The Classic Workbench is based largely on the famous Plate 11 workbench from Roubo’s “The Art of the Joiner”. We’ve built dozens of these “Roubo” benches over the past decade, helped others build hundreds more and examined extant French benches from the period. We haven’t changed our opinion on this fundamental design. The Classic is a simpler, easier to build version of Roubo’s Plate 11 bench that captures all the functionality of Roubo’s design. French technical schools of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were outfitted with benches just like this. And before the 1950’s, you could easily buy a “Classic” workbench from any number of French tool mongers.
The bench goes together with only one type of joint: the drawbored half-lap mortise and tenon. We refined this joint during our French Oak Roubo Projects and it is, for this purpose, indestructable.
The bench can be made entirely from widely available 8/4 stock, plus a few feet of 4/4.
The bench is 84” long by 20 ½” wide by 34” tall. The top is 3” thick. The bench can be built shorter by simply decreasing the length of the legs. Likewise, a longer version of the bench can be made by simply increasing the length of the top. The bench, although lighter than our fully-outfitted Split Top Roubo, holds its own under rigorous planing activities. This is helped by building the bench out of a dense species like hard maple.
Because of the simplicity of the Classic Workbench, all components are offered ala carte. To build the Classic Workbench you only need four items: The printed plans, a Classic Leg Vise (Retro or Solo, the plans use Solo), Planing Stop, and at least one holdfast.
To keep things simple, we’ve outfitted the workbench with only one vise: the Classic Leg Vise. For working the edges of boards, the Classic is a joy to use. For working the faces of boards, our Planing Stop is a quick and efficient way to get the job done, and coupled with a doe’s foot and holdfast you can plane across boards with ease. For working the ends of smaller boards the leg vise can be used, but for larger work like dovetailing, we use and recommend the Moxon vise. For longer edge work, simply attach a batten to the right leg with a holdfast to support the workpiece. We’ve found that a deadman is not necessary for the majority of work, especially on a bench of this length.
The Benchcrafted Classic Workbench design will serve most any woodworker’s needs with ease.
For more in-depth information, please download our Classic Workbench Construction Notes.
Three 20" x 30" printed sheets of the measured drawings. Comprehensive and concise. Printed on 20-lb. paper, edge bound, and shipped rolled in a tube, not folded.
27 pages covering the bench’s design theory and detailed construction process and techniques, illustrated with over 40 photos. Get the free construction notes here.