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Thread: How Many Have Made or Planing To Make A Moravian Style Bench

  1. #1
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    How Many Have Made or Planing To Make A Moravian Style Bench

    If you hang around long enough most types of benches will become the cat's pajamas. Currently the "in" bench is a French/Roubo. I've even built two or three of 'em. Roubo style benches have some advantages such as simplicity, if you don't load them up with too many vises, an easy build, if you limit the vises to some type of face vise and tons of mass. The major disadvantage is the cost to build with the increasing price of hardwoods and the weight of both the parts and the finished bench. They are work to build in a one man shop. If a Roubo needs moving, forgetaboutit unless you have a big family.

    I see the Moravian bench mentioned often lately. I guess my question is: Will the Moravian bench replace the Roubo as the "in" bench? The Moravian style bench has most of the advantages of the Roubo with fewer drawbacks. It can be made lighter (cost less) and still be as stable and when it comes time to move one or two guys can do it with no problem.

    I'm building my third Moravian style bench and I can't tell you how impressed I am with the benches. All this to ask a question: How many other folks have build one and/or thinking about building a Moravian style bench (portable or otherwise)? If you have built one how about posting a photo.

    Here is one of mine:

    smallWorkbench180524dscf2704.jpg

    ken

  2. #2
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    One feature some use in a Moravian style bench is to have the leg vise tilt with the leg. This allows work pieces held vertically to cross the center of the vise helping to minimize any side to side racking.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    One feature some use in a Moravian style bench is to have the leg vise tilt with the leg. This allows work pieces held vertically to cross the center of the vise helping to minimize any side to side racking.

    jtk
    Jim,

    I've seen leg vises installed that way. So far I've had no racking problem, I'm not sure if it is the wooden vise screw that works to prevent racking or not. I do know this is the best holding vise I've used and it is as fast as a QR vise..

    I had a metal screw leg vise on an earlier bench and it wouldn't hold squat. I removed it after trying to work with it for months and replaced with a English QR vise. go figure.

    ken

  4. #4
    Here in Pennsylvania we call this a Pennsylvania Dutch bench. The Moravians came to Pennsylvania in 1841 and lived in several Pennsylvania Dutch counties. They later expanded into North Carolina and Georgia. The slanted legs are usually on the left side (fore end) of the bench which enables one to have a slanted vise, which is a big advantage.

    I have used a Pennsylvania Dutch bench since 1979.

  5. #5
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    Ken,

    I plan to build one sometime, but it will be in the future. Right now too many "have to do" and "need to do first" projects are in the way. Hopefully in a couple of years. I want the Moravian bench to be portable for projects on the road, and to use in the shop (one of those "need to do first" projects) until I can build a Scandinavian bench. The Scandinavian bench is way into the future, probably at least 3 or 4 years. Even when the Scandinavian is built the Moravian will stay set up.

    In the meantime the Moravian will be a great bench for the shop, and I may like it so well, from your reports, that I may never build the other bench. I will have to wait and see.

    I already have a vise screw for the Scandinavian tail vise, so the plan for now is still to build the Scandy.

    Stew
    Last edited by Stew Denton; 10-23-2018 at 10:44 PM.

  6. #6
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    Ken,

    Do you have a pivot of some sort on the bottom of that wooden screw leg vise or just relying on the screw?

  7. #7
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    I'm in the middle of building one. So far, so good. Actually, the only thing left to finish is the tool tray. Using the bench to finish it up. Mine has taken a while as the material is all reclaimed. My reason for this bench was it's portability. Once we get an RV, I'll be taking it along for the ride. So far, this bench has cost me $15. That's what I paid for a 2 1/4" wooden screw with the nut at a flea market a few years ago.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    Here in Pennsylvania we call this a Pennsylvania Dutch bench. The Moravians came to Pennsylvania in 1841 and lived in several Pennsylvania Dutch counties. They later expanded into North Carolina and Georgia. The slanted legs are usually on the left side (fore end) of the bench which enables one to have a slanted vise, which is a big advantage.

    I have used a Pennsylvania Dutch bench since 1979.
    Warren,

    I would love to see a photo.

    ken

  9. #9
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    Ken, as my 2-year-old likes to say, me want!

  10. #10
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    Plan on building one this fall/ winter. All the lumber is stickered and probably ready to go. (10% last time I checked it) Now I need the time. Using SYP and White Oak. Screw is here from Lake Erie as well.

    Building this type because it is probably the quickest and will give me a place to work when I decide to go Roubo, which will be years down the road.

  11. #11
    After reading all of your posts, Ken, one is definitely in my future.
    The plan is to make a bit smaller one for the shop to keep my sharpening stuff on and perhaps double as an assembly space. It could also be portable for the few occasions I'd like one in the wild.

    And then eventually I would like to replace my current bench (Seller's copy) with a Shaker style built on a cabinet. Something about the aesthetic pleases me.

  12. #12
    On my list as well. Currently have a construction lumber Nicholson bench which does the trick, but I'm not happy with heft of the top or the ability for it to hold my holdfasts. I'm currently looking for a couple slabs that can be used for a top and some poplar or clear pine for the base. Hoping to do a split top with two slabs and Lake Erie leg vise and Veritas inset vise. Something about the splayed legs and slab top interests me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stew Denton View Post
    Ken,

    I plan to build one sometime, but it will be in the future. Right now too many "have to do" and "need to do first" projects are in the way. Hopefully in a couple of years. I want the Moravian bench to be portable for projects on the road, and to use in the shop (one of those "need to do first projects) until I can build a Scandinavian bench. The Scandinavian bench is way into the future, probably at least 3 or 4 years. Even when the Scandinavian is built the Moravian will stay set up.

    In the meantime the Moravian will be a great bench for the shop, and I may like it so well, from your reports, that I may never build the other bench. I will have to wait and see.

    I already have a vise screw for the Scandinavian tail vise, so the plan for now is still to build the Scandy.

    Stew
    Stew,

    Be careful, you may never build the Scandy.

    ken

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Lester View Post
    Ken,

    Do you have a pivot of some sort on the bottom of that wooden screw leg vise or just relying on the screw?

    Jason,

    No pivot as such but there is a Parallel Guide and Pin.

    ken

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Hulbert View Post
    I'm in the middle of building one. So far, so good. Actually, the only thing left to finish is the tool tray. Using the bench to finish it up. Mine has taken a while as the material is all reclaimed. My reason for this bench was it's portability. Once we get an RV, I'll be taking it along for the ride. So far, this bench has cost me $15. That's what I paid for a 2 1/4" wooden screw with the nut at a flea market a few years ago.
    Dan,

    That's why I built the first one, to carry in the RV's bins. It was so stable and I needed a new sharpening bench so the first one moved to the shop as a sharpening bench. I used the second one as an extra bench in the shop and it worked so well I'm building a third shop sized bench and it may replace the main (English/French) bench as the main shop bench once finished.

    ken

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