A “take-off” on Brother Underhill’s “Little French Bench”

Alright.  So I haven’t written anything for more than a month.  And, I haven’t done a thing on the Sidewinder lathe project.  I haven’t been fishing, although the Walleye run was great in the Maumee river this spring.  Friends of mine were literally leaving coolers full of fish on my porch.  So, you might ask, what have I been doing.  Afterall “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”.  Well, once again, I’ve allowed myself to be diverted.  But it’s all good.  Honest!

I’ve always had a hankering to build the small, portable workbench that Roy Underhill features in his book, “Working with Edge and Wedge”.  Roy apparently saw a similar bench while on a trip to France, fell in love with it, came home and built his own version.  The fact that the rear legs are raked while the front legs remain plumb make the joinery for this seemingly simple little knock-down bench pretty tricky, tricky indeed.  In fact Brother Roy increased his degree of difficulty by incorporating rising dovetail joints in his model.  I’ll be explaining why I elected to use a modified dovetailed tenon.

But right at the moment, here are a couple of pictures.  I’ve completed the top and the frame.  They’re just dry-fitted at the moment.  I’ll be posting fairly frequently as I work towards the finish of the project.  It’ll take a little while.  But, I’m sure it will be well worth the effort.

dry-fitted frame – overlook the parallax problem

front and rear tenons - note the front is not a "rising dovetail"


top in place - one single piece of hand-planed ash

Explore posts in the same categories: Roubo workbench, workbenches and work-holding

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2 Comments on “A “take-off” on Brother Underhill’s “Little French Bench””

  1. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.

    The words in your post seem to be running off the screen in Chrome.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.

    The design look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon.

  2. I love this bench!!! I like your idea of connecting the back long stretcher to the short stretcher rather than the leg. Do you think that it would also work to do this with the front stretcher? Or would there be some sort of weakness in the structure? I’m working on a design that uses half blind dovetails for the short stretchers (attached to legs) and tusk/tenon long stretchers to go through the short stretchers to pull the whole thing together. I haven’t seen examples of this so I’m a little hesitant to commit to the idea.

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