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Thread: Workbench thoughts?

  1. #1

    Workbench thoughts?

    Iím currently acquiring tools as Iím getting into woodworking as a hobby. Will mostly be building stuff for the house. Dining table, coffee tables, shed, greenhouse, planters, night stands, etc.

    The main power tools Iíll have will all be bench top variety, ie. Dewalt planer, craftsman jointer, Bosch 12Ēmitre saw, Bosch 4100 table saw, WEN 8Ē drill press, WEN 9Ē bandsaw, and a slew of smaller stuff like hand tools, power tools, clamps, etc.

    I can see myself getting pretty into this and so this will likely continue into a long term hobby.

    My question is, will this workbench continue to serve my needs as a woodworker? Or is there a better option to start with?

    Thanks guys!

    P.S. The wife wants to keep parking in the garage, so the main appeal of this one is that I can keep everything tucked away against one wall of a double garage.

    [ANA WHITE Ultimate Roll Away Workbench with Miter Saw Stand](

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Just saw the title and my first thought was hand tools, so no I don't think that would last you very long if you plan to be a dedicated handtool user. OTOH- you don't mention what my mind goes to as handtools, that's my prejudice, and that bench seems like you could go a long way with it using a more power tool approach.

    Christopher Schwarz has written extensively about historic and handtool workbenches, and his company has recently brought another workbench book by Scott Landis back into print, and he proposes a test: How will you work on the face, end, and edge of a board?

    Seems like the Festool MFT, & clones, are the state of the art answer to that for hand power tools. For bigger stationary power tools, cross cut (sled on table saw or sliding miter saw), table saw or track saw, and jointer & planer are the answer. For traditional / old-fashion handtools a face vice and either a planing stop & holdfasts or a tail vise and dogs would be necessary to accomplish all three tasks.

    I think many (most?) woodworkers use a combination of techniques, so I guess my advice is to consider the basic questions versus your own plans and interests.
    Last edited by David Bassett; 05-09-2021 at 3:09 AM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Fairbanks AK
    I agree with David. Chris Schwarz 2010 and 2019 (?) copywrite books are a good investment at this stage of your planning and eventual investment. I haven't read Landis' book, but if Lost Art Press liked it enough to reprint it there is clearly some value in it.

    You will end up, from post one, needing at least two benches, one at a good height for benchtop power tools and a second at a good height for working with hand tools. The link you provided might be a good outfeed table for your planer if it is at the right height, or an assembly table; but probably isn't going to be at the right height or stable enough for hand planing or chiseling out a mortise. No offense, you aren't the first or the last with this challenge.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Collegeville PA (30 min west of Philly)
    Blog Entries
    When I was first starting this hobby, I quickly realized that I didn't know what I didn't know... if that makes sense. So, I often opted for the most reasonable choice based on my current level of understanding, and accepted the fact that I would change my mind as time went by.

    My first workbench was a sheet of plywood across two saw horses, and I built LOTS of things there. I added a simple vise from a garage sale. Total investment was about $40, and I ended up re-using the plywood for a jig later, and gave the vise to a friend.

    Next, I bought a maple butcher block work station for $75 from an old factory. I slapped a slightly better vise to this one, and used it for a decade without complaint. It is slated to be refinished to become a kitchenette countertop in the rental apartment we are finishing on our property.

    Most recently, I built a split top roubo bench basically following Benchcrafted's plans. This bench ended up costing me about $1000 all-in, and I suspect I will use it until I'm done woodworking (hopefully many years from now).

    And, I'm separately planning an assembly table.

    My point is, I think building a design like you linked will likely be very useful and get you on the path. You will have plenty more knowledge in the future to revisit the decision and change course if needed.... and since you will be a woodworker by then, the good news is that you'll be able to deconstruct/alter/repurpose your first work station when that time comes.
    - Bob R.
    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Mesa, Arizona
    Mike -- I don't believe that Ana White's Ultimate Roll Away Workbench with Miter Saw Stand will meet your needs for either the long or short terms. It appears to lack a decent sized assembly table -- which you'll want to have with the projects you've listed. It looks good in terms of enclosing most of your tools in a small space. It does have a small outfeed table that can be used for assembling smaller projects. But, even if it were larger, you'll want some way of clamping your work to the table -- which this design lacks.

    Rather, I suggest you take a look at Ron Paulk's benches. He has a number of different designs. I suggest you consider The Paulk Smart Station and The Paulk Smart Bench. Together, the bench and station will hold all your bench top power tools and give you the space for assembling your larger projects. They can also be stored in a small space (but, you'll need to provide a place to store your tools). Paulk has a ton of YouTube videos showing how to build his benches (and other designs). He also discusses the hows and whys of the designs. Here's a link to his website: Here's a link to his YouTube channel:

    David Walser
    Mesa, Arizona

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Blog Entries
    Bob R. hits on a good point. Don't think of your "next" bench as your last bench. We all have different methods and change how we do things as we grow in the craft. You may want to different structures; one for a "workbench" and a lower surface for your bench top tools if you will be moving them on and off that surface as you use them. No matter what, ease your angst knowing that whatever yo do will probably change next year, 5 years from now or whenever.
    I always forget . . . Is it the letter "S" or the letter "C" that is silent in the word scent?
    - Glenn (the second "N" is silent) Bradley

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Millstone, NJ
    Agree with the Paulk bench.
    Is this a 1 or 2 car garage?

    I started off selling my wife on the fact that all the tools are mobile and I can move them for you once snow is coming. (I believed it at the time)
    Now I always snow blow and clean her car off when I leave in the morning.(Also put a remote start on her car)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2021
    Spartanburg South Carolina
    I have a small shop (10' x 16') and built the Steve Ramsey BMW (basic mobile workbench) out of a sheet of plywood and some 2x4's. I put wheels on it so I could move it around my shop. It ended up being totally ineffective for any type of woodworking. I then embarked on a mostly hand tool build on Will Myers Moravian workbench. It is about 2' wide and a little over 6' long. If I need to I can brake it down without tools in less than a minute. The top is very heavy so I wouldn't want to do this on a daily basis but it can be done. My miter saw took up too much room so I put it in storage. A miter saw station can easily take up an entire wall. If may depend on the work you will be doing but I don't think the OP will be very happy with a rolling workbench.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    northern va
    you want a super-sturdy work surface that you can clamp onto and use all your force on when doing hand work; you want an assembly table low enough to clamp work and do glue-ups. you want a work station with a sacrificial top that you can machine or cut on top of without worry. no one work-bench is going to do all three perfectly. the super-sturdy work bench is the most important since it will accelerate your skill development the quickest.

  10. #10
    Thanks Bill! I think Iím going to with this build as it seems to touch on all those points.

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    Last edited by Mike Baylis; 05-11-2021 at 2:06 PM.

  11. #11
    It doesnít matter at this point. Pick something and go with it. Donít try to anticipate what you might do and might not do. Donít spend too much or make it too nice. After you work off it for a while youíll know what you need for your second bench. You donít know what you donít know.

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