Woodworking Bench I: What’s Your Style?

Hoffman & Hammer Workbench

What is the best woodworking bench design?  Well, I could end this here and say whatever is best for YOU, but I won’t.

In short that is the answer though, many of us get hung up on the style of the work bench we use whether it is a traditional woodworkers bench, carving bench, a door slab with legs under it, or maybe even a couple of saw horses to hold your work.

The traditional style woodworkers bench such as the Hoffman & Hammer Workbenchshown above with its shoulder and tail vise, bench dogs for securing your work in place, and a solid heavy top for years of wear and tear is what I think of as the standard.

Scott Landis
The Workbench Book

But even a traditional workbench has no standard set of plans that all must follow, but great ideas can be gathered from books such as The Workbench Book by Scott Landis or search the internet to find hundreds for sets of plans, but styles vary depending on the primary purpose and what the woodworker wants.

Veritas Bench Hold Down

Every woodworker has different needs that their workbench must meet.  You may be a new woodworker that only builds basic bird houses and just need a flat surface to work off of.  Or maybe you need a shoulder vise for clamping you work in place on occasion.  Or you could mill all of your own lumber by hand and need a shoulder and tail vise to secure your boards in any number of ways to ensure you can plane and joint all faces of the board no matter the length.

For my own personal needs, I currently get by with my shoulder vise and a little help from my Veritas Bench Hold Down.  But as I grow as a woodworker I can see where my needs are changing and requiring more complexity in the bench I use.

Tomorrow I will post part 2 of this series, until then keep woodworking!



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5 Responses to “Woodworking Bench I: What’s Your Style?”

  1. Dyami
    July 5, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    Well put, Chris. Let the work & woodworker determine the bench.

  2. Chris Adkins
    July 4, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    My current workbench suits my needs but I would like to go through the process of building a "traditional" style someday.

  3. Chris Adkins
    July 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    Chris, the hardboard idea is not bad. That is how I made our plan table in my office at work. I trimmed the edges so that the hardboard is slightly recessed. I used the white and while it is not as durable we can write on it with dry erase markers to make notes as we work and it is easily replaceable.

  4. Jeff Branch
    July 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    I have a very utilitarian assembly table/work bench. I would like to have an old world style work bench some day.

  5. flairwoodworks
    July 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    The more woodworking I do, the less value I see in pretty woodworking benches. My next bench will have a top made of MDF with a replaceable hardboard top. Lots of round dog holes and my Tucker vise will complete the benchtop.

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