Ideas for your Workbench Plans
The workbench is the backbone of every woodworking workshop.
Although it’s often used more as a place to store stuff, as soon as something needs being worked at it is the workbench where wood or other materials get clamped and worked on.
Workbenches come in different sizes and shapes. But the most common workbench is the classic cabinet maker’s bench with a front- and a tail vise and dog holes in a corresponding straight line along the sides and middle of the table top.
Bench dogs are typical for the 18th century french workbench designs that mainly used stops and dogs to keep the workpiece in place.
A bench dog is used to clamp and hold steady materials for working. The item is clamped between two pegs, one of which can be fixed on the vise, the other fixed in one of the dog holes.
A vise is a metal clamping system that is used to hold items in position while being worked at. A vise is essential when you want to do wood patters for instance.
They first appeared in the middle ages on German workbenches and have evolved over the centuries to unmissable workbench features.
There are basically three types of vises:
The classic woodworking vise is designed to hold wooden items only. It’s usually attached on the short side of the workbench.
It’s mostly made of steel with wooden padding, but it’s just as common to have one that’s entirely made of wood. These vises however are a lot easier damaged and don’t have a long life span.
The Metalworking vise is made of solid steel and are usually bolted to the top of the workbench. They come different weights and sizes and that’s why it’s important to have a sturdy workbench if you plan to install a metalworking vise on your workbench.
The Emmert vise is a patented clamping system that allows the clamped item to be set in many different position while remaining tightly clamped.
The vise can be tilted and turned into virtually any position you wish.
If you can get hold of an original Emmert vise at a fair price, I highly recommend buying it. They will serve you for a lifetime.
The classic workbench has drawers and a storage shelf below the table top. This shelf also improves the stability of the workbench.
The classic design has one large or two smaller drawers alongside each other, but more audacious designs have one or even two columns of three or more drawers beneath the working surface. This does improve the stability of the whole design, however it decreases the ease of access and ‘openness’ of the design.
A great extra is having a tool board attached to the top of the workbench. But as many woodworkers prefer daylight to illuminate their working space, a tool board might block much of that light.
The above features are all things you should consider before you choose which workbench plans to follow.