Thursday, January 9, 2014

Plinths for my workbench

You may wonder what on earth plinths have to do with workbenches, so let me explain.  If you read this blog regularly, you know that I believe I built my bench far too short based on the experts' advice and have been using it for some time jacked up on 4x6s.  It works very well, but it is highly aggravating for me to be continually reminded of my mistake, so I determined to come up with something that would look better, if possible like I had designed the bench that way from the start.

I wandered around the internet looking for ideas and stumbled upon plinths.  I learned that plinths constitute one of the major elements that make up architectural theory.  They are viewed as creating a solid visual connection between the structure and the ground.  Hey, I thought, that's what I need, a solid visual connection between my bench and the floor!  Given the angular nature of my Nicholson bench, I thought angular plinths would look right, so here is what I came up with:

Hmmm.  To me, it looks vaguely like my bench might stomp off in a huff.  Well-- on the positive side, these are highly sophisticated "microadjustable plinths," meaning the wide molding on the top lets me fine tune the bench height with shims and compensate for the uneven floor in my garage.  The plinths aren't attached to the bench so the moldings keep the legs from sliding off them.  These plinths are also cross-cultural:  they will work on a Roubo that is too short equally well!

So, does it look like this is what I intended from the beginning and that I have introduced a major new element to workbench design and function?  Well, during Peter Nicholson's lifetime Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote about "suspension of disbelief."  It would really help me if some of you would cut off the legs of your benches, put them up on plinths and send me pictures because you are so taken with this idea.  I'm waiting in a state of suspended disbelief.   :-(


  1. I currently have my Roubo up on blocks for the same reason. After attending Paul Seller's month-long this past summer, I became convinced that a bench in the neighborhood of 38" tall would suit me much better than one around 32". Sometime in 2014 I will probably build some nicer "booties" or as you say, plinths for my bench. I'll try to remember to send you a picture. ;)

  2. Those are an aesthetically pleasing as well as a functional approach to the problem. Perhaps these types of corrections will gain some traction against the monolithic pinky-knuckle rule that has been swallowed hook, line and sinker.


  3. Looks great! I'm going to have to do the same thing to mine. How did you fasten them to the legs?