Now and again Richard likes to build a bench that is a little different to what he’s done before to keep himself challenged (like it isn’t difficult enough!) On his current build the motto has been ‘bigger is definitely better!’ Since all of the benches that we build are pretty robust in size this one is to be quite a monster.
As with most stocky workbenches the design is French in origin which can be fairly simple in appearance so Richard has added a few unusual variations to keep himself content. Right from the start this build has really pushed him, mainly because of the enormous weight of the timbers he’s having to haul around! He made the complicated dovetailed edge on the long rails and wedged through tenons look like a doddle to cut and fit but they caused him a few sleepless nights prior. He knew he’d be plagued by any gaps in those joints but fortunately everything pulled up nice and tight as it should.
We produced a special hand wheel leg vice for this bench. We’ve made a couple of these in the past and they’re a rather elaborate mix of a solid bronze nut and hefty 10” diameter cast iron wheel so they spin with some momentum! It’s a nice opportunity on a bench like this to push the vice hardware to see just how good we can get them by using the very best materials and spending time to fettle for the absolute perfect result. The hand wheel has been aged to match our wagon vice and was teamed with our Shaft System to make the leg vice pin less. This combination of hand wheel and Shaft works incredibly well together and because Richard has both made and installed the vice himself it allowed him to tweak and adjust every last tolerance to produce an action that wouldn’t normally be possible on an off the shelf vice. The jaw breezes open without even a whisper of noise or wobble and yet it moves so quickly, it’s quite surreal to watch. Please note we don’t produce these hand wheel vices for individual sale only for installation on our own workbenches. The idea for the hand wheel leg vice comes from Benchcrafted in America so if you’re after something similar they’re definitely worth a look.
As you can see the bench is not quite complete just yet but it should be finished by Sunday night and I’m very much looking forward to seeing it all done.