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Thread: Anarchist workbench?

  1. #46
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    I love tools, work benches being one of them. My hobby is woodworking so i like the attributes of that type bench. A Roubo seems a bit like what you may find in the truck garage with a big machinist vise on one end. I have three benches right now. One kind of English style, a Noden adjust a bench, and a sort of Moravian that i finished last year. If youíre a work bench in my space you better be ready. On the English one in the garage sits a bench grinder, not permanent mind you but i needed to grind some metal lathe tools. On the Noden resides a mini lathe and a surface plate, I was building vise. On the Moravian is the remainders of a refrigerator defrost fan replacement. Last months were a decoy carving on one, a cane carving on another and a string trimmer carburetor on the garage one. If they arenít up to the task they canít live here. 😀
    Jim

  2. #47
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    They are called WORK benches...because that is what they are there for.

    Have no idea what "Style" mine is,,don't really care. As long as it does the work I need to do...that is all I ask of it. Will never win a Beauty Contest for best looking bench....not what it's job is, anyway...
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

  3. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by mike stenson View Post
    Eh, it's patently obvious that actually none of the books have actually been read. Which really makes comments about them, well, fundamentally hilarious. To be honest.
    I have read his first workbench book about 12 years ago, didn't like it then, nothing has changed.
    I have nothing personally against Mr. Schwarz, we just have a much different approach to woodworking and that's okay.
    I'm not obligated to agree with him or like Roubo benches.

  4. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Dover View Post
    Amen to this.

    First and foremost a workbench must be rigid. Weight is a byproduct of construction methods and materials available at that time. It would be more expensive to build a light torsion box in 18th century than just taking a slab that's rigid enough. They didn't have sheet goods, cheap fasteners and glues back then.

    If we look at the late 19th century textbooks we can see that workbenches evolved towards being more light, easier to construct, having more functions, adjustability and so on. I personally see very little practical reason replicating 18th century, "French", "Roman" or any other ethnical workbench, unless you work at Williamsburg or something. Woodworking in general went a long way since 18h century, there's a whole bunch of designs that are more practical, cheaper, more accessible and overall better than this "Roubo" thing. No to mention how much more serviceable benches from modern materials are. Usually people asking how to build a "Roubo" bench show up a few months later asking questions on how to flatten it and how to keep it flat for more than a few weeks.

    Idk, it seems there's a fair share of woodworkers that just like agonizing over a flawless top, dog holes spacing and angles, searching the most expensive hardware. By the looks of those benches it seems that the only work done is building the bench itself and photoshoots, often on the verge of woodworking p0rn. Mine is what it is: a workshop implement. It has dents, chisel marks, screw holes and screws, dye stains, words and numbers scribbled and so on. I just don't get this whole obsession. Like, how many of you looked at a Chippendale piece and told to himself "oh, I wonder, what his workbench was like?"
    The other thing to remember is that the climate of France is much more even compared to say, the Midwest of the United States. Designs that self destruct here often are just fine in England, Germany, France, the Mediterranean, etc. As far as using the bench, if you look at Frank Klausz's bench in his bench building articles, it is a flawless work of art; if you look at the bench he uses in his videos, it is beat to h#ll.

    I do think some people do take the historical accuracy thing farther than it needs to be. The historical instrument building community tends to go down that route. If one guy is using hide glue, then the next one has to be using real boar bristle, then you have to use "shop inches" rather than a standard ruler, then someone says they never use sandpaper because it isn't historical and it affects the tone (it is and it doesn't), then the next one goes a step further and so forth. Does it really need to devolve to the point where the only way you can make an "historically informed" copy of a spinet or violin is to work completely by hand in an unheated, dirt floored workshop lit by a single tallow candle using tools you forged from iron from the local bog and wood you cut and dried and milled yourself (never mind that guild regulations would have prohibited this) all the while suffering from scoliosis, rickets, and malaria, just so you can be in their "mindset"?


    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    I did read the Anarchist Workbench to the point where he recounted building a bench from a solid slab that twisted an inch as it continued to dry. That's a little too anarchistic for me.

    Then I found a post of a really nice Scandinavian bench that the builder said took him 400 hours. Wow!

    I can admire a 400 hour bench, but I would rather spend several hundred of those hours using a less costly one. I don't know if that is anarchy or penury.
    I did a bench mostly from Tage Frid's FWW #4 plans. If I had much more than 20-30 hours into it, I'd be shocked. It definitely has chisel marks, gouges, and a couple router dings in it. The only reason the finish isn't beat up is I never got around to putting a finish on it

  5. #50
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    I do think some people do take the historical accuracy thing farther than it needs to be.
    A surface supported above the ground by anywhere from three to eight legs is historically accurate enough for me.

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

  6. #51
    When I looked at woodworking in 1970, it was obvious that 18th century craftsmen were head and shoulders above 20th century craftsman. That is why I started studying historic woodworking techniques. That study has paid great dividends.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    When I looked at woodworking in 1970, it was obvious that 18th century craftsmen were head and shoulders above 20th century craftsman. That is why I started studying historic woodworking techniques. That study has paid great dividends.
    Warren, You are right about this. In todays world a craftsman doesnít have much worth in the commercial world. Most work is done by machine and computer programs. In todays world if a piece doesnít pass QC inspection itís just trashed. They wonít sell it as seconds because it would tarnish the reputation of the company. Itís cheaper just to make another than have someone repair it. There is a demand for a true craftsman with real knowledge of working wood to provide quality to a discerning customer being it new or repair. Those customers are becoming fewer and fewer as time goes on.
    Jim

  8. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by James Pallas View Post
    Warren, You are right about this. In todays world a craftsman doesnít have much worth in the commercial world. Most work is done by machine and computer programs. In todays world if a piece doesnít pass QC inspection itís just trashed. They wonít sell it as seconds because it would tarnish the reputation of the company. Itís cheaper just to make another than have someone repair it. There is a demand for a true craftsman with real knowledge of working wood to provide quality to a discerning customer being it new or repair. Those customers are becoming fewer and fewer as time goes on.
    Jim
    I don't know about that. The rich, like the poor, are always with us, and there will always be a market for the elite craftsman. That is certainly true in the world of architectural woodworking. I don't believe it is any more limited than it was in the 18th century. Ruhlmann's shop put out work at least as sophisticated as anything built previously, and there are many other examples today.

    I would say that the general run of furniture factory operatives and carpenters are less skilled than back in the day largely due to the specialization that allows greater overall productivity, and there is far more disposable furniture made, but there is a great deal of excellent work being produced at the highest level. That is especially true of amateur work. The mid 20th century may have been the nadir for overall level of workmanship in woodworking, and the 18th century certainly left us with many admirable examples to emulate, but Edward Barnesley's work from that later era is nothing to sneeze at.

  9. #54
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    Over the years, I've happily ignored everything that comes after the phrase "The Anarchist's..."

    I'd suggest buying enough wood to build a Roubo workbench, then use half of it to make a really nice dog house. What you have left will make a perfectly fine workbench for furniture. Now, if you happen to be awarded a commission to replace all of the entry doors at the Palace of Versailles, then by all means build a fleet of Roubos.

  10. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Seemann View Post

    I do think some people do take the historical accuracy thing farther than it needs to be. The historical instrument building community tends to go down that route. If one guy is using hide glue, then the next one has to be using real boar bristle, then you have to use "shop inches" rather than a standard ruler, then someone says they never use sandpaper because it isn't historical and it affects the tone (it is and it doesn't), then the next one goes a step further and so forth. Does it really need to devolve to the point where the only way you can make an "historically informed" copy of a spinet or violin is to work completely by hand in an unheated, dirt floored workshop lit by a single tallow candle using tools you forged from iron from the local bog and wood you cut and dried and milled yourself (never mind that guild regulations would have prohibited this) all the while suffering from scoliosis, rickets, and malaria, just so you can be in their "mindset"?
    They are only called the good old days due to bad memories

  11. #56
    I find it rather comical the passion with which some people absolutely despise Roubo workbenches (and also Schwarz Ė which is a little weird to despise someone who, whether you disagree with some/most/all of what he says, the guy is just sharing his opinion and has done an awful lot to get people interested in handtool woodworking). The Roubo is a very good bench design, regardless of what anyone says. So is the English joinerís bench. So is a Scandinavian bench. So is a shaker bench. These are all very very very very good time-tested designs. Anyone who disagrees is ignoring the fact that a whole ton of dead people made their livings with these benches and an awful lot of them did much better work than the vast majority of us. And they did it not as a hobby, but under the gun with a customer and tight turnaround times having to work as fast as humanly possible while still maintaining quality.

    I would also say that the Roubo is definitely NOT the bench flavor of the week right now. It has easily been eclipsed by the Moravian. Whenever someone posts about what kind of bench they should build there are always recommendations for the Moravian Ė and at least three times as many as the Roubo. If I had a dime for every time someone recommended a Moravian I would be able to buy all the wood to build a Moravian.

  12. #57
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    Almost starting to sound like one of "those" sharpening threads, doesn't it...?
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris carter View Post
    I would also say that the Roubo is definitely NOT the bench flavor of the week right now. It has easily been eclipsed by the Moravian. Whenever someone posts about what kind of bench they should build there are always recommendations for the Moravian – and at least three times as many as the Roubo. If I had a dime for every time someone recommended a Moravian I would be able to buy all the wood to build a Moravian.
    I'm thinking the Moravian's popularity is largely due to the music that always plays during assembly.
    (Chris did a light review of it in his blog last year)

    I'd think the english workbench would be the super popular format for people putting together a bench.

    My bench is a roubo made from reclaimed doug fir. Having a flat, heavy, and fairly stiff surface is nice for handtools. The vises are jorgensen quick-release style, which are okay, but I can see why people go with other options, particularly for the front vise. I like having the dog holes, but these are primarily used with planing stops, rather than holdfasts or pinching the work between end vise and a bench dog.

    Matt

  14. #59
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    Hmmm, watched a video from Rex Krueger last night.....where he reviewed all types of work benches....Might be fun to watch?
    A Planer? I'm the Planer, and this is what I use

  15. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Weber View Post
    I have read his first workbench book about 12 years ago, didn't like it then, nothing has changed.
    I have nothing personally against Mr. Schwarz, we just have a much different approach to woodworking and that's okay.
    I'm not obligated to agree with him or like Roubo benches.
    It is, but I will from here on simply take your opinion as uneducated in this context.
    ~mike

    life in a mud hut

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