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Thread: Anarchist workbench?

  1. #91
    James - I think the opposite is true. craftsman are expensive and machines are cheaper all the time. The problem isn't the makers as much as it is the buyers. Most buyers want cheap and to buy often, which is the opposite of artisan-based market. Climate change is affecting our societal tastes and starting a revival of the artisan market.

  2. #92
    This is just tiring, so I will attempt to make this the last post on this topic.
    My original comments were sarcastic in response to the OP's question.

    Next I was asked if I ever read any of his books, which I had but apparently not the one most were referencing. I mentioned that I didn't care for the book, though no one asked why. I did not like the book I read, mainly because it offered me nothing new that I hadn't already considered at the time.
    I used an example of a popular woodworker as someone who was auctioning off their Roubo style bench for something different, again I was accused of misunderstanding what I saw or heard.

    I then again tried to point out my position/opinion
    "As I was attempting to point out, these benches are simply not for everyone. My example of the Wood Whispers is just that, an example of someone who built a large Roubo and later realized it was not a good fit for what he does. I can only guess there are others who have come to the same realization.
    Mr. Schwarz, regardless of your opinion, has been chasing his perfect bench for 20+ years and may not have found it yet. Most woodworkers don't have the luxury of building a new bench every couple of years or when he updates his design. Maybe that's why we don't see many of the new ones.
    So, if at the end of the day, if he would agree with my design principles, I'll go my own way."

    We can not all do as Mr Schwarz does in regard to benches or toolchests he introduces every so often, that is after all his job. We all don't have that luxury, I actually envy him in this regard.

    If we are in agreement on the "basics" of bench design, why would I need to read about it in a book? I will go my own way. yeah, that's controversial.

    The comment that got everyone so upset
    "Schwarz has been banging on about his workbench rules for probably 15 years or so and never once has he asked anyone that i can tell, "what type of woodworking do you do ?". You know, so maybe you could build one for your own needs, crazy right."

    Since I didn't care for the book I read (apparently the incorrect one), I did not commit every word to memory, my shortcoming I guess.

    This ties in directly with the above comments about him introducing a different bench or toolchest every so often. It's his job, of course he has introduced bench after bench over the years. Again, a touch of sarcasm.
    I was also quickly corrected about my "what type of woodworking do you do ?" comment, to which I acknowledged my error and said thank you.

    Then I got a lecture on my comment on saying I think the anarchist thing is silly.
    Once again my opinion, Being a 21st century woodworker who primarily uses hand tool stored in a centuries old designed toolbox, is not what I would call an anarchist, obviously others disagree.

    While I could go on point by point, I see no reason. I have already explained myself well beyond what is reasonable. As you can see, everything I wrote has been met with some sort of disapproval for one reason or another. When I was factually wrong, I owned up to it immediately, the rest is simply a difference of opinion and I'll leave it at that.

  3. #93
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    Sarcasm has its place but it is a blunt instrument. Why neglect dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire? If all else fails, one can fall back on straight up mockery.
    Kevin,

    I had to look up two words in a 33 word post. Excellent!

    TW

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson View Post
    Kevin,

    I had to look up two words in a 33 word post. Excellent!

    TW
    I thank my 10th grade English teacher (thank you Miss Rawlins) for causing me to look them up over half a century ago.

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

  5. #95
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    Wow. This thread reminds me of the "this style vs that style" arguments on Martial Arts forums.

    The best advise to give in those arguments is to "just train" and let experience teach you what works in what context, and why. Stay open minded, explore, learn, practice, and you'll all be far better off for it rather than for arguing about things.

    The same advise can be given to woodworkers too, I think: just get on with making stuff. Try out a bunch of things. Some things will work for you better than for someone else, perhaps because they suit you and your needs better, perhaps because you simply haven't put in the time to learn and explore other methodologies. There's nothing wrong with sticking to what works for you and advocating it, but neither is there anything wrong with people who explore many different methods on an endless search for something that they may or may not ever find. You can learn from pretty much everyone and every methodology, even if you don't see fit to emulate them.

    There's also nothing wrong with pursuing "the best", but there's also nothing wrong with sticking to "good enough and works for me."

    There are diminishing returns with everything, but different people have different standards and demands, so good enough for one person may not be good enough for another. This is also totally fine.
    Last edited by Luke Dupont; 12-01-2021 at 9:12 PM.

  6. #96
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    There's also nothing wrong with pursuing "the best", but there's also nothing wrong with sticking to "good enough and works for me."
    Having a bench that is "good enough and works for me" has done quite a lot to keep me from rushing through a bench build. It has also given me opportunities to see what works for me and changes to accommodate.

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

  7. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    I thank my 10th grade English teacher (thank you Miss Rawlins) for causing me to look them up over half a century ago.

    jtk
    Congratulations to Miss Rawlings for effective teaching and to your neurons for the long lasting memory. I may have been offered the same knowledge in Mrs. McMullins’ English class in 10th grade but I may have been thinking instead of Janicewhomighthavebeenwearingaminiskirtthatday in the adjacent classroom for 23 seconds out of every 30.

  8. #98
    Overwhelmed with the choices of bench designs, I did the only reasonable thing: I punted, and simply copied the Lie Nielsen bench: no regrets.
    [IMG][/IMG]

  9. #99
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    I currently have a Scandinavian style bench with a face vise. I made it about 15 years ago. I'll be making a new one this next year. It'll be a whole lot simpler, and longer. I've found that the vise racks, and is a pain, I don't use the end vise, I made it a couple feet too short, I don't like storage in the base (easy enough to get rid of though), and the legs would be a lot better off being coplanar with the edge. I also found that I end up using holdfasts and stops more than anything else. So, I'll have a flat top with lots of round holes for holdfasts, a planing stop, and one leg vise. Why? Because I have found that this is what I tend to actually use anyway. It also means I won't bother with making square dog holes again, so that simplifies making the top a lot.

    The style, whether Roubo, Moravaian, Shaker, or English really doesn't matter too much to me. Although, since I won't move the thing again, so having a break-down bench really isn't interesting for me. Since I am a mostly 'beer powered' woodworker, and so I dimension most of my stock and mortise by hand, I need the top to be solid and stay there. Since I tend to clamp things to the bench, I doubt I'd go with the English (I wasn't a fan of the big apron on the last one I used) and since I don't like storage in the bench, no Shaker for me either. It's not my first bench. It won't be my last bench, that I'm sure of. At least, I hope I continue building things long enough to become annoyed with working on the next bench.

    The existing bench will continue to live on, and serve, in my shop.. as an auxiliary bench. Something wonderful about de-emphasizing my power tools has been opening up floor space for more useful working surfaces. Maybe in a year or two I'll just be left with a planar, mini-lathe and a bandsaw, which sounds about right to me. Some of this reminds me of wheel sizes in mountain biking
    ~mike

    scope creep

  10. #100
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    Some truths in no particular order:


    1. People pick and choose the Roubo plates that fit their philosophy and worldview, and attempt to rationalize away the other plates that don't; rather than focus on the so-called "German" bench (harder to build) the focus was on the joinery benches which Schwarz saw could fairly easily be made from glued up pine. Substitute 2x6s for 2x4s and you pretty much can't help but come up with a "Roubo." And the original article by Bob Tarule in Fine Woodworking was frankly better, thought it didn't really offer a strategy using construction pine. It was essentially a close reproduction, except perhaps for length. Most people aren't building 14' tall palace doors for the King of France. Some people have managed to ban German and Scandinavian woodworking from the Western canon. Kind of stupid to me. That said, Frid and Klausz covered Scandinavian style benches about as well as they could be covered, leaving Schwarz little room for the schtick and spin he tends to put on things.
    2. Schwarz knows that people have a fixation on shop furniture and fixtures. They're a damn sight easier to make than a reproduction Georgian fully veneered barred glass door secretary, or something out of a Chippendale, Sheraton, or Hepplewhite design book; there's always a 'better' bench, toolchest, shooting board, etc. waiting to be made. Rinse and repeat. That'll be $34.99 thank-you-very-much. This all must be really amusing to the people at Taunton Press, who produced better books and articles on workbenchs and tool chests years and years ago. Perhaps imitation is in fact the sincerest form of flattery.
    3. After realizing the truth behind #2, the rest is easy: just publish books and articles about old designs, from old books, and build a little story and narrative around them. The only thing (possibly) original is the little story. The rest could be had with a $100 investment in old books from Amazon, most of which have copyrights that expired long ago.
    4. If you could transport yourself back in time, and walk out into the French countryside and cut down an old oak [or whatever], and take the center slab out of it for a workbench top then why the heck wouldn't you? Can't do the forestry work yourself? Just order it from your supplier. Cost of doing business, and after all it was big business.
    Last edited by Charles Guest; 12-03-2021 at 8:34 AM.

  11. #101
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Guest View Post
    Some truths in no particular order:


    1. People pick and choose the Roubo plates that fit their philosophy and worldview, and attempt to rationalize away the other plates that don't; rather than focus on the so-called "German" bench (harder to build) the focus was on the joinery benches which Schwarz saw could fairly easily be made from glued up pine. Substitute 2x6s for 2x4s and you pretty much can't help but come up with a "Roubo." And the original article by Bob Tarule in Fine Woodworking was frankly better, thought it didn't really offer a strategy using construction pine. It was essentially a close reproduction, except perhaps for length. Most people aren't building 14' tall palace doors for the King of France. Some people have managed to ban German and Scandinavian woodworking from the Western canon. Kind of stupid to me. That said, Frid and Klausz covered Scandinavian style benches about as well as they could be covered, leaving Schwarz little room for the schtick and spin he tends to put on things.
    If had you wanted to show off your Roubo knowledge you did a poor job. Of twenty five benches illustrated, only one has a tail vise.

  12. #102
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    All opinions too.
    ~mike

    scope creep

  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles guest
    ...that people have a fixation on shop furniture and fixtures. They're a damn sight easier to make than a reproduction Georgian fully veneered barred glass door secretary, or something out of a Chippendale, Sheraton, or Hepplewhite design book; there's always a 'better' bench, toolchest, shooting board, etc. waiting to be made.
    I wish I could say you're wrong, but I'd be lying


    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    The style, whether Roubo, Moravaian, Shaker, or English really doesn't matter too much to me. Although, since I won't move the thing again, so having a break-down bench really isn't interesting for me. Since I am a mostly 'beer powered' woodworker, and so I dimension most of my stock and mortise by hand, I need the top to be solid and stay there. Since I tend to clamp things to the bench, I doubt I'd go with the English (I wasn't a fan of the big apron on the last one I used) and since I don't like storage in the bench, no Shaker for me either. It's not my first bench. It won't be my last bench, that I'm sure of. At least, I hope I continue building things long enough to become annoyed with working on the next bench.
    The above touches on a few points that resonate with me. My first few benches were basic general purpose / 'utility' designs - more just flat surfaces to work / pound on, with little or no provision for workholding. My first 'woodworking' bench was a modified version of the knockdown Nicholson. Lots of firsts on that one... and lots of mistakes. The coup de grace was workholding... turned out I wanted to hold stuff 'down' a lot more than I wanted to hold it on edge, so the apron got in the way more often than not. So those utility benches are still around the shop, whereas the Nicholson got deconstructed and the parts re-used for other stuff. Part of me wonders if I'd be more inclined towards making it work if the construction process hadn't gone as sideways as it did.

    The Moravian style has a bit of appeal (it's hard to read Ken Hatch's posts without getting inspired/infected just a little by his enthusiasm for the design!) but something about the leg joinery bothers me. Three different joints to do the same dang thing, for no apparent purpose other than practice or to show off. Not saying it doesn't work, or that I'd deviate from the traditional/original design if I built one, but it does bug me a bit. Whether it bugs me enough to *not* build one... can't say yet.

    Going forward... the next project or two will probably be done at one of those utility benches, or (horrors!) using the trusty B&D WorkMate while I work on accumulating some wood for the next bench. There's a strong chance that it'll be some sort of 'Roubo' style bench, whether 'Anarchist' variant or otherwise. Then some more projects. Then maybe another bench...

  14. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    If had you wanted to show off your Roubo knowledge you did a poor job. Of twenty five benches illustrated, only one has a tail vise.

    Yep, the only one worth having...

  15. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Guest View Post
    Yep, the only one worth having...
    If I didn’t have a tail vise, where would I clamp my pencil sharpener.

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