WoodCentral's Book Reviews
The Workbench Book

The Workbench Book
by Scott Landis

Taunton Press, 1987
Paperback, 247 pp., $22.95
ISBN: 1-56158-270-0

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     In spite of all the new and loud do-it-all machines for woodworking, a craftsman's bench still remains the central workplace in almost all shops. Scott Landis has traveled the world researching the history and development of the workbench.
     Exploded drawings of tail vises, face vises, leg vises and dog holes, show the reader how a bench is set up for a wide variety of uses. Building a workbench is an excellent exercise in joinery, and Landis illustrates different constructions with bridle joints, draw-bored mortise and tenon, wedged tenon and tusked tenons. Benchtops vary from 3" thick laminated tops to plywood covered in hardboard.
     Accessories are also shown: bases with shelves or full of sliding drawers, bench hooks, miterboards, benchdogs and holdfasts. He shows adaptable wedging systems for holding narrow or thin workpieces that could be added to any bench.
     Landis discusses the history of wood thread making and the wide variety of vises its development led to. He illustrates shaving horses, cleaving brakes and a bodger's bench; Japanese beams and trestles, a boat maker's hewing horse and a planking bench.
     I seriously doubt there is anything to do with benches left out of this book. Besides its instructive value, it is just plain fun to read. Excellent color photography and many well done illustrations add to the mix. Appendices give detailed plans for building four main types of workbenches, and the book includes an excellent bibliography and full index.

...Barb Siddiqui