Design ideas for workbench and need explaination on types of accessories

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Forum topic by dragginbutt posted 12-05-2009 12:27 AM 3245 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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28 posts in 3123 days

12-05-2009 12:27 AM

Many questions so I hope you will bear with me. I am looking at building a workbench and I see so many different types that ideas run in circles. I have a couple ideas to throw out and hopefully I can get some answers.
1) Width. How wide should it be? I see 4 ft wide, I see much less. Even worked on a 5 ft square bench in High School that was great What are the advantages and disadvantages?
2) tail vise versus a “regular” wood working vise on the corner?
3) Dog designs. Round or square?
4) Tray in middle, side etc? What is it for? Do I need one?
5) what about an adjustable height? My Shopsmith adjusts height by raising the table height. I’d like to have a bench that could also be used as an outfeed, but I’d also need to be able to raise and lower it to match the table saw. I also think a much lower bench would be nice when working on larger pieces. I have considered incorporating some form of lift device, either mount a scissor lift from an industrial cart, or maybe even a motorcycle jack somehow underneath the bench top. I don’t think I’d need more than 5 inches of lift though if I just want to match the table saw’s adjustabilities. Thoughts?
6) Open versus closed with storage underneath? The lift would drive this, but just wondering if anyone has any ideas on this.

6 replies so far

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3868 days

#1 posted 12-05-2009 12:40 AM

It all depends on how you plan to use your bench.

Why don’t you give us some ideas about…

  • what types of projects you plan to build
  • the types of hand or power tools you use
  • the type of shop you have
  • the amount of space you have
  • your budget
  • your bench-building skill/comfort level, etc…

...and we will take it from there. But keep in mind that all of the things you listed above are ultimately a matter of personal preference with regard to how you work.

-- Happy woodworking!

View dragginbutt's profile


28 posts in 3123 days

#2 posted 12-05-2009 12:58 AM

Good thoughts… I have a 16×24 dedicated workshop. I use primarily a Shopsmith that I inherited from my father as well as a Compound mitre saw, and a router table. I have a drill press, and the SHopsmith jig saw and band saw and I have dust collection (Grizzly)

I generally build furniture and storage projects, as well as toys for the grandkids. I also dabble in wood carving. I am pretty confident in building skills, and money isn’t a huge issue. I think I want to build my own bench to say I did it myself. The ability to use it as an outfeed for teh shopsmith is important. I have considered building two smaller units that somehow can be attached if I need a wider table top, and can be seperated so I can use it one for infeed and one for outfeed. Again, both need height adjustaility to match the shopsmith table saw table.

One other idea I had floating around that I didn’t mention before, is has anyone mounted the metal track you normally see on a router table? WIth all the neat little clamps etc that are available, just wondering if anyone has considered it a viable option…

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4091 days

#3 posted 12-05-2009 02:02 AM

Have you seen Christopher Schwarz’s book on workbenches?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3815 days

#4 posted 12-05-2009 02:05 AM

Dragginbutt, if you have not done so I would recommend reading Chris Schwarz’s book, Workbenchs: From Design and Theory to Construction and Use

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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28 posts in 3123 days

#5 posted 12-05-2009 05:23 PM

Thanks, I’ll check it out. ALso, anyone think about the idea of having a split bench design that could be connected when you need a longer bench, then split for infeed and outfeed? Something like two 4×4 squares? Or maybe 2×4. I think that would give a person a lot of options, and could also be used as support tables for other tools when not needed as a work bench.

I admit this is not your average or conventional bench thinking…

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3240 days

#6 posted 12-05-2009 08:48 PM

Check out RJs benches here

And some more ideas on what type of work you think you’ll be doing will help.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

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