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Re: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Workbench

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  • Alex Haugland
    There are definitely some limited sources out there, depending on what you want a work bench to do. For me, I ve been demoing with a bench built as an amalgam
    Message 1 of 10 , Jul 14 6:55 PM
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      There are definitely some limited sources out there, depending on what you want a work bench to do.  For me, I've been demoing with a bench built as an amalgam of period designs with Moxon and Roubo (18th century) thrown in for good measure.  It was the best compromise I could find for a bench that met my woodworking needs and one which allowed me to demonstrate reasonably period techniques.  It's basic, can be knocked down completely and contains no metal whatsoever, with wooden vise screws, mortise and tenon joinery, a few dovetails, etc.  I can perhaps get some photos of it sometime, if I can find time in Pennsic prep.  It's largely machine made and still needs some finish work, but it has worked pretty well for demoing so far.

      If you go back through the discussions in the archive on holdfasts, you'll find links to a few pictures and things on the net, and as far as printed resources, either the book "The Workbench Book" or "The Workbench" (I can't remember which off the top of my head), contains an introductory chapter talking a very brief history of workbenches with some images, including one of a german 16th century workbench with a twin screw front vise and a carriage vise.  Peter Follansbee has some great images from the early 17th century in his blog (http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/) of workbenches and other really cool woodworking stuff.  There is a workbench recovered from a Swedish shipwreck, called the Vasa, from the early 17th century, as well as a few other good sources out there.  Poke around and you'll find things!

      --Alysaundre Weldon d'Ath
      Barony of Adiantum, An Tir

      beorn@... wrote:

      I think this is a great question, do we have any sources for the
      workbenches utilized in medieval times, something with document-able
      sources. Tapestry paintings, anything before the 15th century? I have
      wanted to set up a medieval woodworking demo at various shows for
      years now, and I will accomplish it eventually, but a "correct"
      workbench is something I have thought about for a while.
      woodwrights shop and rough hewn boards are nice but how about
      something with lineage...

      Beorn the Oldwolf
      www.tribewodenthor. org

      Quoting Jeff Johnson <jljonsn@gmail. com>:

      > I'd expect a turner's shop not to have very fine piece of furniture.
      > I'd expect something rough and heavy that'll take some abuse. I'd
      > go simple - split a plank from the center of a log, plane it or
      > adze it a bit to smooth it some and bore a hole to accept a simple
      > splayed leg at each corner. Just socket them in and let gravity and
      > the outward angle of the legs stabilize the table.
      >
      > Jeff J/Geoff Bourette
      >
      > --- In medievalsawdust@ yahoogroups. com, "bayard_turner" <williams@.. .> wrote:
      >>
      >> Greetings, all,
      >>
      >> I finally have my spring-pole lathe working as I want. I have the
      >> legs assembled so that they can be knocked off for travel, but
      >> provide solid support in use.
      >>
      >> Now I need to build a bench to set up behind me to hold my tools,
      >> etc. I'd like this to look like it fits late period, but
      >> disassemble for travel. Anyone have ideas to share? Smaller
      >> period bench that I can modify for travel? Sources for
      >> documentation if I try for A&S review?
      >>
      >> I await your wisdom!
      >>
      >> Bayard
      >>
      >
      >
      >


    • John LaTorre
      ... You might look in the Photos section for pictures of a breakdown workbench I built for woodworking demos at events. It was freely adapted from some
      Message 2 of 10 , Jul 15 10:17 AM
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        Bayard wrote:
        >
        > Now I need to build a bench to set up behind me to hold my tools, etc. I'd like this to look like it fits late period, but disassemble for travel. Anyone have ideas to share? Smaller period bench that I can modify for travel? Sources for documentation if I try for A&S review?
        >

        You might look in the "Photos" section for pictures of a breakdown
        workbench I built for woodworking demos at events. It was freely adapted
        from some images found in "The Workbench Book" and combine elements of
        two of the illustrations. The legs come off, but when they're installed
        in the top, they're locked in place with a tensioning device as
        illustrated in the second album of files. (This tensioning device is not
        period, but my own creation. It's not seen from above, and allows the
        workbench to be set up and made reasonably stable in uneven terrain.)

        The links are:

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalsawdust/photos/album/628969802/pic/list

        and

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalsawdust/photos/album/1199335119/pic/list

        I've accommodated holdfasts in the design, along with bench dogs,
        because I like them even if they're not documentable. Otherwise, the
        bench looks good enough to pass for "period" and has proved quite up to
        the task of on-site woodworking, as hundreds of visitors to the Period
        Encampment/Demo Area at Estrella War have found.

        --Johann von Drachenfels
        West Kingdom
      • bayard_turner
        My thanks. This looks like an excellent place to start. I like the use of a winding stick for tension. It may not be documentable for this purpose, but has
        Message 3 of 10 , Jul 15 11:06 AM
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          My thanks. This looks like an excellent place to start. I like the use of a winding stick for tension. It may not be documentable for this purpose, but has been used in woodworking (frame saws) for a long time.

          Bayard

          --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, John LaTorre <jlatorre@...> wrote:
          >
          > Bayard wrote:
          > >
          > > Now I need to build a bench to set up behind me to hold my tools, etc. I'd like this to look like it fits late period, but disassemble for travel. Anyone have ideas to share? Smaller period bench that I can modify for travel? Sources for documentation if I try for A&S review?
          > >
          >
          > You might look in the "Photos" section for pictures of a breakdown
          > workbench I built for woodworking demos at events. It was freely adapted
          > from some images found in "The Workbench Book" and combine elements of
          > two of the illustrations. The legs come off, but when they're installed
          > in the top, they're locked in place with a tensioning device as
          > illustrated in the second album of files. (This tensioning device is not
          > period, but my own creation. It's not seen from above, and allows the
          > workbench to be set up and made reasonably stable in uneven terrain.)
          >
          > The links are:
          >
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalsawdust/photos/album/628969802/pic/list
          >
          > and
          >
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalsawdust/photos/album/1199335119/pic/list
          >
          > I've accommodated holdfasts in the design, along with bench dogs,
          > because I like them even if they're not documentable. Otherwise, the
          > bench looks good enough to pass for "period" and has proved quite up to
          > the task of on-site woodworking, as hundreds of visitors to the Period
          > Encampment/Demo Area at Estrella War have found.
          >
          > --Johann von Drachenfels
          > West Kingdom
          >
        • conradh@efn.org
          ... It s _The Workbench Book_ by Scott Landis. ISBN 0-918804-76-0 Great book, you can t possibly read it without picking up cool new ideas about holding
          Message 4 of 10 , Jul 15 1:39 PM
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            On Tue, July 14, 2009 6:55 pm, Alex Haugland wrote:


            >
            > If you go back through the discussions in the archive on holdfasts,
            > you'll find links to a few pictures and things on the net, and as far as
            > printed resources, either the book "The Workbench Book" or "The Workbench"
            > (I can't remember which off the top of my head),

            It's _The Workbench Book_ by Scott Landis. ISBN 0-918804-76-0 Great
            book, you can't possibly read it without picking up cool new ideas about
            holding your work. The period-relevant stuff isn't all in the
            introductory chapter, either--there's great stuff in Chapter 9 about
            making your own vises, including cutting the screw threads with basic hand
            tools. Chapter 12 is "Country Shaves and Brakes" and many of these
            workholders are also period-appropriate.


            contains an
            > introductory chapter talking a very brief history of workbenches with some
            > images, including one of a german 16th century workbench with a twin screw
            > front vise and a carriage vise.

            This one, from a 1505 drawing by an engineer named Loffelholz from
            Nuremberg, is your best bet if you want a documentable bench with close to
            modern levels of versatility. The tail (carriage) vise is enclosed in the
            bench top, and works against movable stops to accomidate different lengths
            of workpiece. The Landis book has instructions for homebuilding this sort
            of vise. (Note: Landis mentions that the homebuilt version he saw had to
            be turned in the opposite directions from a regular vise to open and
            close. This is because the maker used off-the-shelf iron hardware. If
            you want a truly period construction, just make a wooden thread by the
            methods shown elsewhere in the book, but make it left-handed. No more
            trouble than right-handed if you're handbuilding the threaded parts, and
            that way a clockwise turning of the vise handle will grip the work (as the
            carriage dog moves away from you down the bench)

            One other suggestion about the Loffelholz bench: this design represents
            the troubled infancy of the "modern" cabinetmaker's bench. The screws of
            the face vise don't run in and out when you turn a handle; they're fixed
            in the bench and the jaw tightens by means of big hand-operated wooden
            nuts on the outside of the jaw. Consider making some cuisses to protect
            your thighs, or trade some nice woodwork to your local armorer. Otherwise
            you'll get a lot of bruises and snags from the screws before you get used
            to the damn thing!

            Still, this bench has an extreme coolness factor, and I plan to build
            myself one someday. When I figure out where to put another bench, that
            is.

            Ulfhedinn
          • Electric Wolf
            It is completed!! :) I m rather proud of it despite its issues. I may go ahead and screw it completely in place and just use it as a permanent bench until I
            Message 5 of 10 , Feb 22, 2010
            It is completed!! :)
            I'm rather proud of it despite its issues. I may go ahead and screw
            it completely
            in place and just use it as a permanent bench until I get version two
            built with better
            wood and experience.

            --
            David "Wolf" Mc.
            Nullum beneficium inpune stat.
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