was my main winter project in 1999. My new workbench.
I've learned so much from others who've posted information
about their benches on the Web, that I feel I must return
the favor to others who may be considering building a bench
by posting some of my own experiences. Links on the left take
you to areas with additional information. More detailed photos
are available by clicking
all heard it before: "A good workbench really is the
most important tool in the shop." For me, it's even more.
My entire woodworking hobby started a little over two years
ago with building a workbench as my very first project. Though
I'm entirely self taught, I've learned a lot since then and
look back and still consider it as the pivotal event that
both motivated me and gave me the confidence to pursue the
hobby seriously. Now that I just finished my second one, I
can again say that building a bench is very a satisfying and
educational experience and I highly recommend it.
a portable saw, a miter saw and a drill, I built Tom Caspar's
featured bench in the October 96 Woodwork magazine article
over the course of two weekends. And, what a great bench it
is. Built entirely out of plywood and '2by' material, it is
a flat, stable, functional, very inexpensive and even good-looking.
It even has a easy to build end vise and square dogs. In fact,
I can't recommend the design enough for anyone. Check
the more serious I got about woodworking, the more I wanted
a heavy maple bench in the traditional European style. Lots
of examples of that out there. But, easily the hardest thing
about building this workbench was the two years it took for
me to agonize over what kind of design I wanted to build.
I think I must have read every book and article on workbenches,
and picked up every plan I could find. I waffled back and
forth for the longest time between a grid-style modern round
dog bench like the Veritas bench and a European style bench
with square dogs.
are plenty of good arguments favoring both designs. But, benches,
like many things in woodworking, can be designed and built
in all kinds of ways that ultimately work equally well. Even
after analyzing my projects, tools and techniques it still
wasn't easy to decide. The front vise question was the easiest-I
mounted a Record 52 1/2 vise on my first bench and just loved
it. I knew my new bench had to have a quick release metal
vise. But, that still left a lot to decide on. In the end,
the traditional style tail vise and strong square dogs were
the deciding factors in determining the design. After that,
all the other design decisions went very fast.