Wood movement question


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I don't see why you'd need to worry about movement across the width of the bench with solid panels as long as everything is a solid panel.  Maybe you have some frames or drawer slides where there woul

I've worked on a few softwood-topped workbenches and it can be sort of liberating.  Just nail whatever stops you need, where you need them, when you need them, into the top.  I also worked in a millwo

Yes.

==> Klausz has an assembly table behind his workbench

Minor clarification... The assembly tables are nearest the shop's communal benches...

 

Frank's Cabinet Shop occupies about 13Ksf give-or-take... Everything is nicely spread-out -- it's the first thing you notice about the shop -- lot's of natural light and plenty of open space around each work station and stationary tool... It's got a separate sanding space (two wide-belts + a stroke sander) and two separate finishing spaces. Frank retired this year and sold the business to his longest-associated apprentices...

 

Frank's bench is Padauk & Hard Maple, the communal shop benches are in Hard Maple...

 

Behind Frank's bench is a row of base cabinets, a wall-mount tool chest, about eight feet of shelves, a collection of vintage tools and a stuffed trophy fish (Barracuda, I think)...

 

The assembly tables are behind the shop's communal benches...

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==>  If I recall correctly, his assembly table was on wheels.

Yea, the shop's got a couple of small mobile assembly-type tables. The space in-front of Frank's bench is wide open... I could certainly see rolling a small assembly table over as needed.

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There is a disconnect in your post. You mention it and then source pictures of contrary furniture. The benches featured in this discussion were not in any era used in the construction of massive pieces until this modern century. Even now timber sized projects are not worked on benches that they dwarf. You have to make a distinction between castle sized timbers that were plainly site built and the furniture that filled the homes of the rest of the culture. I can go to museum in any culture and find outliers but to the midden heap go the most. German homes are not known for huge casework. German castles and pubs are. Norse homes are not known for huge casework. I stand by my assessment. Ceiling height in homes is determined by historical norms. Built ins required only a sawyers bench. The crown and apron a stop and holdfast. I am not arguing your theory about use of a shoulder vise. It may be wonderful and I will not try to take that away from you. I do not care. Literally. With my family history I have not invested in a bench yet but I carry with me a dozen ways German craftsman specifically secure boards when away from the benches that are at the heart of the discussion. Benches known by all the old timers as component benches. Component furniture is not timber furniture. Again I want to convey a deep respect for you and your craftsmanship and am only conveying a sincerely deep interest in norms vs outliers.

You've somehow come under the impression that I am suggesting that 'timber-sized' projects ( whatever you mean by that, presumably joinery projects - doors, staircases, shop fitments built-ins etc.) are or were routinely made on 6' long workbenches. 

 

No, I don't think a Klausz-scale workbench would be appropriate to reproduce Wittenburg Cathedral's doors.

 

That said, Landis gives us a picture on page 51 of Klausz edge planing a 16"+ wide (cherry?) board that's probably about two feet longer than his bench with the end supported by a freestanding bench slave.

 

On page 50 we see Klausz dropping in a drawer bottom atop his 27" high "set up" table which at that time was positioned parallel to his bench with copious walking/working room in between.

 

Page 9 of the Landis book on workbenches features a photo of a beautiful Swiss bench whose caption underneath reads:

 

"This carved beech joiner's bench was built ca. 1700 in Ilanz, Grisons, Switzerland.  The top measures 27 1/2" wide by 106 1/4" long and the bench is 29 1/2" high.  In their construction, the tail vise and the shoulder vise are identical to vises used on modern 20th-century benches. End quote.

 

This bench is a few inches shy of being 9 feet long.  The vises are indeed shoulder and tail vises as we understand them today.  It's a Klausz/Frid bench but larger and heavily carved.  While I don't necessarily quibble with Landis calling this a joiner's bench I'm a little doubtful that a total, complete, and bright line existed between using such a bench for joinery projects vs. a freestanding piece of furniture.  Clearly, though, this style bench can be, and was, scaled up or down to suit the task at hand.  I could never be convinced that it dawned on only the Swiss to do so.  Big case furniture was built in Sweden and Germany in the relevant time frame.  That poor people in the lower economic echelons living in very small houses didn't own this kind of furniture is pretty much a given.  This hardly makes it an 'outlier.'  Anybody owning such a bench was almost by definition producing things with it that only the relatively wealthy could afford, whether a freestanding piece of furniture or trimwork for a castle.  The guy who built and carved the bench referred to above most likely did not count the local gravedigger as a regular client.  This inequality was rectified with the advent of Ikea.

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I wish there was more resources on the Nicholson - I've got you Graham, Bob R. from Logan's cabinet shoppe, and the chapter out of the Schwarz book.  It would probably be the easiest for me to build and the most likely for me to build by myself.

 

If you do want to take a look at more info on this style of bench most books on Joinery have a small section on them (the links are to free copies from reputable sites)]

 

George Ellis  Nicholson Cassells' there are loads more out there too.

 

Since I did my french style bench in sketchup I would make some changes to make that build easier too. The main thing would be not morticing right into the bench top, although I can't run my mouth on a french bench as I have never built one.

 

The scandinavian style is the most complex to build, that's the northern european/german way. There is something in their culture that works in that way.

 

One thing is for sure, I would not over think it too much, just pick one and go for it, ply top and a quick realease will do a lot. The Japanese seem to do just fine sat on the floor with a planing beam when needed!

 

Weird tangent here but I wonder what the tradtion is in Russia? There is some rich heritage there but my cyrillic is not what it was :-). The only bit's I have seen are here and google does not draw much.

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Thanks for the links Graham.  Reread the section in Schwarz last night about Nicholson style bench building.  Your a bad Brit influence on me.

 

As to Russia, never seen anything on that either.  I would think there was at least the possibility of Roman and Scandanavian.  Not sure what the reality is of it.

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The more I work with my current setup (without a bench), the more I'm thinking about going without a wagon vise or dogs.  A metal bench stop/hook (which I am approximating with various wood scraps and clamps) and using my holdfasts is working well.  With my Moxon and a good leg vise I think I can do most of what I want to do.

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The more I work with my current setup (without a bench), the more I'm thinking about going without a wagon vise or dogs.  A metal bench stop/hook (which I am approximating with various wood scraps and clamps) and using my holdfasts is working well.  With my Moxon and a good leg vise I think I can do most of what I want to do.

 

I've worked on a few softwood-topped workbenches and it can be sort of liberating.  Just nail whatever stops you need, where you need them, when you need them, into the top.  I also worked in a millwork operation that had huge benches from the 1920s - really just large worktables, the leg vises were on much smaller back benches underneath windows.  The big worktables had been nailed into with abandon for 80 years and had room for plenty more.  SYP seems to sort of heal itself. 

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I've worked on a few softwood-topped workbenches and it can be sort of liberating.  Just nail whatever stops you need, where you need them, when you need them, into the top. 

 

I'll miss this "feature" of my current bench. :)

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I'll miss this "feature" of my current bench. :)

You won't regret, though, having some sort of worktable you don't mind putting a few nails into.  I certainly never have.  Maybe one you can even draw on with a sharpie every now and then too, swing a radius by nailing a thin batten into the workbench, etc.

 

You should have seen Art Carpenter's workbench top. 

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I wholly concur. The ability to draw on is a huge deal to me on at least one table . I custom design gable peak attic vents and rely on measuring all three triangle legs for a perfect fit. The fin number and scale is distinct for each roof pitch and vent height. With any custom scaling it can be helpful to have a full scale mockup without wasting paper or hardboard.

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I wholly concur. The ability to draw on is a huge deal to me on at least one table . I custom design gable peak attic vents and rely on measuring all three triangle legs for a perfect fit. The fin number and scale is distinct for each roof pitch and vent height. With any custom scaling it can be helpful to have a full scale mockup without wasting paper or hardboard.

It's amazing how the vast majority of the real work gets done on tables like we're talking about -- designing, making notes, figuring geometry, holding funky shaped parts, gluing up, finishing -- whole lotta stuff.

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