View Poll Results: Freestanding or Against Wall?

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  • Freestanding

    40 78.43%
  • Against Wall

    11 21.57%
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Thread: Workbench: Freestanding or against wall?

  1. #1

    Workbench: Freestanding or against wall?

    If you have the room to choose... do you prefer a Freestanding Workbench or against a wall?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SoCal
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    19,527
    I have had both. The free standing is much more versatile/useful to me.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Sebastopol, California
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    2,319
    I wish I could find out whether a freestanding bench worked better than my bench up against the wall; but my shoplet is too small, so it must be against the wall, where it's firmly bolted in place. It at least has the virtue of rigidity.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    I have had both. The free standing is much more versatile/useful to me.
    Same here, against the wall benches work best as a flat storage surface. I currently have two freestanding, two against the wall but one of those is a sharpening bench and the other against the wall bench ends up being a storage surface. I guess you could say I have three against the wall benches because right now a Moravian bench is apart and standing in a corner and is not much use .

    ken

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
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    My woodworking bench is free standing. Until recently it did have a bunch of boxes blocking the area behind it. Moving the items stored behind the bench was done to work on some larger timbers recently. It has helped me to decide on making my new bench to be somewhat ambidextrous in design.

    There are three other benches in my shop that were there when we moved here and another built by me to hold my power sharpening equipment. All of these are against the wall. Only the benches used for sharpening have not become horizontal storage facilities.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Fairbanks AK
    Posts
    95
    I prefer freestanding, but I agree with Bill about rigidity. My first choice would be freestanding and rigid. Second choice against the wall and rigid, last choice not rigid.

  7. #7
    Definitely free-standing. I have 2 large workbenches and they are placed away from walls to be able to work on both sides of the benches. If your workbench is designed to be against a wall however, this might not be a good option. I have seen workbenches with a tool well running the length of one side which defeats any use of that side. My workbenches have a small tool well running along the center with dog holes on either side. The versatility of having such a workbench away from the wall cannot be emphasized enough. So definitely in the "away from a wall" camp.

    Norman
    WOODSKILLS

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Pirollo View Post
    Definitely free-standing. I have 2 large workbenches and they are placed away from walls to be able to work on both sides of the benches. If your workbench is designed to be against a wall however, this might not be a good option. I have seen workbenches with a tool well running the length of one side which defeats any use of that side. My workbenches have a small tool well running along the center with dog holes on either side. The versatility of having such a workbench away from the wall cannot be emphasized enough. So definitely in the "away from a wall" camp.

    Norman
    WOODSKILLS
    Ain't necessarily so. A well designed tool tray will not interfere with most operations, about the only one that is a problem is clamping something to that edge. That said, I can use both hands for most operations and that could also have an effect. BTW, the "stuff" workbench that is against the wall had a double slab of equal size, both 280mm (11") which is not optimum. The next bench had an asymmetrical split slab with the main work side 381mm ~ 15" that is almost perfect. With each build the benches get better with fewer thangs that make you howl at the moon. Only two of the benches have split slabs, the last three builds have tool trays.

    ken

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    5,386
    I like freestanding because of 360 access. Unfortunately that also makes 4 sides things can fall off.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    21
    I currently have mine against a wall. I hope to clear out more space in the garage at some point to make a freestanding one. I should honestly get rid of some of my powertools, they take up a lot of space and I don't use them much.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Posts
    17
    I have both a freestanding workbench and one against the wall. I very much prefer the freestanding one; I have many more options for workholding and better access to the work without having to move it around once it's properly held in place. Longer pieces preparing for assembly can be arranged across the bench rather than needing to be set up along it or on the floor (thanks to the wall being in the way). My freestanding bench is still a work in progress, but ever since I had the freestanding bench finished well enough to use it at all (meaning: laminated top clamped to the leg assemblies), I find that I use the feestanding bench for all my woodworking and the against-the-wall bench mostly for my sharpening station and temporary tool storage for frequently-used tools rather than for woodworking.

  12. #12
    I have a free standing bench in the middle of my shop. It buts up to my assembly/ finishing table along the back side of it. My A/F table is roughly 4” lower so I can still clamp across the top if needed. It also works as tool an parts over flow when I’m working at my bench then when I’m ready to glue up I just walk around an all my pieces are there an ready.
    Last edited by Tony Mize; 05-06-2019 at 7:46 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    South West Ontario
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    821
    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Pirollo View Post
    I have seen workbenches with a tool well running the length of one side which defeats any use of that side. My workbenches have a small tool well running along the center with dog holes on either side.

    Norman
    WOODSKILLS
    The tool tray along one side of my bench IS the use of that side. Very easy to argue that a small tool well in the centre mucks up the main bench by reducing the work area. You can only stand on one side at a time so trying to do different operations on each side at the same time seems pointless. A lot of moving and tools. It is easy to have a second row of dog holes on the far side for large panel work. A second freestanding bench behind you makes more sense so you only have to turn around to do something totally different, not many of us have that kind of room however. My aim for a deep tool tray is keeping the main bench work surface clear to maneuver things.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    168
    Freestanding! I could not consider putting my bench against a wall and losing the freedom walk around it.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Fretwell View Post
    The tool tray along one side of my bench IS the use of that side. Very easy to argue that a small tool well in the centre mucks up the main bench by reducing the work area. You can only stand on one side at a time so trying to do different operations on each side at the same time seems pointless. A lot of moving and tools. It is easy to have a second row of dog holes on the far side for large panel work. A second freestanding bench behind you makes more sense so you only have to turn around to do something totally different, not many of us have that kind of room however. My aim for a deep tool tray is keeping the main bench work surface clear to maneuver things.
    There is a wondrous variety in benches with or without a tool well. There is also different reasonings behind the placement of a tool well. Many folks do different types of projects in many different ways. Often there is more than one project taking place at the same time. Sometimes mid project one sees a need for a modification and needs some open bench space to work on it. If one is cutting a lot of parts for a project, the space on the other side of the well can be a great space to store them or other work in progress.

    Your point on a tool tray deep enough to have it clear for maneuvering the work also has me thinking on making it wide enough or tall enough so any one of my planes can be in the well but not get whacked if something slides over the well.

    As far as standing on both sides at the same time, part of my planning is to have one side a right hand bench and the other side a left hand oriented bench.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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