The woodworking bench is perhaps the most important tool a fine woodworker can have. As an essential fixture in any workshop it is very important to choose a quality bench. Woodworking benches come in two basic forms, portable and permanent. Both types have several option available for them and should help you insure safety and accuracy in your work. A well set up workbench will also help you to work faster and longer.
Buying vs building
Besides cost, your main considerations are job use, height, and comfort when deciding if you should build your own woodworking bench or if you should buy one.
If you do work in more then one location or are regularly changing locations (like a contractor would) then you are most likely going to want to purchase a portable workbench. The reason for this is because it is very difficult to build a lightweight and collapsible workbench yourself; and when you often set up and tack down your equipment then having a light bench makes a lot of difference.
If you are going to work in a limited location then building a custom workbench is an option. Your first consideration is height. Height is important for two reasons. First and most important is you must make sure that the bench can be set at a comfortable level for your height. Make sure as you are working you will not have to slouch your back or bend your elbows more then 90 degrees. Second, your workbench also can act as a support for your stock as you work on other tools. Having the table top of your bench set to the same height as your table saw is essential for working on big pieces of wood and you do not have anyone else to assist you.
Custom building your own bench is easy when your do not need it to change height. But, if you need to work at several height then purchasing a workbench is a good idea. If you buy a bench, try our a few and check them for comfort. Also check to see if it has adjustable height.
Accessories & safety
Although a large, flat work surface at the right height makes a wonderful workbench, there are a few accessories you should consider.
- Drawers: As an obvious option to your bench, drawers help you keep tools and hardware close at hand.
- Vice: Comes in three popular forms, front vice screw, tail / end vice screw, and quick action vice (metal work)
- Dog holes and Bench dogs: assist with clamping and serve as stops
Your final woodworking bench will be well suited for your needs and if you choose your accessories properly you find you are able to work faster and safer.
Source by David Wegener