I’ll never know the pain of childbearing, but I think I know the next-closest thing: bench building. That why I include a full bottle of ibuprofen on the list of tools needed for my bench-building classes.
Students think I’m kidding about the pills, but by mid-week they are hitting my personal bottle of painkillers like a candy bowl at the front desk of a Mars bar factory.
For 2015, I am offering four bench-building classes on three continents: Australia, North America and England. I don’t know how many more of bench classes I have in me, so take that as fair warning. Here are details:
Build a Roubo Workbench at the Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking, Feb. 23-27, 2015
The owner of the Melbourne, Australia, school scored a load of sweet yellow pine benchtops that are already glued up. We’re going to transform these into some fantastic French-style workbenches with the traditional joint: a sliding dovetail and through-tenon at each corner.
As always, you can add your own vises to build the bench of your dreams. That’s one of the huge advantages of the open architecture of the French format.
For this Australia class I’ll also bring a stomach pump in addition to my painkillers. Aussies drink like Germans.
Knockdown Nicholson at The Woodworker’s Club in Rockville, Md., May 4-8, 2015
Knockdown Nicholson at The New English Workshop, July 20-24, 2015
The knockdown Nicholson workbench is a new design this year (check out details here). I’ve made many Nicholson-style workbenches, but this one is by far the best, easiest to build and knocks down in less than five minutes.
This bench is suited for anyone who doesn’t have a dedicated shop space, or who might need to move their bench on occasion. However, even if you don’t fit in those categories, this bench offers no downsides. Unlike other knockdown benches I’ve worked on, this one has no compromises. It is as solid as a French bench.
The version we’re building has no screw-feed vises, but you can bring whatever you like and we’ll add them to your bench. A leg vises would be ideal for the face vise position. I personally wouldn’t add a tail vise to this bench – I work just fine without one – but this bench can accept several tail vises as well.
While I am very much looking forward to returning to Royal Leamington Spa and Warwickshire College for this course, I am not sure how the local pubs feel about our triumphant return.
Build a French Bench at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, Aug. 10-14, 2015
Using sweet, sweet ash from Horizon Wood Products, we’ll be building full-on Roubo-style workbenches in the well-equipped shop at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking. And we will most certainly have a pizza-eating contest that week, courtesy of Frank Pepe’s.
As mentioned above, you can add whatever vises you like to this bench.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. There is one more workbench class scheduled for 2015: The French Oak Roubo Project. While that class is full, get on the waiting list if you want to do it. Spots may yet open up.