Sunday, September 26, 2010
Of Planes & Workbenches...
Ok, you know you need at least a refresher post when you are sick of seeing your olde post.
After finishing John English's book on Hand Planes, I picked up Christopher Schwarz's book, Workbenches: From Design and Theory to Contruction and Use. Both were good reads and served as a fitting entry point into the realm of hand tools.
English's book is simple and straightfoward. He covers all the planing and scraping tools, with a history of major brands and offers his respectable opinion here and there. His book was an eye-opener and pleasantly illustrated. I'm sure that there are other books out there that are as just as good or better, but this one just happened to be on the shelf at my local Borders.
Schwarz's book, however, is an entirely different matter. It is profound, a book that makes you reconsider everything you know about woodworking and workbenches, even if you knew nothing in the first place. For the woodworker, the workbench is the most important tool in the shop, but a work bench is one of the most important tools in any shop.
You can do an amazing amount of work with a well-appointed bench, and Schwarz's book shows you how and is an excellent starting point for bring your own ideas to bench design. In addition, the book offers two plans for two distinct benches, which, in my opinion, are alone worth the price of the book. These benches, (one of which is pictured above), are not just serious tools, they are works of art as well.
In the book Schwarz poses the question, "Do you really need a massive, old-school workbench in your shop?" All I can say is, no, but after reading his book there's something wrong with you if you don't want one.
Over and Out,