To be honest, the vintage Ulmia workbench in our shop is actually closer in design to Charles Holtzapffel’s workbench design than this bench. But I wanted to build a bench with a twin-screw face vise, and Holtzapffel’s bench was the closest analog to what I wanted.
But I wasn’t having Holtzapffel’s tool tray. Or the European tail vise. Or the drawer. Or the knockdown bolts.
And since building it in 2006, I’ve added a leg vise so we can swap back and forth between the twin-screw (for dovetailing) and the leg vise (for everything else).
In addition to adding the leg vise, we also added a Record planing stop, like the one on the Nicholson workbench. But other than that, the bench hasn’t been changed much.
It’s a great bench – a perfect size for our crowded workshop. And it’s usually the bench that most students grab first when they arrive (if they can’t get to my bench).
Some of the items shown in this video:
- Record planing stop. An antique from Patrick Leach.
- Benchcrafted Classic Vise and Crisscross.
- Quick-release Steel Vise from Lee Valley (the 10-1/2” version)
— Christopher Schwarz
19 thoughts on “Workbench Tour No. 5: The Holtzapffel Workbench”
Anybody else feel like this series is the best thing to come out of this whole pandemic? I have been enjoying this more than Netflix shows.
I’ve grabbed it twice. Much of that decision is because I like it’s height. I used this bench before I built mine and based mines height on this bench. Also, that vise. Man, I love that vise.
Nice bench. Lots of character and cool looking figure in that top.
My beer fund is getting depleted by these videos. But they’re going into another beer fund which is a fine destination.
It is good to get to class early.
I fell in love with this design when I saw it. I just completed mine from 16/4 poplar a couple of weeks ago. I added a sliding deadman and used a Yost QR vise with 12” shapeless jaws. My third and final bench, it has everything I ever wanted.
Damn spell check; sapele jaws.
Beautifully done videos and I love the differing character and story behind each Bench. . Any chance of a video showing the overall layout of your shop area ? I hate to think these are coming to an end .
I built this bench from Chris’ book in 2007. Ash seemed to be the ideal merging of weight/strength/cost. Twin-screw LN vise up front. Easily made a recent move to another state because it breaks down to a few sub-assemblies that one person can handle. The German bench.
Is the video editor, Katherine Schwarz, your daughter? She’s done a great job with the video. I love the music in background. Somehow seems appropriate. Very nicely done.
Thanks and yes. I will let her know.
What is the construction of the top on this bench? Looks like it might be a glue up of 8/4 red oak?
It’s 8/4 ash, laminated.
That bench has the best light
Not in the morning – it’s too harsh when the sun pokes around the building across the street. After the noon hour, it’s nice.
My opinion: The benches with the best light are mine and the power-tool workbench, which is under a window facing south.
You’ve mentioned “yours” a few times in this series, which is that these days?
Coming up soon!!
Careful! You showed a lump hammer and you’ve only recently been able to keep them in stock.
Hey Chris, really enjoying these commentaries…it does seem that your version of the Holtzappfel is really a modified Roubo, no surprising given your long standing praise of the Roubo form.
Thanks for all you do for the craft, especially in these crazy pandemic times!
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