Sawbench

Based on a design from Tom Fidgen's The Unplugged Woodshop

Based on a design from Tom Fidgen’s The Unplugged Woodshop

When I was building this sawbench, I was listening to the Pretenders catalog and wondering why so many people seem obsessed with Instagram-style woodworking photos and shop-fixtures built from precious woods. “But not me baby I’m too precious / fuck off.” The original sawbench design I riffed on for this was made of cherry. I’ve got plenty of it in the shop, but I just couldn’t bring myself to use it for this. I used $16 worth of home-center fir. I suspect it will work just as well, and I have no need to be precious about it.

I’d like to try to figure out some coherent way of talking about tools without being too precious about it; so many people in woodworking are tool collectors. It’s the same in photography, I suppose — herd together a dozen photographers (in the old days at least) and at least six of them would be camera collectors as well. Collecting and using get lumped together too easily, and with that there’s a drive to make everything into a precious object. I just can’t go there with workbenches and tool boxes. It just seems silly to me, though wouldn’t deny others the pleasure.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted October 28, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Does that slit run the length of the bench? If so, is the only internal support the piece on the left?

  2. Jeff
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Yes, the slit runs the full length for ripping boards. There is a 3″ wide cleat just under the top at both ends, making it quite sturdy. To use the rip slot you need to start cutting in the middle of the bench and avoid the ends so you don’t saw the bench in half. I’m was a bit concerned that it wouldn’t be strong enough without any bracing near the bottom of the legs, but after building it I’d say the cleats/pinned mortises at the top of the legs are strong enough to support my 250 pound mass.

  3. Loren Webster
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks. Somehow I missed the cleat on the right end and couldn’t quite imagine how that would be sturdy enough to cut one.

  4. Jeff
    Posted October 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    I looked at the photo again when I read your first comment and it was easy to see how you missed it; it’s just barely showing against the background.

  5. Posted November 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    nice bench Jeff-
    I used cherry because it was all I had at the time.
    any wood works-
    use what you have and if you do have to purchase…$16. of fir sounds about right.
    enjoy!

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