Roman workbench perfection?
So as you know (if you follow me on social media), I have just recently built, yet another Roman workbench! Which is starting to become normal practice, just as much as it is me saying "I think this will be the last one I build". Every time I build a bench, I do get closer to the optimal bench, and preferences are becoming crystal clear!
I think the most predominant preference has to be the width. I seem to lean towards 15", it just seems like a nice width, for me to sit on and work on. My oak bench is the narrowest bench I have built, which I really don't like because of the width. That's a real shame, considering I like the length, and it has a shavehorse attachment.
I would definitely say, I prefer a longer bench to a shorter bench. To date I have explored 4', 5' and 6', with 6' being my favourite. Don't get me wrong, I have built all manner of furniture on the 4' but, the 6' bench rules simply because, I am able to have two setups on the bench, meaning I can go in between two tasks, without moving things around, which is obviously better.
A good example of this, would be having the shavehorse add-on set up, maybe making legs (tapered octagonal), then using the other end of the Bench, to finish the leg up with a plane etc.
I also like a wider leg spacing, even though it does create a trip hazard, and the legs can get in the way, when edge planing longer pieces. I also prefer 24° sight lines, which further push the legs out, compared to 38°.
This adds more stability, still allowing for a rake and splay, which is better than just a splay. Since I work on and off the bench 50/50, and the fact that the bench(s) are kept lite for movability. Stability is always something I think about, and the next bench build will most probably highlight this.
The dog holes have evolved closer, and closer to my own work. Ever increasingly, Im using the wedge's less and less, and the pegs are doing fine. The holes are reducing in number, and I'm getting pretty picky where I put them now, every time I build one. 17 dog holes are dealing with a lot of work/tasks, that's not really a great deal, when you consider what can be achieved with them.
So will the next bench be, a perfect Roman workbench for myself? Who knows!
What I can tell you is that, it will be pretty close, and I can also say what Ill be shooting for.
Length is going to be around 6' - 7', width 15"- 18", legs will be wider apart, with a 24° sightline. The bench will have a shavehorse attachment (a must). Dog holes will probably remain the same. I may go for some ash too!
If you'd like a guide with plans, and some of the tools, to build a bench, you can purchase those here
You can also see a video of myself building a bench here