I hope to start making a new workbench soon. I got Chris Shwarz book and was planning on making a Roubo then I watched some of Paul Sellers videos. His bench confuses me. I don't see how you would edge plane a long board. I also don't get the purpose of the apron. Maybe it is just to add rigidity. It doesn't seem to have dog holes and it does not seem optimal for clamping to. Overall, I am not sure it is that much of an upgrade from my current bench (4x4 legs, 2x4 stringers and particle board top) that I built before I knew anything. Any help understanding the theory of this workbench would be appreciated. Thanks.

I have a douglas fir bench (just under 3" thick) with a 7"x 3" apron. What the apron buys me is the stiffness along the entire bench to chop, whack and do whatever without any bounce. Perhaps a 4" thick hard maple bench could do the same, but for me, the idea of having to chop above the leg to avoid bounce would annoy me greatly.

People do mention the clamping issue, but I haven't had any issues, I just use a 24" clamp. One advantage is that you can clamp work to the the apron when working large boards.
I am kind of intrigued by it and am currently working on one. I was going to build a Nicholson style bench similar to Bob Roziaieski's ( Logan's Cabinet Shoppe ) and I still might add one later. But the more I looked at Paul's the more I liked this "no frills no nonsense" bench. I all ready had the Record 52E sitting in my shop which I have had for years so might as well put it to use. An other plus factor was the cost of a few 2 X 4's if it gets messed up or I make a mistake I haven't lost much money.

I have Paul's book, follow his Blog and watched his video's on the bench so far, he hasn't completed showing all the build yet. I plan on putting in a few holes on the back side for my holdfasts. Paul has built one with an end vise as well and he is big on using aluminum clamps.

I can't give you anymore input until I am able to finish it but I think it will do everything I want out of a bench and like I said I am not going to cry over a splatter or a ding or two because it is relatively inexpensive to build plus it has so far been a fun build using hand tools only, yep even using the #4 only plane . I have to get back out I am flattening the top and just came in for a quick bite.

Good Luck on your decision !

I think Paul originally designed that bench to be knock-down portable for taking with him to shows etc..

I was intrigued by it for a while, but then decided to go in a different direction.
John: Struggling along with a "piece of junk" table saw
Why not ask Paul about the theory behind his design?
British workbenches tend to have the wide front apron. I think Paul's workbench could benefit, visually, from clipping the corners off the aprons without any lose of strength.

The bench is definitely for processing furniture parts and only small assemblies. A larger assembly table would need to be provided for large carcase glue-ups. An iron holdfast would be a nice addition to the bench, otherwise workpieces can be clamped at the overhanging ends of the bench.

Edge jointing long workpieces that are not particularly wide is more easily done with the workpiece fully supported by the bench (not in the vice) and by trapping the end in a birdsmouth fixture. Smaller workpieces can of course be edge jointed in the vice. You can certainly do long pieces in the vice if you wish - just drill holes in the front apron for a one inch piece of dowel to rest the end not held in the vice.
Charlie's Saw Service

I find Paul Sellers blog and work ethic very stimulating, but almost at the opposite end of the spectrum from more familiar (to us) craftsmen such as Chris Schwarz where tools and materials are concerned. Paul is much more of a minimalist in regards to tools and esthetics of various components of the shop such as benches, shooting boards, etc. I think he is thinking along the lines of "how can I make the craft more affordable to my students?" Therefore, he opts for construction lumber and $20. vintage planes instead of hardwoods and LV quality planes; at least for the mass of his students. I have no idea how much a week at his school would cost, but that amount of time is generally running well over $1000 plus food, lodging and travel cost, and shop materials at a few popular schools. That easily add up to a $2000 pine tool chest when all is said and done at the end of your week.

he opts for construction lumber and $20. vintage planes instead of hardwoods and LV quality planes ...

Mike, PS is a HUGE fan of Veritas/LV tools. These appear to be the planes and saws he prefers using in his personal work. Just search his blog and you will discover this (search on Veritas). He has visited LV to discuss design, raves about the shoulder plane, BU planes, saws and vises. All quite different from his postings on Stanley and other "poor man" tools.

For example: http://paulsellers.com/2013/04/three-gen...der-plane/

Regards from Perth

Articles on furniture building, shop made tools and tool reviews at www.inthewoodshop.com
After picking through studs and bringing home at least 40 to redo my basement bedroom (mother-in-laws) quarters, I have to agree with C. Schwarz regarding quality and usefulness of current studs at our major box lumber stores. I bought a bundle of shims (two sizes), a bundle of lath grade stakes, and a bundle of cardboard gypsum shims to straighten, co-planar align, and flatten the walls I built. My straight edge was a 15-pound L-beam of some exotic aluminum number-type that was over eight feet in length.

I also salvaged every old (25-years) stud removed from the earlier basement build. Some of the old wood was collected from foundation construction in 1985. I actually used the old wood for all the plates. My construction is flatter and straighter than the original work. They currently sell that quality wood for finish, stain-grade architectural and trim work.

Construction lumber of 2x dimension really is a sad excuse for what it is expected to do. I used 5 pounds of deck screws, and a tapping drill courtesy of Boeing surplus, to attach all the wood. A twenty ounce framing hammer bent half of the 8d nails I was able to send through tangential grain. Forget 12d. Now, I know why rotary hammer drills are so popular.

If Paul Sellers can build a work bench from construction lumber, I applaud him.

That said, I think Chris Schwarz and his buddies simply market tools, hardware, and fabricate the glitz for same.
I've used workbenches similar to his design, and they work okay. I would definitely add a couple holdfasts. I have a wide apron on my bench, and I've bored holes along the front in line with the vise rods, and that lets me support a long workpiece on edge. Aprons on British workbenches typically had dog holes.

If I'm remembering the design correctly, I think it could be modified a bit to better handle large workpieces.
Steve S.
Tradition cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour.
- T. S. Eliot

Tutorials and Build-Alongs at The Literary Workshop
What do you think of Paul Sellers workbench?

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.