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Roman Workbench Build-Along

  Inspired by Chris Schwarz’s article in Issue Two “Decoding the Roman Workbench”, Mike and I have decided to build our own Roman (i.e. staked) benches. I’ve been doubly curious about this form because Jonathan Fisher’s bench of this type survives in his house (now a museum) and I’ve really wanted to get some time working at one before finishing off my book on him this winter. The week of February 20th, Mike and I will each be building a bench. I will be basing mine largely on Fisher’s bench, which is a 12.5” wide by 7’ long rough-sawn board with four riven and hatcheted legs. His is a little less than 2” thick but the plank I have set...

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Chris Schwarz on Using the Low Roman Workbench: Issue Two Table of Contents

In my mind, one of the most interesting bits of woodworking research to crop up in the last few years has been Chris Schwarz’s journey into “Roman” workbenches. If you’ve been following along at his blog, you’ll remember he built two different variations. One of which is a based on a 16th century plate and is essentially the precursor to the modern workbench. It’s funky looking but pretty familiar in function to modern woodworkers. It’s the other bench that has grabbed my full attention because it is so different to the way we work today. This second workbench he built is based on illustration of ancient Roman workworkers. Besides the fact that it has 8 “staked” legs, it is so...

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The Bench Bites Back

It seems that one of the hurdles folks have to installing a toothed planing stop in their workbench is fear of the teeth marring the plane iron. They worry that as the plane works the stock thinner and thinner all the sudden out of the blue, “BAM!”, your edge is toast. I’ve been using a toothed planing stop regularly for a few years now and never once had an incident like that. I’ve found that woodworking demands so much attention anyway that working the height of the stop into your consciousness is not a big deal. As long as you’re awake and paying attention, you will have no issues. This morning, I was barely awake and hardly able to pay...

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