Workbench Recommendations - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 12-29-2015, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Workbench Recommendations

So after much planning to build a workbench (and a router table, but we'll stick to the bench in this thread) I think I'm going to break down and buy one. I wanted to build one, but I am new to woodworking and feel like by the time I have the skill and knowledge to build a "dream" workbench I could probably have gotten my money out of a store bought one.

Question #1 is, if you could have any workbench available, which would you buy? I'm blessed and fortunate enough that money isn't an issue so I freely admit I love quality even if it costs big bucks. I know there will be different opinions on which one is best and why, but that is exactly what I want. Being new to woodworking I don't know what to look for, what I like, etc. So, while I may personally end up liking something else, your opinion is better than mine. I will say that I have an interest in building a very wide variety of things so versatility is key.

Question #2: If you were to build a really quality workbench, is it really going to save you much money compared to buying one? I am just curious.

In the end I LOVE to make things myself, but since I am starting from scratch it is often hard to do it. For example, it is difficult to build a really high quality router table and workbench when I don't have one to use while building them. I just fear it will be a struggle for me, I am a perfectionist so will research it to death, and may struggle to produce a "dream" quality workbench that will serve me for decades to come. However, if someone has a really good set of plans that are easy to follow and specific enough a newbie could follow them, I could be convinced to take a shot at it.

My current assets are a SawStop table saw, Powermatic drill press, Festool sanders, Festool miter saw, a couple routers (but no router table yet), and a wide assortment of power hand tools (belt sander, Festool jig saw, circular saw, cordless power tools, etc.) So despite having nice equipment, without a complete shop with a workbench, router table, jointer, planer, and a myriad of other tools I am sure I don't have I worry it would be frustrating and the end result not satisfying. One day I will build one, but just wondering if I should buy now and build later.
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post #2 of 26 Old 12-29-2015, 01:31 PM
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The term "workbench" is a pretty broad term. What are you looking for?

I built my workbench out of construction grade 2x material and used a solid core door for the top. It is covered with white Formica. I have some dog holes and Kreg Klamp tracks mounted in the top. It is rock solid. The bench is my assembly table/out feed table and general purpose beat on it table.

It is not the traditional woodworker's bench designed for hand tool use.

Google work bench and find a pic of what you have envisioned.

Note: I didn't have any plans. Just winged it. Half lap joints, lag bolts and glue. ;-)

Last edited by MT Stringer; 12-29-2015 at 01:32 PM. Reason: Fat finger typos
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post #3 of 26 Old 12-29-2015, 02:19 PM
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My thought on this subject will probably be contrary to most but... I would start with a very simple store bought woodworking bench with a vice. Work with that until you have a better idea of what kind of wood working you want to get into and have better understanding of what is important to you in a bench once you have experienced a project or two.

At some point you will probably want to build your own "super bench".
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post #4 of 26 Old 12-29-2015, 02:28 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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many different types of workbenches .....

A workbench can be as simple as a slab door on file cabinets.... I have several of those. It can have a woodworking type vise a quick release metal type or a wooden one with a wood screw. It can have an open mortise and tenon base with handcrafted joinery or a bunch of drawers under the base. etc ...etc..

A whole lot depends on the type of work you want to do..... hand chiseling for mortises and tenons, hand planing work to thickness between the vise and the bench dog aka a Roubo bench:
http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/b...frenchoak.html

https://images.search.yahoo.com/sear...F-8&n=60&x=wrt

There are some really slick ball bearing wheel vises out there.



My outfeed table is 30" wide by 10 ft long and serves as my workbench and assembly table. It doesn't have woodworking vise, those are on a different bench. My problem with a bench is it's a horizontal surface and stuff piles up an them. Clamping work down is not easy on a slick, shellaced particle board surface.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 26 Old 12-29-2015, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses! As you guys give me recommendations, I am learning more and more and will be better able to narrow down what suits me best at this point. The recommendations are often a really good starting point.

While I fully respect the idea of buying a cheap bench, that is not personally my approach. I guess since I have the means to do so I never buy anything that needs to be upgraded. Even if I buy a bench now that isn't my ideal bench, at least it will last and be useful for certain things down the road. I guess I just like quality and am blessed enough that it isn't an issue to buy it. But, again, thank you for the comment and insight--I am specifically seeking opinions!

Please give me some more recommendations on what you would buy and what is the "best" (relative term, of course) out there. As I review them and read, I'm sure we'll start to narrow it down nicely.
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post #6 of 26 Old 12-29-2015, 09:17 PM
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I would look into this bench

http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/...op-roubo-bench





If you want to make one the Wood Whisperer made this one in a video:
http://thewoodwhispererguild.com/pro...lit-top-roubo/




When you get to this level of craftsmanship, it becomes all about the vises.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUwTJ6ZPlys

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrphq_GTw9M

The Moxon type vises are the slickest I've ever seen. A You Tube search on the Moxon vise:

https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...oxon+wood+vise

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 12-29-2015 at 09:23 PM.
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post #7 of 26 Old 12-29-2015, 11:46 PM
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Well, you still didn't say what you are looking for so...

...here is my bench. It is part of every project I work on. I am retired and enjoy woodworking of all kinds. That bench has been the center of attention of over 50 kitchen cabinets, 70 plus drawers, a liquor cabinet, several toy boxes, book cases, desk, teachers podiums...and a lot of other stuff. All of that since 2012.

Like I said, rock solid, and very versatile. There is not much I can't build.
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post #8 of 26 Old 12-30-2015, 01:34 AM
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I guess it's a lot easier to buy a set of tools than to build a set of skills.

You've already got more than enough tools to build a serviceable workbench. A 'high quality' workbench isn't going to make you a better craftsman, nor will it even improve the quality of your work. I made my workbench with a circular saw and a drill - that's it. And, it's never held back the quality of my projects.
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post #9 of 26 Old 12-30-2015, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments!

pweller-That is good information. Having not done it before, I thought it would take a full shop to make a workbench that would be as nice, functional, and durable as one you could buy. If I have everything to do it, maybe I will go back to the drawing board and look for plans to do just that. Thanks!
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post #10 of 26 Old 12-30-2015, 02:34 AM
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I recommend that you get the Benchcrafted hardware and plans, build the top first and use it over two saw horses. Unless you hire someone to build it for you, that's the best bench you will get.
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post #11 of 26 Old 12-30-2015, 03:06 AM
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Its kindve hard to recommend a bench for you to look at without knowing what youre looking for beyond "bench". Everybodys got different tastes after all. Me, id want something stripped-down and basic. Flat top, some dog holes, a face and tail vice, sitting on a sturdy open stand. Then you have someone on the opposite extreme like MT Stringer, with the t-track hold down system and the vise and the fold-out wing, all sitting on the fancy cabinet with all the drawers and storage space. An awesome bench to be sure, but not my style

In short, we need you to be more descriptive!

I need cheaper hobby
etsy.com/shop/projectepicfail
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post #12 of 26 Old 12-30-2015, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the comments. I am aware I'm not giving you much in terms of what I want and the main reason is to be honest, I don't know just yet. Each time someone makes a post I learn about a new gadget or apparatus that you can incorporate so that is helping. I haven't done a ton of woodworking but what I can tell you is I probably don't want anything too specialized. For now, I'm trying my hand at miscellaneous projects--kid's toys like a rocking horse, toy box, adirondack chair, a few cabinets, etc. I'm the type of person who will ultimately be making a kitchen cabinet one day and a kid's toy tractor the next. I just need some recommendations and insight on what is available, what is typically liked/disliked/desired, and what to look for so I can narrow down my search and get something that will not hinder me or frustrate me as I grow in my knowledge and skills.
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post #13 of 26 Old 12-30-2015, 10:14 AM
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How do you work?

Those Roubo beenches I posted are pretty much meant for work with hand tools, planing and chiseling sawing and making dovetails, mortises and tenons etc. If you want to work in that style, then that's the type of bench you will need.

If your projects are made mainly using power tools and don't have hand cut joinery, dovetails mortises and tenons then you won't need all the types of vises, just a quick release type with wood faces. and maybe a row or two of dog holes.

The functions of a workbench are, holding, clamping, and storage. Most smaller pieces of work can be held in the quick release vise and larger and longer with a end support. My bench has 2 quick release vises for the longer piece on the rare occasion when I need that.
A good clamping surface is thick enough to resist the clamping force when pressure is applied AND enough to prevent slipping around. Storage is a bit more difficult on a Roubo type bench because of the leg vise, and sliding support in the way. An open frame bench will allow for easier mounting of drawers and sliding shelves.

A hybrid bench like BernieL and MT Stringers is a relative new concept and has definite advantages for holding the work for both hand tools and routing.

If you don't know which type of work you will do in the future .... I would start out with a more basic bench and leave the high priced vises for down the road. When and if you become a more polished woodworker... and need those types of vises, then the basic bench came become an assembly table. You can even make it a bit lower for ease of applying clamps and drilling etc.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #14 of 26 Old 12-30-2015, 11:12 AM
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I covet MTStringer's bench.
I don't build furniture so I need a "bash-worthy bench." It is 96" x 32" top made of 2x6. Pieces of railroad track for anvils as needed. 16" x 24" x 1" piece of local slate for the hot work.

I suggest you build a bench so you don't have to grovel around on the floor. So you figure out what the real questions are about the bench that you really want, the features you need for whatever you decide you want to build, over and over again, for years.
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post #15 of 26 Old 12-30-2015, 11:42 AM
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This BernieL's workbench

BernieL's Bench:
Leave the hole but install the bench so it is on the back side. If you're fortunate enough to be setting up a walk around bench - leave it be. The idea is to screw a top layer to the door so if you damage the top, unscrew it, remove it and replace it with a new top. My top layer is a 1/4 inch hardboard at a cost of $10.

Here are a few pictures of my bench... #1 is layers (solid core door with 1/2 inch hardboard and T-tracks screwed onto the door. The last layer is 1/4 inch hardboard which brings my surface above the T-tracks and can also be replaced for under $10.

2nd picture shows off my T-tracks which have served me very well - better then any fancy European bench with dog holes. It doesn't look as pretty but is more functional...

Picture #3 shows the versatility of my bench to do edge work (bench offers a few other options to do the same task).








The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 12-30-2015 at 11:45 AM.
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post #16 of 26 Old 12-30-2015, 12:04 PM
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Please don't buy a bench

Benches are very easy to build. With a decent set of plans you will have an excellent bench in no time, at a fraction of retail price. If, after you build your skills, you want a different bench, you can build another one. By not building your workbench, you miss out of a great opportunity to practise your woodworking skills.

Example. I built this bench with a circular saw, drill and a screwdriver (minus the drawers...I built them a year later).
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post #17 of 26 Old 01-01-2016, 11:12 PM
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You can purchase an inexpensive bench at most Habitat for Humanity store by purchasing a used solid core door. Bring it home and secure it and you've got yourself a workbench.

A workbench needs to be flat and sturdy... beyond that is up to you. Some folks like dog holes. Some like squares. I like T-tracks. One of my sons asked me to build him a replica of my bench for Christmas. While I did, I took pictures and I' m showing my simple build in a new thread. The key point is the top layer of the bench which can be replaced for $10.

Its' never hot or cold in New Hampshire... its' always seasonal.
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post #18 of 26 Old 12-14-2017, 08:28 AM
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Hi guys.
What can you say about Grizzly Workbench T10157 (with oak top) or Sjobergs Duo Workbench (33445). Which of them would u recommend for present for my dad.
He is neophyte in woodworking but like it and want to try.
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post #19 of 26 Old 12-14-2017, 09:18 AM
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Hi, I'm new here. I would like to say that you just simply build a heavy duty table and get busy woodworking. As you build you will learn about your strengths and weaknesses as a woodworker and you will be better informed as to what kind of work you are going to do. Every bench has good and bad traits.Probably, over the course of a lifetime, you will change and want a different style bench. I know I sure have. Just build it and see where the journey takes you.
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post #20 of 26 Old 12-14-2017, 09:35 AM
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We are in the process of setting up a workshop in our garage, but in the meantime, we want an inexpensive workbench to have for multipurpose use. It will become my spouse's workbench and I will build a better one for myself in the future.

For that "temporary" workbench, we will go to our local Harbor Freight and buy their Windsor Design 60 inch hardwood workbench with 4 drawers (item number 69054 93454/63395 62603). It will be on sale for $124.99 on January 12-14 2018, so we will wait for another few weeks. Harbor Freight is calling it their "January Blowout Sale", 3 days only.

This is no prize workbench, but it will do for our short term needs. I have inspected them in the stores, and they rack slightly from side to side, but that can be easily fixed by tightening the bolts (hopefully) or adding plywood to the back.

P.S. Here are links, but I am waiting for the 3-day sale January 12-14, where they will cost $124.99:

https://www.harborfreight.com/60-in-...nch-62603.html
https://www.harborfreight.com/60-inc...nch-93454.html
https://www.harborfreight.com/60-in-...nch-69054.html

P.P.S. I don't know if the sale is in-store only or not. My knowledge of this sale comes from an advertisement in the mail.

Last edited by Tool Agnostic; 12-14-2017 at 12:01 PM.
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