21 May Thinking of Building a Workbench? Check Out Some Ideas from Lake Erie Toolworks
One mark of a serious woodworker is a shop-built workbench, but designing just the right one can take a little work. Do you mostly make cabinets or furniture? Is a bench going to be used primarily for assembling plywood parts, or perhaps for working solid wood with hand tools?
WoodEzine has featured vises from Lake Erie before, so we were aware that they have a section on the website called the Workbench Idea Forum. This is a customer inspired page that provides access to more than a hundred different designs by customers who have used the company’s vises. Ideas have been coming in since late 2010, so there’s now a well of information covering everything from the simplest to the most complex of benches. There are uncomplicated English versions, knock-down units, heavy-duty monsters, benches with end and/or side vises, exquisite hardwood heirlooms, and even pine ones made with hand tools. The latest addition was sent in by Minnesota woodworker Geoff Bertin who completed his split top Roubo workbench last month. Each of the featured benches includes several photos, many of them addressing specific details, and often copious notes from the designer/builder. There’s also a very handy link that sorts all of the workbenches by style.
By the way, the split-top Roubo workbench is an updated version of one featured in Andre Roubo’s L’Art du Menuisier in 1774. He was a Parisian master and his original plan is shown at the bottom of the image, along with a vise detail that he drew.
One of the factors that sets Lake Erie apart is its catalog of wooden vise hardware, complete with large threaded wooden screws.