The 6 Personalities of Workbench Builders


This post is by request. Several people have asked me to assemble all the links to the stories in this series in one posting so it would be easy to share or to find in the future.

Workbench Personality No. 1: The Engineer

Workbench Personality No. 2: The Traditionalist

Workbench Personality No. 3: The Cheapskate

Workbench Personality No. 4: The Best of Everything

Workbench Personality No. 5: Frank Sinatra

Workbench Personality No. 6: The Undecider

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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19 Responses to The 6 Personalities of Workbench Builders

  1. i have to ask, where do those folks in the picture up above fit in?

    • Ed Clarke says:

      Don’t know about the people although the sawyer looks to be from east Asia. Look at the saw horses in the background! They have four standard legs and auxiliary leg(s) attached to keep them from tipping over. I like the wooden splitter to keep the log from closing up on the saw blade.

  2. Keith says:

    loved this series.

  3. I think you need another, The Busy Beaver, who is overly industrious.

  4. I loved the series as well. I can take a deep sigh that I didn’t end up being any of them. When I started woodworking two years ago, I had absolutely no experience and no confidence. As such, I bought a workbench. I ended up going with the Lie Nielsen one mostly because it met Chris’s criteria and he had a video about it so I know he didn’t hate it. The price wasn’t inexpensive but I had looked enough online to see it wasn’t out of line either.

    I’ve been happy with it. I haven’t been happy with how hot my well insulated garage gets during the summer months. My significant other has given me permission to work inside one of the spare bedrooms so I am going to be building that bench. That will give me another opportunity to see if I can be “that” guy Chris talks so fondly of in these postings. …… Actually that’s unlikely. Now that I have worked at the bench for the last two years, I have a good idea of what I do and don’t need. I will pick a design that is relatively easy to build. I definitely don’t want a show piece. I want something I won’t think twice about putting a screw or nail into if needed.

  5. I enjoyed this series. I diagnosed myself as a combo cheapskate and undecider. I made a Roubo, following the advice of a blogger many are familiar with, but I went cheap on the materials using Southern Yellow Pine, and the hardware, which I bought from Lee Valley pretty cheap. I also cut dimension’s a bit to extend the material, its still eight feet long, and about two feet deep. mostly I went with thinner legs and top. It took me a while to decide. I was torn between a something with a shoulder vice, like a Scandinavian workbench and a shoulder vice and a Roubo. After much deliberation, I pulled the trigger on the Roubo. Glad I went that way.

    It functions well. I am pleased with it, even though the top isn’t as thick as recommended, and the hardware isn’t as cool as as wooden vice screw or as silky smooth as a Benchcrafted. I tried to adhere mostly to the author’s advice. I’m really glad I did not choose to not use rice as an adhesive.

  6. kaisaerpren says:

    over 30 years ago I glued up 3 layers of PBD (particle board) for a make do bench top (just until I can afford to make a nice shaker style bench ya know?). I’m still using it, it started on saw horses, and has a box like leg arrangement now, but I keep plounding on it, and recently I drilled holes for holdfasts (If you round the corners of the holes they work well and haven’t crumbled yet, 2 yrs). I love your articles, I would love to have a better bench. but I keep plugging away with this one. I tell people to do what they can with what they have.
    be well everyone

  7. aashiv57 says:

    Thank you!

    Amelia A Price from Amelia’s Droid2 Shalom

  8. chucknickerson says:

    I think I cover types 1 – 5. I’ve got Benchcrafted vises on a split-top Roubo built with DF and a low-profile CDX drawer on the stretchers. Four years in and I still love the mongrel.

  9. bloksav says:

    I am engineer, cheapskate and Frank Sinatra.
    It could be worse..

  10. Sam Morgan says:

    That’s almost enough to write a book on workbenches! Great series…Thanks!

  11. RustedTinMan says:

    Awesome series! — I can find myself being almost any of them. Honestly though
    My benches are just that,…Mine. They do what I intend them to do, aide me in my sawdust making endeavors. Live and learn and never stop.

  12. Jason Rerras says:

    These are fing hilarious, thank you.

  13. tsstahl says:

    I can make a career off of selling rating systems to institutions and employers a la Myers Briggs!

    Sign up early to find out if you are 61,43–60% Engineer, 40% Cheapskate. 🙂

  14. Salko Safic says:

    I suppose every trade has its stories.

  15. Henry Fiacco says:

    After reading all six I started to see elements of each one in myself. Sometimes I’m cheap, sometimes I overbuild, sometimes I get wrapped up in tradition… You get the idea. Maybe I’m just welll balanced… LOL

  16. Bruno Luecking says:

    What a brilliant series – I really laughed my head off while reading it! Hard to say which character is the most ridiculous one. May be the undecider, although I’m not sure 😉 Have to read it again anyway.

  17. stradlad68 says:

    My wife and I enjoyed this series a lot. She tailors custom clothing for historical re-enactors. Mr Schwarz you also nailed the types of customers she has endured over the years. Kudos.

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