Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Schwarzian" Saw Benches

English-style "Schwarzian" Saw Benches

A couple saw benches

I made these with some scrap Hem-Fir that was leftover from my workbench project. I followed Christopher Schwarz's plan from Popular Woodworking Magazine, though I'll admit I found the instructions confusing and the design lacking.

Compared to the other stuff I've been building, these saw benches are pretty flimsy, and while I understand the need for a simple design (Schwarz was teaching a class where you build a saw bench with nothing but hand tools in a single day), I guess I just don't agree that the shortcuts were worth the end result.

He has since tweaked the design a few times, but if I did this project over again, I would have added cross beams to keep the legs apart and stable. I'm not a huge fan of the screws and plywood either.

But in the end, it gets the job done and the saw bench is perfectly functional. It doesn't require more thought than has already gone into it and it won't be replaced unless it breaks.

I think my complaints about the instructions being confusing is that I'm mostly just not accustomed to following plans in general.  I had a similar problem following Norm's plan for the blanket chest.  My typical process is that I'll build an entire project in Google Sketchup, developing my own understanding of how everything fits together, and exporting a cut list of parts before I ever touch a single piece of wood.

Following someone else's step by step instructions doesn't allow for the big picture understanding and it feels like I'm blindfolded, being guided through an obstacle course by a back seat driver.  I don't find it very comfortable and I end up getting frustrated when I don't understand the next step.

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