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Plans available on the web at no cost

There aren't a lot of plans available on the internet for good workbenches. If you run across any ones I should know about, be sure and let me know so that I can add them to the list. However, it should be noted that good workbench plans don't need to cost very much. Make sure you check out the workbenchplans for sale section of this site. Many of the plans there are excellent and very inexpensive.

Updated January 4, 2010

Workbenchdesign.net's 3D Model Collection

Free Workbench Plans and 3D Models
Many of the most well known workbenches published in magazines, workbench books and individuals are available as 3D SketchUp models. I've culled through many of them to create a collection that I think would be of interest to our viewers. I'll continue to refine this collection and keep it to the best designs I can find. If you find a plan you think should be included, let me know.

Also included are 3D models of bench components such as vises that can be of help in designing a bench of your own. If you follow the above link it will take you to the collection for viewing. If you see a model you like and want to play with and modify you can download a copy of Google SketchUp for free. Armed with the program you'll be able to use the plans to create your own workbench.

Simple Bench Designs

Workbench in a Weekend
One of the best designs and a great easy-to-build workbench. Designed by Tom Caspar editor of Woodwork and American Woodworker Magazine. It's available for downloading from this site. Just click on the Workbench 1.0 link on your left. It's a bench anybody can build with just a few common tools.

Nearly Free Workbench Plans from Woodsmith/Shopnotes
Plans Now, the online component of Woodsmith and Shopnotes magazines has lots of nice plans for an easy to build workbenches on their website. Some of the best are nearly free and quite good. As low as $5.95

Simple Workbech Plan from Fine Woodworking
Utilizing a MDF top and a solid threaded rod base, this is solid and simple to build. Not too many features, but provides a solid work surface and room for an inexpensive front vise. Could easily be built in a couple of days. The link also includes a video on the construction and a free PDF plan.

Workbench Top with Hold-Down Clamps
An interesting idea to a common workbench problem. How do you hold down parts to your workbench. This design calls for an MDF top with hold-downs.

Wood Central's $200 Workbench
A nice bench with two metal vises, a solid top and a useful bench slave.

Popular Woodworking's $175 Workbench
Though made from softwoods, if you make it from clear Southern Yellow Pine it would be dimensionally stable and work very well. It uses inexpensive vises and straight forward joinery so it's not too difficult to build, either.

A Simple Solid Bench From Down Under
A good solid bench. Just add a vise or two and you've got a useable bench.

A Simple Version of a Traditional Design
A solid bench from American Workshop.

Easy Bench From DIY
Simple garage bench that features a tool rack.

Woodware Designs
Simple and easy to build

Handyman USA
Two by material makes this one inexpensive. These plans are for a simple workbench you would build for your garage or along the wall in your shop. It is a sturdy bench, built simply, but to last as long as the structure you put it in.

Popular Mechanics
Popular Mechanic's workbench plan. More of a garage type, but a good place to start for a simple bench. With the exception of a few rabbets, dadoes, and grooves the entire piece is constructed with simple lap and butt joints. Looks pretty strong. Easy to build.

Popular Mechanics Simple DIY Bench
A good sturdy bench that uses a trestle base unlike most simple to build benches.

Simple and Sturdy
Simple and basic. Just framing material. But all the info is there and it's a good place to start. If you lowered it to about 20" or so, this would make a nice assembly table, too.

Cheap, Sturdy Workbench
Inexpensive but solid. With a leg vise it's like a Kirby bench meets a Roubo.

The $20 Workbench
More of a work table, actually. But, with armed with a handful of 2x4's and some left over OSB you could make a quick work table or assembly table for projects in your garage.

More Complex Benches

Popular Mechanic's Cabinet Maker's Bench
What a nice workbench plan for free! This cabinet maker's style bench uses a tradiional sled base and a nice thick maple top. It's designed to use a metal front vise and a Veritas twin-screw end vise, but you could modify the design easily to use other style vises. This is probably the easiest to build of the benches in this section.

Jeff Greef's Traditional Bench
A classic European bench with all wooden vises. Beyond the constructing the vises, this is a good plan that's not too complicated to build if you should decide to buy your vise hardware.

Keith Rucker's Traditional Bench
A well documented downloadable plan on a nice traditional woodworking bench are available for free. Keith's site takes you carefully through building his traditional bench in a thorough step-by-step process. Nice job!

The Holtzapffel Workbench
One of the great benches that should be considered by any woodworker thinking about building a traditional bench. The original version of the bench was created in 1875 but this slightly modernized version makes it a great choice for a woodworker looking for traditional and contemporary features. It's a hybrid that works extremely well for both hand and power tools. There's a free plan available at Popular Woodworking, a 3D Model and a preview video and a great story of David Pearce's experience building one and a class report of building one at Kelly Mehler's School.

Bob Lang's 21st Century Bench
Bob is an editor for Popular Woodworking. His bench is a something of a combination of the Holtzapffel Workbench with several modern twists from Veritas' best ideas added. Personally, I think that this bench is one the very best modern bench designs I've seen and takes into consideration every possible way of holding your work to the bench and will work extremely well for both hand and power tools. This link takes you to an intro video. You can order the detail plans and DVD online or use the free 3D model available.

Bob Sosenko's Workbench
Bob created a bench that was featured in Fine Woodworking Magazine. It's got a good solid conventional structure. The plans are fully detailed.

How-To Bench
Traditional in style but with several twists including an unusual knee vise.

Specialty Benches

Bench Top Bench
Jeff Miller has designed an excellent mini-bench that you sit on top of your workbench for doing specialty work requires more height such as working with powertools.