Bench Building: A Team Sport

Last night I dragged myself home after five days of building 16 workbenches at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking. All of the benches turned out fantastic for two reasons:

1. Wonderful (yet inexpensive) material. We used Horizon Wood Product’s Roubo “bench bundles.” For just $650 per bench, we got some amazing 12/4 and 8/4 ash for the bench. It was all cut to manageable lengths, perfectly dry and clear. Out of the 16 benches, we had only two small, tight knots.

Another testament to the quality of the wood: Due to a mistake I made, I ordered 15 bench bundles for 16 students. We still were able to squeeze out a perfect 16th bench from the material supplied. Without a doubt, I will use Horizon again. The service was outstanding. Pete Terbovich, who handles the bench kits there, is great to deal with.

2. Teamwork. At some bench classes it’s difficult to get students to work together on everyone’s benches, hauling tops around, milling material that is not for their bench, assisting with layouts and goodness knows what. Not this class. These were special students.

I’m back on the road next week – I leave Tuesday for The Woodwright’s School, where I’m teaching a class in the Dutch Tool Chest and filming two more episodes on Roy Underhill’s Show “The Woodwright’s Shop.”

So if I haven’t answered your recent e-mail….

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. Day 1 and Day 2 of the bench-building class are covered on my blog at Popular Woodworking Magazine. The music is from freemusicarchive.org and is by the Freak Fandango Orchestra.

About Chris Schwarz

Publisher of woodworking books and DVDs specializing in hand tool techniques.
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4 Responses to Bench Building: A Team Sport

  1. Chris – Bravo on making 16 new Roubo benches from such a good supply of wood with a total of only 2 knots in the lot. I’ve said it before that basic logic tells us again and again that two knots make a positive. Thus knotty wood is good, if for nothing else but making des carts.

  2. jonfiant says:

    Glad to see that bench building remains a team sport! Reminds me of the heady days of FORP! can’t wait to do it it again. Chris, in case no one has told you you recently, thanks again for all you do to promote the craft! You are a great ambassador for woodworking! I have really enjoyed the times I have been in your company and I look forward to more. In my full time occupation of building kitchen cabinets as quickly as I can, the thing that keeps me going is the time I get to build things for me, using the methods I want. Your writings have ignited a passion.
    Jon Fiant

  3. Is that polka band Brave Combo?

  4. runamokwoodworks says:

    I’m working on my own Roubo-esque bench right now and I tell you what, I wish I had sixteen friends to help me haul the beast around my shop!

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