on 9 May 2012
I bought this book having read parts of Christopher Schwarz's other popular book "Workbenches: From Design and Theory to Construction and Use"
The reason I decided to buy this book is that I really enjoy Chris's ethos on woodworking especially how he champions hand tool use whenever possible. This book departs from the former as it looks at a whole host of different benches, rather than just two, including those for specific operations such as a power tool bench.
It contains a lot of similar ideas to his previous book, and actually develops further the guidelines to building an ideal bench. Each bench that is contained in this book is critiqued (usually using the aforementioned guidelines) to give you an idea of the advantages and disadvantages.
The best way to approach the ideas laid out in this book is with the knowledge of what kind of woodworker you are. You may find like me that no particular bench in this book is the one you want to build. The author himself encourages the reader not to replicate his designs but to invent their own using the inspiration of the book coupled with an idea of the tasks they will need to use their bench for.
This book also helped me to realise that one of the benches I currently use could be much more workable, there is a brilliant section on improving existing benches and also a look at some of the most recent developments in workholding.
If like me you are contstantly chasing the perfect design for the ultimate bench it is important to realise that this is an exercise in futility as what you learn by building a bench, especially by hand seems to automatically instill and inspire new and better ideas for your next. This book helped me skip parts of that process by elminating some ideas I wanted to try but also gave me the problem of about 15 new ones I want to implement.
I would recommend this book to those looking to build their own first bench, and also to those who are undertaking this task for the umpteenth time.
on 24 March 2011
I've just received this book and read it cover to cover. This is the workbench book I've been waiting for, much more practical than the others (and I've read ALL of them) and a great help for designing and building your own perfect workbench. If you're looking for advice on building a workbench, as opposed to a history of workbenches over the ages, then this is the one book you should get.
on 25 February 2013
Christopher Schwarz has a delightful style and his research and the content are a pleasure. It's a good read even if you're not thinking of buying or making a bench. If you are, however, there are plenty of ideas to set the mind thinking.
One reservation I had was that it's an American publication. Have no fear, apart from the US ways of talking about timber sizes, it's not intrusive.
If you're thinking of building a bench (and you're unlikely to think of buying one after reading this), then this book is a must.
on 11 June 2015
This guy must be *the* worldwide authority on workbench design. The book contains detailed plans and instructions, with foto's, for the construction of two fantastic workbenches. But even better, Christopher Schwarz begins by explaining the reasoning behind the designs. On the fly you'll learn a lot about woodworking. Therefore, read this book before you buy or build your own workbench.