Give me ten years or so & I catch on all right. I was for some reason last week using my old German workbench, with its end vise and steel dogs. I forget why, and it doesn’t matter. I was planing some short-ish stock, under 2 feet long. And what I found was the shavings piled up in the midst of the bench’s length, and then got swept onto the floor right in front of the bench. In other words, in the way…
I built what I call my joiners’ bench just about 9 years ago, and within a year or so really settled into it.
You can see in Moxon’s lousy engraving that the bench hook, (the planing stop w iron teeth) is set way back near the end of the bench.
(here is a recent re-take on the bench hook, with a link to an earlier post too http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/17th-century-bench-hook-again/ )
In part this is so you can work the longest stock without any special arrangement, but also I think it’s so the shavings fly off the end of the bench, out of your way. And that is another benefit of the joiners’ style bench – less frequent sweeping.