Thursday, April 22, 2010

See Our Vises in Tampa, FL This Weekend

If you're in the Tampa area please stop by Franklin Street Fine Woodwork this weekend during the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event. Hours are Friday 12-6, Sat. 10-5. Admission is free.

Planemaker Ron Brese will be there with his new Shaker-Style bench which features Benchcrafted vises.

If you've never been to one of these events before, don't miss it. Scroll down a few posts and watch some video from a recent event in Chicago to get a taste for what these events are like.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Super Teaser: More One-of-a-Kinds next week!

We got pretty darn excited over the next batch of One-of-a-Kind Mag-Bloks coming up sometime next week. Don't even bother trying to get a foot in the door, we're not taking orders until these go up. We thought some real life teaser pics would be nice though. A smattering of Cocobolo and quite a bit Birdseye Maple (this stuff is crazy figured).

To anyone one on our contact list, we'll be sending out an announcement date via email.


The "Benapfloubson" Bench

Louis Bois is the man responsible for drafting our meticulously-crafted Split-Top Roubo prints. Louis is not only an incredible CAD technician, but he's also got a great sense of design, and a great sense of humor. I can't count how many emails I exchanged with Louis while developing our plans, but it was as much work as pleasure. On one occasion we had a long discussion debating the merits of honing compounds. Louis seems to prefer stropping on dried yak dung moistened with bullfrog spit, while I'm a champion of the fermented bile paste of the Thompson's lesser swallowtail cactus weevil. We found that in actual use the yak dung was better. Thankfully, our Mongolian contact Batukhan Elbegdorj has broadband in his yurt. And the dollar is pretty strong against the togrog these days. We can get a 55-gallon drum of stropping compound for 38 cents, with free Super-Saver shipping!

It was inevitable that Louis ended up with one of our Benchmaker's Packages. After all, Louis knows the ins and outs of this bench like the back of his hand. So when Louis emailed me about his bench project, I sat up in my chair and started rubbing my hands together. Oh, did I mention that Louis is French? And his last name means "wood"? Yeah, I think he's more than qualified.

Louis calls this bench the "Benapfloubson". Which means, "Louis' bench" in Tlingit. Actually, I have no idea what it means. Maybe Louis can chime in here and let us know.

All I know is, I want one. In my living room. Or my office. This thing is just plain cool.

The top of the bench is only 48" long, about 17" wide and about 2.5" thick. What a perfect size for in-house use! The next bench craze has begun! Thank you Louis!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Video from Chicago L-N Event

We had a chance to take some video at this past weekend's Lie-Nielsen Event in Chicago. Lots of sawing techniques at this year's event.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One-of-a-Kinds: Gallery Editions

Well, it's been quite some time since our last One-of-a-Kind offering. It's going to be a bit longer :-)! Not too long though, we should be posting quite a few Bloks in the next couple weeks.

This is a sneak preview of a small handful of Gallery Edition Bloks we have ready. There are 10 total and each have several unique characteristics; beveled sides, no mount holes, and finished to a slightly higher degree. We've been testing an industrial-strength adhesive mounting strip on our prototype Gallery Blok for several months, it's super strong and has held up perfectly (pun intended!) That said, we recommend that these be mounted above some surface or in a safe place as nothing is fool proof. Perfect for ceramic tile mounting applications.

PS- No pre-purchases. You'll have to wait until we post these!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The V2 Tail Vise

We announced in early February that an updated version of our award-winning Tail Vise was in the works. We're pleased to announce that, after thorough testing, the Benchcrafted Tail Vise "version 2" is now in production.

Functionally identical to the original Benchcrafted Tail Vise, the V2's main difference is in how it mounts to your benchtop.

The bolted-on, off-the-shelf acme nut on the original vise has been replaced by a custom-machined monolithic nut block made from one-inch-thick cold-rolled steel and tapped for the precision-rolled 1-1/4" acme screw. This streamlined and low-profile assembly allows twice as much of your benchtop to remain intact above the sliding plate, and that's a good thing. The vise is also more robust, although that's a bit moot since you could park a dump truck on the vise without much effect (not that we recommend it!) The vise's capacity between jaws has also been increased by about 1".

The square nut block also allows you to route a shallow, rectilinear cavity vs. a curved cavity,
simplifying and reducing installation time. The mortise in your end cap can also now be rectilinear.

The low-profile nut block has also allowed us to use a slightly larger hand wheel with interior finger-grips. This makes cinching up the vise a tad easier (a bit of an oxymoron since our tail vise is virtually effortless) . The rosewood handwheel knob (on both the Tail Vise and Glide) has also undergone a slight aesthetic change. Plus, the fastening bolt is now chrome-plated (as is the bolt on the Glide).

But here's the best news. We've been able to make these improvements and refinements and keep the current pricing. Here's another piece of good news. If you're still waiting to take delivery of your tail vise, you'll be receiving the V2 automatically.

We've also updated our Split-Top Roubo plans to reflect the changes to the vise. If you've ordered a Benchmaker's Package, you'll automatically get the updated plans.

The new templates have already been uploaded to the Tail Vise page. We're working on updating the instructions for the V2, but for now we've included an addendum to the instructions to explain the differences (remember, its an easier install!)

As always, we're happy to answer any questions should you have them. Contact us at

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chicago Report

The Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event in Chicago this past weekend finished up Saturday night after a couple literally rip-roaring days of great fun and learning (I saw more rip sawing over the weekend than I care to remember--and some of downright comical--but more about that later). Both days the shop was packed with attendees.

We had a great time seeing past and present customers and friends. Connecting with people is what these events are all about, and a good portion of the weekend is spent catching up with people's projects (everyone is building benches!) and plans. I also learn an enormous amount at these shows, both from attendees and other demonstrators.

Jeff Miller's shop is not huge, but its also not a cracker-box. The former bowling-alley (the position markers are still visible under decades of wear, glue drips, and floor paint) that is Jeff's shop is beautifully lit in the afternoons by the large, high-placed windows on the long western wall of the shop. Rich sunlight washes over the bench tops and instantly creates an environment which transports one back to a nostalgic age of hand craft. (taking a class at Jeff's shop would be a fantastic experience, and he offers several) And this made for some nice pictures and video, which I promise to get uploaded in the next week or so, including video of different ripping techniques, by Chris Schwarz, old-school carpenter Carl Bilderback (who is always a pleasure to chat with), and some other locals.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Split-Top Roubo Bench For Sale (Chicagoland)

Tomorrow we'll be at Jeff Miller's shop for the L-N Hand Tool Event. Last year we debuted the Glide at this event with our prototype Split-Top Roubo bench (pictured above). This bench will be for sale at this event, and will be available for pick-up at the end of Saturday's session. (6pm).

The bench is 6' long and 26" wide with a 4" throughout solid maple top. The base is also maple. It's outfitted with our Glide Leg Vise and two (!) Benchcrafted Tail Vises with matching dog hole strips. Outer laminates are dovetailed into the end cap.

Not pictured, but included is the gap-stop accessory in maple, sliding deadman, and a pair of Gramercy holdfasts. The base also features a new shelf (birch with a touch of flame) between the lower rails. The bench has seen exactly one year of use at a handful of shows, all in a demonstration setting, plus a little time in our own shop for testing. It's got a few superficial scratches and dings which should disappear next time you flatten it.

Price is $2695.