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Workbenches: From Design And Theory To Construction And Use (Popular Woodworking) [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Schwarz
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Two Centuries of Workbench Wisdom in One Book!

With this book, your very first workbench will do everything you need it to do—possibly for the rest of your woodworking career!

Encompassing years of historical research and real-world trials, Christopher Schwarz boils down centuries of the history and engineering of workbenches into basic ideas that all woodworkers can use.

  • Learn how to design your own world-class workbench
  • Learn the fundamental rules of good workbench design that have been largely forgotten
  • Learn how to build an inexpensive and practical bench that hasn't been in widespread use for over 100 years
  • Learn how to properly use any workbench
These old-school benches are simpler than modern benches, easier to build and perfect for both power and hand tools.

Beginning woodworkers can build either of these benches. The technical drawings are clear and show every detail. Using the step-by-step instructions, you will be amazed at how easily these workbenches can be constructed.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christopher Schwarz is the editor of Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine and is a long-time amateur furniture-maker and hand-tool enthusiast. He began working with wood at age 8 when his family members built their first home on their farm outside Hackett, Ark., using hand tools because there was no electricity. After studying journalism at Northwestern University and The Ohio State University, Chris became a newspaper reporter but studied furniture-making at night at the University of Kentucky and joined the staff of Popular Woodworking in 1996. In addition to his duties at Popular Woodworking, Chris writes about hand tools for The Fine Tool Journal and has four DVDs on traditional hand tool use produced and sold by Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. He teaches handwork at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking and Kelly Mehler's School of Woodworking.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6840 KB
  • Print Length: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Popular Woodworking Books (October 24, 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0051Q8CW6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,667 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sets a New Benchmark for Design Considerations February 24, 2008
Workbenches: From Design and Theory to Construction and Use is an accurately titled, insightful book about craftsmanship in a woodworking shop, written by a prolific young author who happens also to be editor of Popular Woodworking magazine. Workbench design is the backdrop Schwarz chooses this time to set the stage for an energetic discussion about woodcraft, his favorite topic. The author has researched, built and used many styles and variations of the woodworker's workbench, and he shares incisive observations about what works, what doesn't, and why.

Building a really good woodworker's workbench is far too much labor to undertake without first reading a couple of good books on the topic, and this book should be first among them. Schwarz raises several issues that I thought, incorrectly, I had already fully considered based on the oodles of time I had invested in thinking about, researching and drawing bench designs. Before I read this book, I had already resolved to build a certain general style of workbench. Although reading the book didn't alter my basic conception, it did lead to several important design changes.

Some examples: Before I read the book, I hadn't considered the benefit of aligning the front of the benchtop with the front side of the front legs. I altered my design a bit to make sure the ends of the vise handles at rest would be slightly below the plane of the benchtop so as not to interfere with handplanes, knuckles and flat workpieces that extend beyond the benchtop. I decided to do more extensive testing of different bench heights, as Schwarz cautions that a couple of inches too high or too low can make a world of difference to a woodworker's lower back and thus to his or her enjoyment of the craft.
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104 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly remarkable woodworking book November 16, 2007
As an avid reader of Christopher Schwarz's various articles and columns in woodworking magazines, I've been awaiting the publication of this book with anticipation. Now that I've read it I have to say that it's better than I expected, and my expectations were very high.

I've read a number of books and articles on workbenches (notably the ones by Lon Schleining and Scott Landis, which are valuable for what they are: surveys of various styles of workbenches, with info on how to build a few of them). This book is different. Not just a little different. Radically different.

Schwarz is not just a good writer. He is an extremely good writer, vastly better than the majority of writers about woodworking; better than most writers, period. He is not merely capable of explaining things clearly, or of organizing his text coherently. His writing is actually enjoyable to read. He has the ability to combine highly technical information with a kind of narrative structure, within which personal experience, historical research and theoretical conceptualization come together almost seamlessly. One could describe the book as almost an essay in the classical, Montaignesque sense: a personal, spiraling account of a particular subject, whose compelling structure takes the reader along on a wide-ranging voyage of discovery, and makes the reader a companion of the author as he works out his own thinking. However, this should not be understood as saying that the book is in any way vague, for it isn't. I mean to underline its powerfully engaging quality. I believe somebody who wasn't a woodworker, who had no plans whatsoever to construct a workbench, would enjoy reading it.

Schwarz is also a gifted scholar and theoretician, a trait not typical of woodworkers, of writers about woodworking.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable resource, a pleasure to read November 26, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've followed along in Popular Woodworking and his blog as Christopher Schwarz has developed this book. I've seen Chris on TV and read a number of his contributions to other books on hand tools. He's always impressed me as an excellent teacher/writer but also as a serious student of the craft.

I was concerned that being so familiar with his work that I would be "re-reading" previously published material. I am happy to say that not only is the book full of information new to me but that it was a pleasure to read some of the familiar clips again.

To me the real value from this work is in gaining a sold understanding of "Why the workbench?" and how its design can be adapted to your kind of work to deliver so much additional pleasure in your work. There are two great heritage benches detailed in this book. Each can be easily constructed (easy as in technically easy - it is called "wood WORKing" after all). Either will likely remain for generations of craftsmen to use.

Finally, even though this is a "technical" work - it is a tremendous pleasure to read, witty and accessible. I have waited to read Christopher's book before building my bench. I'm glad I did and can't wait to start.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Form Follows Function December 5, 2007
This book is a must for anyone considering building, purchasing or modifying a woodworking bench. Even if you are not looking to change a bench, the information on holding work is invaluable. It is unique look at workbench design from the standpoint of the myriad of woodworking functions that can be performed on a bench. Christopher Schwarz' approach provides a wealth of information that helps the reader decide the features of a bench adapted to their own work. It is also a good read. The author's self deprecating humor is woven throughout as he compares and contrasts various features of bench design. This is a five star addition to any woodworker's library.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative
I would recommend this book to anyone. it's very easy to understand and you can have your own work bench up and ready real soon.
Published 4 days ago by Eve M. Marshall
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - answers the WHY and HOW
I purchased this book when I decided to make a solid workbench. I also bought others. In the end I built the Roubo with Chris Schwarz at The Marc Adams School of Woodworking. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ewingbe
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended book
I have been reading the book a few times over and always finding new tips with my own project (roubo style workbench)
Published 1 month ago by ronen dvir
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great book, with good ideas for building a bench
Published 1 month ago by Dan counts
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Item...
Great Item...
Published 2 months ago by Lborjal
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Takuzo Ishida
5.0 out of 5 stars what you need to know.
Chris uses everyday english to give us the history and roots of the modern bench. He provides charts that can be used to compare the abilities of locally available woods so we can... Read more
Published 3 months ago by kkoly
4.0 out of 5 stars Second best workbench book.
I hate doing this review and only giving it 4 stars. It was a good book, but after reading Chris's first book on work benches, this one just isn't quite as good. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jeff Stanley
4.0 out of 5 stars Chris Schwarz, Bench demi-god
Schwarz has clearly done his homework here, but he also adds his own oppinions from personel experience. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars All you need
Schwartz tells you all that you need to design your own bench. His writing style is easy to read and clear in describing each bench and appliance.
Published 6 months ago by JCT
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