WoodCentral's Book Reviews
The Workbench

The Workbench
by Lon Schleining

Taunton Press: 2004
hardback, 202 pp., $34.95
ISBN 1-56158-594-7

     Lon Schleining's new book honors traditional workbench design standards, but puts aside the elitist idea that any woodworker worth his salt will build his own bench as a sort of rite of passage. This is a book of options, including everything from the bench-in-a-box to kits and hardware to detailed plans for five different shop-built benches. The author gives a good account of what is available, what is minimally acceptable, as well as what might be considered a lifelong-dream bench that you wouldn't want to put a scratch on.
     Different methods of building your own tail vises and shoulder vises are shown, as well as methods of attaching commercial vises and setting up a benchtop with dog holes to make the best use of a vise. A variety of tool trays are discussed, with one by Hank Holzer that pulls out away from the top, riding on 3/4" pipe, to effectively double the supporting workspace of the benchtop. There are assembly benches, torsion-box benches, fold-up portable benches and task benches. Full drawings and instructions are provided for benches by Sam Maloof, Niall Barrett, Tage Frid, Mike Dunbar and Lon Schleining's own hybrid of old and new. He discusses under-bench storage cabinets, holdfasts, board jacks, metal legs and ways to add electrical power.
     Nicely photographed and illustrated in full color, this book is perfect for the modern woodworker who uses both hand and power tools and is researching the perfect bench for his needs.

. . . Barb Siddiqui