Not all workbenches are created equal. Workbenches come in a variety of sizes and proportions, and are often purpose driven, designed with a specific task or tasks in mind, with vises, stops, trays and support elements incorporated into that design.
We are currently offering two flavors of bench plans – split top and traditional European style.
Building your own workbench is always the first step when declaring to the world that you want to take woodworking as a serious hobby or even as a profession! And that is no exaggeration, mind you. Everything begins with the workbench. The better your workbench, the easier, faster, and better your woodworking will be.
However, are you ready in building your own? If not, it is fine. You can always get or buy one from shops. But expect that eventually, you will build your own. So, it is in your best interest that you learn the basics of making workbench plans here.
The 10 Basic Tools/Accessories in Your Workbench Plans
Okay, before you get started, be reminded that not all of these accessories are a must. In most cases, a workbench can be a fully functional workbench as it is. Nevertheless, these accessories can help you with certain tasks, which primarily depend on what you will work on.
1. Woodworking Clamp
Basically, it is one of the main tools that will make your life easier. It can make your glue joints bond stronger with it, assist you in sawing, and a lot more. This will be your main assistant when working on your workbench.
This is your second assistant. It is also known as a hold down. As its name implies, the holdfast will help you hold down your pieces of wood whenever you want to carve, chisel, and plane. It is a very handy tool if you want a piece of wood to stay still.
3. Bench Vise
This is another helping hand to put things down on your workbench. Some people cannot get enough of it — to the point that they will have three or more types of bench vises attached to their workbench. It holds large pieces of wood that you need to work on. You can call it as the woodworking clamp’s big brother.
4. Bench Dog
The bench dog is usually used together with a bench vise. Bench dogs come in different sizes and shapes. You can easily make one yourself. It will hold pieces of wood, and can be especially useful when you are going to use a power tool. It is usually inserted in the holes on your bench top — just like with the holdfast.
5. Board Jack
It functions the same as a bench dog; however, it is attached to the leg of your workbench instead. It can be handy if the piece of wood or board you are working on is long.
Things To Consider When Making a Workbench
Take these things with a grain of salt. These are not set in stone, so feel free on not following some of the items listed here. After all, you will be the one working on your workbench.
1. Installing Too Many Vises
For most woodworking tasks, you will be using only two: a tail vise and a face vise. There are other tools that you can use to hold down your boards and pieces. They are much handier than using multiple vises.
2. Being Nitpicky About The Material That Will Be Used For The Workbench
Read this: Your workbench is not a piano or a part of a boat’s deck. Your workbench’s fate is to be abused forever. A regular plywood workbench is fine. Regular lumber will work as its legs. Of course, particleboards are not preferred, but it is up to you. The important thing is that it can stand and withstand the abuse.
3. Focusing Too Much On The Aesthetics
In relation to the previous point, forget about making it shiny and shimmering. A workbench is at its beauty’s peak when it is at its ugliest due to constant use. However, it does not mean that you should not apply some protective finishing to it.
4. Too Much Customization
You are not joining a workbench beauty pageant or science fair. It is okay to focus on functionality, but wasting your time and resources on reinventing the workbench will just get you nowhere. The reason you are making one is to get started with your projects. Focus on that.
5. Making Too Many Holes
At the start, making a few holes for your holdfasts and bench dogs will do. You do not need to turn your workbench into a breadboard. Even if having too many holes will not make your bench top weak, making them is a waste of time. You will not use all of the extra holes you will make. It will be much better to make a hole when the need arises.
Notes On Reading Workbench Plans
You should take note of these things when designing your workbench:
1. The bench top should be flat and smooth. If possible, it must be perfectly leveled. However, it is okay if it is not perfectly flat. Unless you are using thick hardwood, accept that your top may bend a bit.
2. Your workbench should not wobble too much. The best method to assure that your design will not wobble is to check other designs, and possibly, imitate them. However, do note that it will be more efficient to fix wobble problems after the workbench is finished instead of “fixing” it while working on your woodworking workbench plans.
3. Its height should be comfortable for you to work on. One simple way to determine the best height for you is to try cooking on your kitchen countertop. If you feel comfortable working on your countertop, you can assume that the height of the countertop is the right height for you — and your workbench.
4. Make it simple. If you want to add some drawers or storage area below your workbench, it will be best for you to design it later. The more important thing is to have a sturdy workbench that you can work on.
5. Determine the location of your workbench. You must make sure that your bench’s size will not hinder your from moving around freely in your work area once it is installed.