For the last month, I’ve been revising and expanding my first book “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” for F+W Media. The revised book is scheduled to be out by the end of 2015 and printed in the United States.
I started writing that book in 2005, and a lot has changed in the last 10 years – not in workbench design, but in workholding. Plus, after teaching 15 or so classes on building workbenches (and building another dozen benches myself), I have learned a few things about bench building that have made my life easier.
Oh, and there are a few small errors in the original edition, including one line that people give me inordinate amounts of crap for. I wrote that I added a coat of wax to a benchtop, and then in a later photo caption discuss how that’s stupid for handwork. So I gave bad advice and then I contradicted myself. Sigh.
So I’ve been nipping and tucking the text throughout the entire book. Most of my edits are to reflect changes in what’s available. When I wrote that book, there weren’t any commercial benches that I would buy, there weren’t any manufactured holdfasts that I’d buy and wood vise screws were extremely difficult to find. Today we have an almost-embarrassing array of benches and accessories to choose from.
It’s weird revising your own work. It’s like having a conversation with a younger version of yourself. As I make small changes I mutter to myself: “Yeah, you’re right. But you could have said it in a nicer way.” Good thing I work alone.
I also decided to add two benches to the book.
In the original edition I show how to build an English bench and a French bench, both from construction lumber. They are great benches, and are still in daily service today. But after much thought, I decided to add plans for a knockdown English bench and a no-compromises French bench with all the crazy sliding-dovetail joinery.
As I sat down to write these chapters, I didn’t think I had anything more to say about workbenches. About 10,000 words later, I proved myself wrong.
I’ll have more details on the revised edition as they are available. Because this book will be printed in the United States, Lost Art Press will carry it. We will have 500 copies, and all will be personally signed by me before going to our warehouse.
— Christopher Schwarz