Woodworking Bench I: What's Your Style?

This is a guest post by Chris Adkins of High Rock Woodworking.  It originally appeared at highrockwoodworking.com.  Feel free to check back there for more of Chris's woodworking rambling.


Hoffman & Hammer Workbench
What is the best woodworking bench design?  Well, I could end this here and say whatever is best for YOU, but I won’t.

In short that is the answer though, many of us get hung up on the style of the work bench we use whether it is a traditional woodworkers bench, carving bench, a door slab with legs under it, or maybe even a couple of saw horses to hold your work. 

The traditional style woodworkers bench such as the Hoffman & Hammer Workbench shown above with its shoulder and tail vise, bench dogs for securing your work in place, and a solid heavy top for years of wear and tear is what I think of as the standard.
Scott Landis
The Workbench Book

But even a traditional workbench has no standard set of plans that all must follow, but great ideas can be gathered from books such as The Workbench Book by Scott Landis or search the internet to find hundreds for sets of plans, but styles vary depending on the primary purpose and what the woodworker wants.

Veritas Bench Hold Down
Every woodworker has different needs that their workbench must meet.  You may be a new woodworker that only builds basic bird houses and just need a flat surface to work off of.  Or maybe you need a shoulder vise for clamping you work in place on occasion.  Or you could mill all of your own lumber by hand and need a shoulder and tail vise to secure your boards in any number of ways to ensure you can plane and joint all faces of the board no matter the length.

For my own personal needs, I currently get by with my shoulder vise and a little help from my Veritas Bench Hold Down.  But as I grow as a woodworker I can see where my needs are changing and requiring more complexity in the bench I use.

Tomorrow I will post part 2 of this series, until then keep woodworking!

Chris Adkins