How To Select The Best Woodworking Bench
Woodworking can be done on any flat surface, even on the garage floor or on top of a piece of plywood that is stacked on top of a trash can.
It can get the job done, but not as easily as when you are working on your woodworking bench, not to even mention the countless ways your project could go wrong without a stable workbench.
A good woodworking bench makes woodworking tasks so much easier, so it makes sense to get into the game the right way by getting a good one.
So, what’s a guy to look for? We are going to share some characteristics of good woodworking benches and a number of store-bought options to help you get started fast. If you are having hard time choosing the best woodworking bench, don’t forget to check our bench reviews.
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What To Consider When Buying A Woodworking Bench
Choosing a woodworking bench can be a tricky business as there are many important factors you have to consider. If choosing a bench randomly, you might easily end up with a bench that won’t work for your workplace nor the needs of your projects.
From measurements to material, before heading out to find the perfect fit make sure you are fully aware of the characteristics you require from the woodworking bench. Here’s a breakdown to 4 most important factors that you should keep in mind when buying a woodworking bench.
1. Work Surface Measurements
A work bench that is too low or too high can be a pain to work at. If the bench is too low, you’ll have to hunker over to reach down to it. If it’s too high, you’ll have to hold your arms higher than is comfortable. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure that your bench, tools an machines are at a comfortable height.
To figure out the right height, stand upright with your arms hanging relaxed next to your sides. Measure from the floor to anywhere in your palm, that’s the height you’re looking for in a work bench. A bench in that height range will be comfortable to work at.
When it comes to woodworking benches, the length can never be too long, as long as it will fit in your workshop. On the other hand, woodworking benches can be too wide. Anything over 3 feet wide is really too much.
If a 3-foot bench is located against a wall, the last foot of width is pretty well wasted, as it’s too far to reach comfortably. What about hanging tools on the wall behind the bench? There’s no way to reach them with an overly wide work bench.
18” – 24” wide benches are great sizes to work at, being wide enough but without being too wide.
2. Work Surface Material
The work surface of a woodworking bench can be pretty much anything, as long as it’s flat and stout. Flatness is probably the most important aspect, as a warped work surface will cause issues. Heavy work surfaces can take a beating and provide mass when hand nailing projects.
Have you ever tried to hand nail on a flimsy surface? Flimsy surfaces flex under the hammer blow which lessens the force on the nail. This makes it harder to drive nails.
Look for a woodworking bench design that has a thick work surface made of dense material. Such a surface will last a long time and provide great support when hand nailing.
3. Work Surface Overhang
A woodworking bench must have overhang on the front and ends, especially if it doesn’t have woodworking vises. How else are you going to clamp work down so that it won’t move when you don’t want it to?
Speaking of clamping, it is often said that the work bench must have woodworking vises mounted on the end and front edge. This is not entirely true as you can definitely work without vises if you have a decent woodworking bench with overhang.
Vises are handy though, so if the design has vises, all the better for you!
4. Strong Frame and Leg Structure
Here’s another area where more is better than less. Your workbench needs to have a ridged frame and strong legs. There’s nothing worse than trying to hand plane a piece of wood when the bench racks back and forth.
Look for a sturdy design that has some heft to it and you won’t have any troubles!
Best Woodworking Benches
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After you’ve established the key factors important for finding the best woodworking bench for you, you have the one last important choice to make: choose the most fitting one.
We are currently reviewing 3 of the finest woodworking benches out there for a beginner woodworker, all of which are alike when it comes to their durability but have slight differences in price, measurements and extra elements that make the particular bench stand out.
If you haven’t made up your mind yet, read this breakdown which will definitely help you choose the best woodworking bench for the money.
Sjobergs Hobby SJO-33281 Hobby Plus Bench
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Sjobergs’ woodworking benches are recognized all over the world for their durability, handy design and extra features that make these benches well worth the money. This Hobby Plus bench is the perfect fit for a woodworking enthusiast, especially since it is equipped with two vices and bench dogs. This could become your one and only woodworking station!
The Sjobergs’ bench is the highest in price in the selection but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s expensive. Quite contrary, the price for this woodworking bench is affordable for any budget if you are looking for true quality.
The model is made to fit for a beginner woodworker, therefore it has compact measurements that allow you to work efficiently even if your workshop has limited space, yet again it’s not too small and can cover the needs you have for small to medium sized woodworking projects.
The key dimensions: – Length of worktop: 52-3/4” (1340 mm)- Total length: 57-7/8” (1470 mm)- Width of worktop: 5/8” (500 mm) – Total width: 24-3/4” (630 mm)- Working height: 32-9/32” (820 mm)
Frame & Material
The bench is made of hard Nordic birch and the frame is built for a long life with normal use. Holdfast clamps can be used in the top and in the trestle legs. The top includes 2 double rows of bench dog holes and 4 unbreakable spring-loaded bench dogs are included.
The top also features woodworking vises at the end and the front edge. The front vise can be set up for left or right-handed woodworkers. The trestle style construction of the base prevents racking and provides for a very sturdy work bench.
The Sjobergs Hobby model is worth every penny invested in it. Sturdy Nordic birch frame, 2 vices and bench dogs are more than than enough to cover your needs. If you have limited space in your workshop but you want the best there is, then this is easily the pick for you!
If you are a bit more advanced, you can also customize the bench the way it fits your needs as the bench comes without a finish, hence you can customize it and make it perfect for you!
Grizzly H7724 Birch Workbench With Drawers
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This workbench is almost like a dream-come-true for any beginner woodworker who doesn’t have loads of storaging space. The beautiful handy design packs 6 drawers and 2 drop-door storage units which is more than you’d ever ask from a workspace!
The Grizzly workbench is in the same price range as Sjobergs but provides much more than just a workspace – it is a great storaging cabinet with extra gadgets that all great workbenches must have. Therefore, it is fairly priced and it is a money-saver thanks to the extra space it provides you!
You could guess the bench is pretty huge in measurements when it has such a storaging capacity. That’s not the case here as the Grizzly woodworking bench model is in fact very compact in size and will fit your workshop nicely! Also, it is a bit bigger in length than Sjobergs’ model so it might be handier in the long-run.
The key dimensions: – Length of worktop: 60″- Total length: 66”- Width of worktop: 20”- Total width: 20”- Working height: 34”
Frame & Material
Grizzly workbench is almost perfect in every aspect and similarly to other high-quality workbenches, it is crafted from birch. It is constructed in Trestle style and features an end woodworking vise. The Trestle style base will provide a sturdy foundation for working on your projects.
There are no bench dog holes in the top, however it won’t likely be a problem as there are easy ways to work around not having those. On the plus side, no bench dog holes means no debris will drop into the top drawers.
The Grizzly birch woodworking bench is our top recommendation as it is not only handy in size, it features massive storaging capacity which is always a perk for a woodworker – you can never have too many storaging cabinets.
Thanks to the sturdy hardwood base and compact measurements, it is a reliable asset that will help you out for the years to come. No matter if you are a beginner or more advanced, this versatile workspace will make your life a lot easier and considering the price, it is one heck of a good deal!
Windsor Design Workbench With 4 Drawers
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The Windsor Design workbench is yet another great choice for a hobby woodworker. The bench features 4 felt-lined drawers and 2 double rows of bench dog holes with both metal and wood bench dogs included.
This bench is the cheapest of the bunch and therefore, it might be the best fit for a limited budget. Though low cost, it matches up to the quality of the other higher priced versions having hardwood frame and even a couple of drawers to assist with storaging.
The bench is surprisingly big for the money and has a decent worktop size – big enough to be comfortable even when working on some bigger projects. Thanks to the compact design it fit easily to your workshop.The key dimensions: – Length of worktop: 60″- Total length: approx. 64”- Width of worktop: 20-1/8″- Total width: 20”- Working height: 33-1/4”
Frame & Material
The bench appears to be constructed from Obeche hardwood which is another sturdy material for long-lasting construction. The top includes 2 double rows of bench dog holes and wood and metal bench dogs are included.
There is also a woodworking vise at the end and should you want to, you can possibly install a front mounted vise. The four drawers provide handy storage for hand tools like screwdrivers, hand planes and supplies, the trestle style construction of the base prevents racking and provides for a very sturdy workbench.
All-in-all, the Windsor Design workbench is a nice companion, especially if your budget is limited. It is not as deeply designed and perfected as the other two benches, as there is only one vice, the bench dog holes are drilled through the surface (allowing debris to fall to the top drawers) and the drawers can be a little flimsy if you are not using glue for assembling it, but for the price they offer, there are plenty of perks.