Our August 2015 Workbench of the Month comes to us from Ron G. from Wellington, Florida. Ron has built a great Moravian Workbench with a leg vise that is patterned off of our good friend Will Myers’ Moravian classic and we think you’ll agree that the workbench turned out fantastic.
It is the first workbench I have built and one of the larger projects I have completed. It is built completely from southern yellow pine (except the tusk tenons which are scrap oak). The only local source I could find was a large lumber yard that would not let me pick through the pile, so I had to take what I got. There were inconvenient knots and edge runout. I was able to work around or sandwich most of the defects. Given the space available, I settled on a size of about five feet long and two feet deep. I bought 2 x 10 10’s. I planed then down to a uniform thickness, removing most of the rounding of the corners in the process. For the top, I ripped them to 3 1/2″ inches and glued up the two top sections which I then used my thickness planer to make a uniform thickness. The legs were also glued up from the 3 1/2″ pieces. Other parts were ripped and cut to size.
The bench is based on Will Myers’ Moravian Workbench:
- I chose to use a split top with no tool tray… I wanted the additional work surface and knew a tray would just collect junk. Splitting the top with a gap accomplished three things: it made the top sections light enough to be movable by one person; it gave me a place to put chisels where they wouldn’t roll to the floor; and it meant I did not have to make the facing sides perfectly mated.
- I rabbetted the inside edge of the long stretchers to allow me add a (removable) shelf.
- My end vise is an old Wilton that was salvaged from the workshop of a friend’s dead father.
- The front vice is a slanted leg vice. I did not want to obstruct the shelf with the additional structure needed to support a vertical vice. I did have to widen the left, front leg to make sure there was enough support for the screw. The screw hardware is yours (Lake Erie Toolworks). For the parallel guide, I tried something different. I got a 1 1/8″ oak dowel and drilled a larger hole through the leg. I then flush mounted a deck mount for steel pipe that was slightly larger than the dowel. I am hoping that the thread will catch on the dowel and keep things parallel. Time will tell (though I expect I’ll need to fiddle with it).
- I got a pair of the Gramercy holdfasts and am very happy with them.
- The base is finished in milk paint – I was concerned that it would rub off the leg onto work, but I emailed Megan Fitzpatrick to ask about her experience with her painted bench and she told me not to worry.
- The top and vise chops are finished with three or four coats of a homemade mixture of boiled linseed oil, varnish, and mineral spirits (1:1:1).
- Most bench builds I’ve seen seem to take place on an already constructed bench. This was not an option for me. I used a pair of rickety saw horses, at Black and Decker Workmate, and the floor of the garage (the only thing I had that was sturdy enough on which to chop mortises). Working on the garage floor was interesting – it reminded me of those old prints of Japanese woodworkers. On the other hand, the wood chips and other debris left marks in all the wood. Oh, well.
- My hand cut partial thickness dovetails look like crap. This was true of most of my joints – no matter how carefully I laid them out and cut them, they looked sloppy when glued up. More importantly, however, they were solid.
- I screwed up when making the saddle joints for the short stretchers across the top of the legs. I chose to make the long dimension parallel with the face of the bench to try to increase stability. Unfortunately, this made the glue joints in the legs parallel with the short stretchers. When I inserted the short stretcher to glue it, despite having test fitted the joint, it split the leg’s glue joint.
- I used small jig (sort of visible on top of the sheet of paper on the shelf) to keep my bench dog holes lined up. The drill bit was a 3/4″ Irwin Speedbor. It has a lead screw and three flutes. It’s incredibly aggressive (almost scarily so) and just tore threw the benchtop.
I’m really happy with the finished bench. It is solid and heavy enough to not move when in use. It holds work well. The fit and finish could (should?) be better, but it’s incredibly functional – and that’s what really matters.
Our June 2014 Workbench of the Month is a Spanish beauty from Stephane B. of Valencia, Spain. Crafted by woodworker Emilio Navarro, this bench is not only a wonder to behold but it is also built primarily out of etimoe which is a West African hardwood similar to the look and feel of rosewood due to its strength, hardness and color. Now you don’t see that everyday in a workbench. We hope you enjoy.
Hello, I am Stephane B., violin maker in Valencia, Spain. This is my new roubo workbench made by the woodworker Emilio Navarro from El Puig, Valencia. He is made from etimoe and hard maple. The top is 155 cm long, 55 cm wide and 13 cm thick. (61” long, 22” wide, 5” thick) The bench is 87 cm height. (34” height) The pore of the etimoe has been closed with puzzolana earth. The finish is leinos primer oil, leinos hard oil and liberon wax. The bench is heavy, around 130 kg. (287 LB.) The Lake Erie Toolworks leg vise is very well made and works very well too.
Best regards, Stephane B.
Adding our July 2013 Workbench of the Month from Brian M. of Ottawa, Canada to our Lake Erie Toolworks Blog for ease of access and historical awareness.
I finally finished my Roubo style workbench and I have attached some pictures.
The vise installed beautifully. Rather than use tape to align the screw in the hole I used pine splints. The hole size was 2-5/8″ so the splints were 1/16″ thick. They held the screw quite firmly, yet the pine was soft enough not to damage anything. I have shown the splints partially inserted in the chop. I used the same technique for the leg. Their length is smaller than the depth of the leg, to allow the screw to fully tighten the assembly. The block was bolted to the leg, no glue. To me the splints gave an absolutely positive affirmation that the screw was perfectly aligned in the hole.
With the exception of the leg vise the bench is entirely red oak. The bench top is 2 pieces of 3-1/2″ red about seven feet long weighing around 170 lbs. (Jointing 7 feet of 3-1/2″ thick oak is no treat, especially since the joint integrity was done by placing one on top of the other, not sideways. Lots of heavy lifting!). The top is 22″ wide. Bench height is 33″. The legs are 5″ x 5-1/4″. The risers are 3-1/2″ deep by 7″ tall. The tenons are 6-1/2″ high x 1-3/4″ wide x 3″ long.
The tenons were secured with quarter sawn red oak dowels made on a dowel making machine that is about 120 years old ( original use was for barn building). No glue was used
You will note the Lake Erie Toolworks screw vise is in good company with an Emmert vise and a Benchcrafted Criss Cross.
Total bench weight is around 440 lbs. (350 without the Emmert vise).
I am thinking of adding a second shelf for hand planes. I am also going to leather line both vises.
Thanks Nick for an absolutely great product.
Adding our June 2013 Workbench of the Month from Kirby R. of Cochrane, Alberta Canada to our Lake Erie Toolworks Blog for ease of access and historical awareness.
Here is my version of the Roubo. This thing is massive! The bench wouldn’t be the same without your vise screw kit, a breeze to install and works flawlessly. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
The details of my bench are as follows:
– Length 100″ x Width 23 1/4″ x Height 31″
– Laminated top thickness is just under 6″
– Weight ~ 600lbs
– Material used Canadian Beech
– Finish poly/boiled linseed oil/solvent blend
Can’t wait to put it to work on my next project!
Adding our May 2013 Workbench of the Month from Kerry K. of North Branford, Connecticut to our Lake Erie Toolworks Blog for ease of access and historical awareness.
Thought you’d like to see something different. The bench is modeled after Fine Woodworking Magazine’s “Hybrid Roubo” which uses timber frame joinery. I left the through tenons long for aesthetics and placed the vise to the inside of the leg. The bench is made entirely from hard maple and finished with three coats of Watco oil. Your nut & screw has two coats of Watco and a generous rub of Butcher’s Wax which makes for a buttery action.
I took cues for the design of the vise from one I saw on a Shaker bench in Scott Landis’ book. It works flawlessly and holds incredibly well. I have more pics of the bench build and vise on my site.
For what it’s worth, the quality of your vise screw is exceptional. I had a vision of an “Old Style” bench. And your vise screw is a big part of that.
(More Photos and video) – Bench build with video of vise in action:
(More photos) – Details of this very unique vise assembly: