You may have noticed that we’ve been a little quiet on our blog over the past month or so, and this is because we’ve been spending a lot of time at the barns (no internet). I’ve been building my own English workbench, and as mentioned earlier, we’ve been filming along as we go. We’re nearly set to start teaching you, how to build a workbench.
Our original plans for a quickly made, rough video of the main points was slung out of the window on day one. As soon as I started picking up the tools, I realised I had an awful lot that I wanted to cover and explain. Building custom benches over the years, has brought up a fair number of questions about how to build a workbench. This seemed like a good opportunity to answer that question in depth.
We’d already splashed out on some upgraded filming equipment at the beginning of the year, ready for other plans, so we decided to slow down the build of this workbench, and start out by filming it detail for detail.
Workbench design differs from your average furniture making.
This is a practical, functional item, and we need to ensure that it will stand up to the rigours of working with hand tools. It needs to be tough, but we don’t want to spend an eternity building it.
This build is based on the traditional English (or Nicholson) bench design. It’s a traditional design that is well suited to the boarded timber sizes that we have available today.
The construction is fully jointed, though as tradition, I opted for dovetailed half laps rather than mortice and tenons. This means the joints are fantastically strong, yet incredibly simple and quick to cut.
This is a proper workbench, that will last a lifetime, but doesn’t take more than a couple of weekends to build.
The Workbench Video:
With the workbench build finally nearing completion, we want to shed some light on the video itself.
We set out to create a high quality of filming, and document the build in a detailed step by step fashion.
How To Build A Workbench –
I set out to build this workbench entirely by hand, and in fact decided to strip things right back. To keep this workbench build accessible regardless of your set up, I’ve built pretty much the whole bench with a chisel, a mallet and a hard point saw (more on the hardpoint next week).
Improve Your Hand Tool Skills:
Along with learning how to build a workbench, the video series provides insight to working efficiently by hand. There’s detailed techniques, and tips for understanding and practicing some of the more basic and vital hand tool methods.
Building the bench should prove a good exercise in approaching a build with hand tools, and also help build up skills which can carry through to your more refined furniture making.
Workbench PDF Plans:
At 12′ long, my workbench is bloody massive.
But the video will include full PDF plans, and advice for scaling the design to your preferred size.
Now that my part’s almost complete, it’s over to Helen to chug away on the editing (which is certainly likely to be the longer of the tasks).
While Helen’s busy I’ll have plenty of time on my tod, so I’ll try and find the on switch on the cameras and do some filming at my new bench – I have a few small projects lined up already that I’ve been looking forward to making and filming.
This blog and our videos are going to become a big priority in the not too distant future. I do still feel a prat talking to a camera though!
Update: The English Workbench Series Is Now Available!
Build your own English workbench with our videos.
Get started with a discussion on choosing your ideal bench dimensions.
Then follow every stage, from demonstrations of how to cut the joinery, right through to flattening your workbench top.
We even building the traditional face vice entirely from scratch!