Design Process of Workbench 2.0
an original design, my new bench is pretty much a synthesis
of modern European bench design like the Ulmia benches from
Germany, parts of Frank Klauzs' great bench, and every other
bench plan, article or photo I could find. Early on, I decided
I didn't want a thicker skirt in the front and back like the
Ulmias and went for a continuous thickness of 3". The
tail vise area, due to the metal sliding plate hardware is
4.25" thick. Proportions, however are a little different
then commercial benches and are geared around both my very
small shop size (Roughly 12' x 14', with additional
smaller areas for storing lumber and roller base mounted power
tools) and my experiences with my previous bench.
was probably the most important dimension for me to decide
on, as my small shop size determined the length. Though they
work great, I found I wasn't as comfortable with a really
narrow bench like the Scandinavian benches that are typically
14" wide and went for 24"for the main body of the
top. My previous bench was 16" wide plus a wide and deep
tool tray that made for a total width of 28î. Many times,
I had wished for more table width for assembly and making
larger furniture. With the small tool tray and back rail on
my new bench, overall width ended up at 31". So far,
the width is working out perfectly. It's easy to reach items
in the now smaller and shallower tool tray. I have plenty
of table width for larger projects and because I only have
room in my shop for a small permanent assembly table, the
bench also makes a great surface for assembly.
length is 77" including end caps. And, add six inches
for the tail vise and hardware overhang. My maximum vise opening
allows me to clamp up to 82î long--which is long enough
for most doors. Though I wouldn't have minded another foot
in bench length, this length should work out well in my shop.
near last minute design decision had to do with the tool tray.
I was originally not going to have a tool tray. On my
first bench, it was 6î deep, pretty wide and always
filled with clutter, shavings and sawdust. Just before I jumped
in with cutting Maple, I decided to add a smaller, shallower
one with long ramps. I'm glad I did. It stays clean and works
Editor's note: A lot has happened since this was first written. From my original shop I quickly became a professional furniture maker and was producing up to 50 pieces year in that 12' x 14' space. Crazy, for sure. Ended up moving to distant freestanding shop that was 23' x 32'. Produced even more in that space with a full time assistant. Now, I'm in a new location with a shop I designed from scratch that is 58' x 30'. Much better. In any case, I still use this bench and still love it.