I’ve seen little shop time the last few weeks, but that’s not for the worst reason. The weather has been beautiful and the backyard has needed an overhaul, so it’s received some much needed attention. I have been able to sneak in a bit of time to start my next project for the shop though, which is a pair of sawbenches. Sawbenches are a bit different than the sawhorses of a typical power tool woodworker. At just about knee-height, the sawbench is perfect for cutting stock down to size with one of the best vises possible, ourselves. The height of the bench allows you to easily place a knee on top of the work piece in order to secure it. Up to this point I’ve been using a pair of Black & Decker workmates for sawing. I purchased these to help build my workbench as an alternative to working on the floor. While the benches have served their purpose, they’re a bit too tall for proper hand sawing. I was initially going to build a simple sawbench from a 2×6 until I read Chris Schwarz’s new book, the Anarchist’s Design Book.
Early in the book Chris uses the sawbench to introduce the concept of staked furniture. Not only does this present an opportunity for me to learn more about a new technique, I also think these benches look incredible. The simple form and splay of the legs juxtaposed with the chunky top is striking.
Following Chris’s recommendation in the book, I’m going to first build a half -scale model to get a feel for the leg geometry and angles so that I’m not just blindly following along in the book. The model went together quickly with a scarp piece of pine, a few coat hangers and a little bit of epoxy. From here, I was able to work out the geometry of the legs and get a better feel for how the bench should go together. The next step is to get started on the full-scale top.