Four Guys, Four Days, Five Workbenches – Day 1


The day had finally arrived to begin transforming a stack of mostly #1 SYP into heritage workbenches at the Workbench Building Workshop at The Barn, in what I hope will become an annual event.  Professional Refinishers Group members Pete, John, and Bill were joined by Stewart for what we hoped would be an excellent week of work.  While I had originally envisioned up to ten participants, it turns out that four is the perfect number.  If I reprise the event that will be the number of students.

Immediately on their arrival I showed them both the Roubo and Nicholson prototypes I built in preparation for the event.  It turned out that each of the four decided to build the laminated Roubo bench I adapted from that of English woodworker and tool maker David Barron.  Since one of the longstanding hurdles for many workbench workshops was that few if any participants actually get done with theirs, it was my ardent desire that everyone get out the door on Friday with a completed bench.  To accomplish that I standardized the construction methods and simplified the benches so that they could be finished.  Ex poste add-ons like leg vises or crochets could be incorporated later after the benches got home, but I really did want them ready to get to work the following Monday back at home.

With the choices the attendees made the plan for the week got even simpler.


The first set of tasks was to rip the 8-foot 2x12s into the necessary pieces to build all the bench tops.  With a good dose of teamwork we proceeded apace.


Once the pile of pieces being ripped to be laminated was complete, we moved out to the planer to clean them up.  The weather was cooperating just fine.



We then edge joined the pieces and they were ready for the central core of the benches to be glued up.


I’d instructed all comers to bring as many clamps as they had, and we were just barely adequate in that department.  But, by evening we were glued up and done for the day.