People gripe about my plans for sawbenches. They require too many tools, skills or shop time to complete. These are not baseless complaints: The first sawbench I built incorporated drawbored and wedged through-tenons. It’s an awesome beast that will never die, but it is a tad difficult to build if you don’t own a shop or a workbench.
So during the last five years I’ve simplified their construction, shortened the must-have tool list and made them quick to build. And I’ve done this without sacrificing their functional characteristics.
This weekend at Woodworking in America in Pasadena, Calif., I’ll be building a couple of these sawbenches and giving them away. The parlor trick is that I’ll be building them in 60 minutes or less. I hope.
During the last week I’ve built four of these sawbenches to refine their construction details. These sawbenches have legs with a compound splay, but all the layout is done with a steel square. If you can identify the numbers 5 and 21, then you can do the geometry.
The hardest part of building these sawbenches was making my tools work with the construction-grade lumber. My handsaw is tuned for dry hardwoods. How do you then cut wet softwoods without jamming your saw? (I found the trick. It’s cutting geometry, of course). Plus, I had to figure out how to do everything with one saw, one plane and no real workbench. This sawbench can be built on a kitchen countertop with the help of two 5-gallon buckets. (Thanks to Mike Siemsen for a tip on that.)
I’ll share more details of this project after I survive Woodworking in America. I still have to get all my presentations for the conference complete before I get on a plane Thursday.
— Christopher Schwarz