi-use or smaller work spaces and mobility requirements.

Moravian-Workbench-9

My one recommendation to someone building a workbench would be to build one to be used above all. Do not worry with flawless finishes or exotic woods, build something you will not be broken hearted if you scratch or dent it. If your bench is too nice to use then it end up being useless to you. A good workbench will make your work easier, faster, and be a lifelong companion in all the projects you undertake.

Will Myers – Boonville, NC

 

Announcing our October 2013 Workbench of the Month

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Our October 2013 Workbench of the Month is from Dave B. from Bartlett, New Hampshire.  Dave has built a fantastic Shaker style workbench featuring a leg and tail vise.  We hope you all enjoy it.  Here’s a quick snapshot of the workbench and you can checkout our website at http://www.LakeErieToolworks.com for additional pictures and content on this tremendous workbench.

Lake Erie Toolworks Workbench of the Month