Moravian Workbench
Comments 4

It’s Really A Moroubian Workbench

Note the name in the post title: “Moroubian” used to describe my workbench design. This mash-up of Moravian and Roubo better describes my design; a Moravian base and a split-top Roubo top. But, I am going to continue to call it a Moravian workbench.

This morning, while scanning a Google image search of Moravian workbenches, I came across this image…

Adian McEvoy’s Moroubo workbench.

Adian McEvoy’s workbench is almost an exact copy of my design; except that I only recently finalized what I have been envisioning for the top; specifically the gap stop, or the piece which fills the gap in the bench top. So, while my original design predates the McEvoy’s blog post showing off his Moroubo; the split top does not (see the McEvoy blog post here). There are a few features of my design not found on the Moroubo: mine has a modern cabinet below the top and an inset vise, but the rest of the two designs are pretty much the same. Two woodworkers on opposite sides of the Earth with amazingly similar ideas. I was stunned upon seeing the photo. He calls his a Moroubo; I have been thinking about a unique name for mine: Moroubian. Sort of spooky when you think about it.

A similar thing has happened with my family room coffee table. I designed and built it many years ago and ultimately made a woodworking plan based on the design (see it here). Sometime later, I was scanning SketchUp’s 3D warehouse and came across a coffee table design which is almost identical to what I created. And in this case, the other guy’s SketchUp model predated mine. But, I had never seen it before. So, think you have an original design? Chances are that someone else is thinking just like you are.

Update on my Moravian bench

One leg half pulled away.

After doing some additional glue up of stock to create the upper and middle leg stretchers, I began thinking about cutting joinery for the legs. Using SketchUp to obtain dimensions for the joinery locations, the measurements ended up being some funky numbers because the bottom and top of each leg is angled. There are four different types of joinery in each leg – somewhat complicated to execute (see exploded view above). So the simple thing to do was to make a template. I isolated one leg and set up SketchUp to make a full-size template..

Leg template ready for use.

The first joint to form is the dovetailed stretcher shown in yellow above. I carefully laid out the dovetail location in the first leg and began cutting the socket using the Chris Schwarz method. This was going really good until I realized I was cutting the dovetail on the face of the leg, not the end (but I got some good experience with this technique 🙂 ).

Ultimately I got the first two dovetail sockets cut and the fit worked, but it was a little sloppy; but only a little…

One base end with dovetail stretcher in place.

Close-up shows gaps.

Since this is going to be the workbench I use for the rest of my life, I am going to make another attempt at better dovetails. I’ll remake the stretchers with a slightly larger dovetail and expand the socket of the legs you see in the photo. That is the plan for today, then I’ll start on the joinery for the red and blue stretchers. Happy woodworking to you all.

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Have a question or comment about this post? Leave me a comment below; but I also like email. Use my contact form to send me an email (click here).

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During the week, I sell carpet and rugs for The Dixie Group. Weekends, you'll find me in my basement workshop making furniture.

4 Comments

  1. Looks like your making good progress Jeff. In soft wood you can cut dovetails much tighter than you think. Wood compression is your friend. Cut them fat, bevel the leading edge slightly and drive them in. When you add glue they expand and fill any small gap and are super tight.

    Designing an absolutely original piece of furniture these days is about as rare as spotting two unicorns on the same day. 😉

    • Hey Greg, I was doing a little wood compression with these joints. But, the shape of the dovetails is the opposite than what you suggest. They are fatter at the rear with gaps towards the show side. But I’ll be sure to lean more towards compression when I re-make them. 🙂

  2. Looks good! I would consider a leg vise rather than a cast iron on the front. I have used both types I greatly prefer the leg type and I’ve heard the slanted leg version is even better because you never hit the screw.

    • Hey Alex, thanks for the comment. I gave a leg vise a lot of thought, but for several reasons I chose a cast iron vise. I have a work table planned to fit under some double windows in the back corner of my basement. A leg vise would be good there.

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