As I've traveled around and used many different benches, I've become acutely aware of the differences between a good cabinet makers bench and one intended for chairmaking. Honestly, I usually loathe having to work on a cabinet makers bench. Sure, I love the vises, but the narrow width and tool tray usually mean that I can't set the assembled base on the bench and the shavings from the seat carving fill the tray in quick time. My benchtop is about 27" by 47", which has never let me down, but I don't think I'll be finding more like this on the street like I did this one.
As I set out to make the infrastructure for the classes here in Sterling over the summer, I started to look around for good benchtop material. I quickly dismissed the idea of making them myself, not only because I'd have to go outside my shop to use a properly equipped shop, but also I thought that the material and labor cost would be more than buying a top. And I was right.
Here is the top that I settled on, and I am happy to be able to share it as an option. It's made by John Boos and sold through Amazon. No I don't relish being part of the Amazon sales team, but this top is sweet, and at $166 with free shipping, it's a great deal.
It's just under 1 3/4" thick, and 30" X 48", great for chair work. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was made of full length maple strips and as far as flat goes, it's pretty darned close.
I appreciate all the encouragement I've been getting about my upcoming book. I'm as excited to have it available as I am to have it done! I checked this morning, and there are 342 illustrations and counting. Chris Schwarz is making his way through it doing final edits and I will soon be doing nothing but finishing the images. It's a cathartic experience for me to lay out so much information. Who knows what I'll do with all the cleared head space and time I'll get when it's all done. Perhaps I'll take up something besides thinking about chairmaking, then again, I can't wait to get away from the computer and back into the shop...