I don’t sleep as well when I have French workbench in pieces in my shop. Even a little wood movement in the joints can make assembly a bear, or at least a ticked-off warthog.
Yesterday I fit the legs in their mortises. Today I got everything major assembled. Some specs for the curious:
- The base is drawbored with 5/8” hickory dowel stock. The drawbore offset was a strong 1/8”, and I drove the pins in with a sledge.
- All the joints are strengthened by Titebond Liquid Hide Glue.
- This bench is 9’ long – the most common size called out in “l’Art du menuisier.” It’s more than a 1’ longer than my bench but seems a lot longer.
- Height is about 31”, as per the customer’s request. A nice height – almost as nice as 38”.
- Benchtop depth is 21”, one of my favorite depths.
Next comes the fun part. This customer asked for the full-on Plate 11 treatment. So it’s getting two Peter Ross holdfasts, the fully joined tongue-and-groove shelf, Peter Ross planing stop and iron bits for the vise, a dovetailed drawer, swing-out grease pot and tool rack at the back.
This will be the closest full-on Plate 11 bench I’ve yet built. The next closest thing involves a time travel machine, which Stumpy Nubs is currently fabricating on an X-carve in Baltic birch.
— Christopher Schwarz