Archive

Roman Workbenches High And Low

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When researching Roman workbenches, one of the things that leaped out at me was how low many of them were low, knee-high like a sawbench. After building a low bench based on drawings from Pompeii and Herculaneum, most visitors to my shop had one question: Were the Romans really short? The answer is: no. These low benches are used differently. You sit on them to plane faces of boards. You […]

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Another 511-year-old Woodworking Vise

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Screw-driven vises are not modern inventions. The earliest screw-driven vise that I know of is this Italian vise that is circa 1300. I am always looking for earlier vises because the screw mechanism has been around since Archimedes, though his screw was originally used for irrigation. This year I have been delving deep into a codex that was written in 1505 by a patrician named Martin Loffelholz. The 76-page proto-book […]

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A Quick Preview of the ‘Vampire Vise’

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With only six days before Woodworking in America, I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to get everything ready for the big three-day woodworking geek-fest a few blocks away from my shop. Today I’m putting the finishing touches on one of the two Roman-style workbenches I’ve built for Woodworking in America. I’ll be presenting a seminar on the research and reasoning behind these benches on Sunday morning. But I’ll also […]

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A Local’s Recommendations for Woodworking in America

My workshop in Covington, Ky., just a few minutes from the convention center.

Woodworking in America is next week, and if you have never been to Covington, Ky., here is a primer on where to eat and drink. My workshop is in the heart of Covington, just one block off of Main Strasse. So the following recommendations are based on how a local (not a tourist) sees the world. All of these places are walking distance from the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. Note: […]

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Sharp (and Clean!) Fixes Everything in a Handplane

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Sharpening a misbehaving tool will almost always fix its wagon. But I always take an extra step when taking apart a handplane: I clean the interior of shavings and dust with a brush and an oily rag. It might seem like overkill, or like I am on the verge of compulsive, but I don’t think that’s the case. Little fragments of shavings or even dust can wreak havoc on a […]

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