Our January 2015 Workbench of the Month comes to us from Terry A. from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Terry has built an amazing Shaker style workbench that has both a wagon and leg vise. This 400 lb. Western Canadian beauty not only provides plenty of tool storage but is also a functional work of art to behold. Bottom line, this is a fantastic workbench to kick off the brand new year so everyone enjoy!
Hello, Just finished my new bench. A Shaker workbench based on an historic piece. This bench was built on the design by Ron Brese. She is 25″ deep, 84″ long and just under 36″ high. This monolith is around 400 lbs. The carcass is 3/4″ Baltic plywood and poplar. The top, leg vise and deadman are western maple. The top is 3″ thick with the facing overhang 4″. I used aniline dye on the vise screws.
There are only a couple of changes from Ron Brese’s plan. This extra overhang was needed to accommodate the wagon vise. This change led to the deadman rail needing to come out the same distance. I raised the rail so my feet can easily shuffle under it. The increase in overhang led to the stationary portion of the leg vise also moving out. A good part of the leg vise nut is captured within this thicker piece. The top of the bench locates itself at the front corner where the overhang and wagon vise form a natural 90 deg. I put a 1/2″ brass rod in the top of the stationary part of the leg vise and the underside of the top. This was done to maintain registration between the top and the leg vise with wood movement. From there back the top floats.
There was no question about the screws being anything but wood. Through time they have proven themselves. There is the perception that metal would be better. But looking at the design parameters, the expected demands, Sugar Maple is beyond adequate. And wood is what we do. I’m aware that wood is not indestructible and pay attention to the moment. Just the place I want to be. These are very well made screws that will outlive me. (I have no known terminal health problems!).
The hardware for both the leg and tail/wagon vise are very well made and function beautifully. There is such an affinity with the fact these are wood. Why would I want anything else? Steel is wonderful in its indestructible nature and perception of lasting forever. But wood is from a living source that’s time is fleeting. It’s soft it’s warm it needs your awareness to endure. It has its limits but they are well beyond the use it has been crafted to fulfill. Why would I not give the vise the same attention I give my chisels? The vise doesn’t really demand anything more than other fine tools ask. It’s so kind to the eye and hand. Thank you for a very fine product.
Terry A. – Victoria, BC – Canada