For woodworkers, their beloved workbench is like their personal witch's cauldron-it's where all the magic happens. And if you've been into woodworking for a while, no doubt, you'll realize just how your workbench design can affect your actual work.
The difference in workbench style and design is where the woodworking craft gets personal. Many families even have their favorite heirloom workbench passed down through generations.
Wondering what the different styles of woodworking benches out there are?
This article will let you know just that. Starting from how many hours you spend doing woodwork to whether you like sitting or standing while working- everything matters when selecting a workbench style.
We've accumulated a list of the most practical styles that woodworkers love, and hopefully, you'll love them too.
While looking to make a workbench, there is a specific list that woodworkers often keep in mind- balance, portability, size, sturdiness, vise, etc. Usually, the Moravian style of workbenches meets all of those demands. The origin of this design is the Salem Community of North Carolina, dating back to the 18th century.
It is a bit different from traditional English or French designs often seen in benches, but no doubt, it'll serve you well in crafting projects. The Moravian benches don't flex under pressure, and they have a solidly locked base due to the wedged mortise and tenon joints.
This style of workbenches provides a robust and sturdy work surface. The design usually has a top consisting of two parts- a tool well in the back and a solid work surface upfront.
Since these types of benches are portable, they can be taken apart and moved around quickly while shifting workplaces as you travel. A vital feature of these benches is the wood screw leg vises that have excellent holding power.
So what are you waiting for? Get yourself a blueprint and start building your very own Moravian workbench! You might agree with us that it’s the best woodworking bench for beginners at wood crafting.
This workbench is very much like a torsion box in terms of design. The oldest appearance of its design is in the book "Mechanic's Companion" by Peter Nicholson, which dates as early as 1831.
These types of benches have a thinner top as it has wide front aprons and interior ribs. So it shouldn't be mistaken as your standard Continental workbench sold in markets.
The best thing about this design of the benches is that they can be modified as you wish. While making them, you can switch up the wood material and change a few of the parts here and there. Personalize it the way you want and need. Another great thing about English benches is that they need lesser glue.
Unlike the Roubo benches that require more mass, these don’t. One of the things to keep in mind for this type of bench is that it’s more suitable for woodworkers using hand tools than machinery. This means that it’s not sturdier than the ones specifically meant for heavy machine usage.
Most benches nowadays use designs that abandon the front apron totally and try to use as much width of the bench as possible for a rear vise jaw. But for these, that’s not the case. Such benches are usually 39” high, 6 feet long, and 3 feet deep. It’s perfect for ones who are bending more towards using hand tools than machines.
European-Style Cabinetmaker’s Workbench
Just as the name suggests, this is the bench for cabinet makers. These may be constructed from European Beech or Black Locust wood, depending on the cost and availability.
Black Locust is one of the hardest and densest woods out there, so it's a good choice if you're starting out and still experimenting. A bonus is that the wood looks really high-end and has a nice color to it.
European-style workbenches tend to have a distinct feature of being sturdy and heavy. You’ll often hear adjectives like “smooth like butter” or “holds tight as two coats of paint” being thrown at these types of benches.
When you get to use one of them on a regular basis, you'll realize that it's quite true. In fact, most of these are so dynamic in design that cabinet makers often use them for years without even considering a change.
The best thing about these benches is their small size. They are perfect for anyone looking to get the job done efficiently but can only work in a small apartment space, garage, or basement. So if you’re a cabinet maker, go on and make a DIY European style workbench immediately. You won’t be disappointed.
Inspired by the French-style workbench of Andre Roubo dating back to the 17th century, the Roubo bench has been quite popular for woodworkers all over the globe. It's functional and unique, as well as aesthetic. You might agree that this bench is indeed a jackpot for any aspiring craftsman.
First of all, you need to take a careful look at the wood moisture before building your own Roubo style bench. The quality of the wood will matter a lot regardless of the design of your workbench. That's why it's so important to study and choose correctly, depending on your environment and usage.
You have to plan every surface of the bench properly, and each corner should be an accurate 90 degree. For this project, you're going to need large slabs of wood.
Check out lists of tools from the designs available at woodshops and make sure you have the basic stuff like a saw, drillers, and screws. You can even check out the best wood lathes review to decide on what to use.
The unique thing about this style of benches is that they have a place to clamp down pieces of wood and secure them as you shape them and work on them. These benches are perfect for cabinet makers.
You can unscrew the leg vise anytime and fit the piece as farther down as necessary. This means you can work on medium to large size doors on this workbench easily.
How to Choose Smartly?
The step to choosing your perfect workbench isn’t going to be easy. Movarian, Scandinavian, European, Roubo- there are so many styles to choose from. And then there are questions like what wood to use, what’s the best wood router, what type of finish should you use, etc. that might be popping into your mind.
Honestly, it all depends on many factors as to which style you should go for. A good way to find out which is your type is to watch lots of videos and tutorials on how different benches are made and used.
It might give you a fresh perspective on many of the designs. Besides this, a list of the other things to consider is given as follows-
- Your use of power tools or hand tools and to what extent.
- Finances your willing to pour on this bench.
- Mobility of the design depending on how often you move and travel while working.
- Your actual purpose for woodworking. Are you doing this as a hobby or commercially?
- What sort of products are you going to be making on this bench? Consider the differences in making small birdhouses, boxes, and large intricate furniture.
- Your living space and available room for the bench is also a big factor.
- Are you planning to do lots of joinery works like dovetail, tenons, etc.?
Consider and reconsider all these thoroughly before settling on a design. Of course, you can change or rebuild your workbench. But if you're going to put in the effort to make one, it's better to make sure you get some good amount of use out of it before you upgrade to a new one.
Out of all the different styles of woodworking benches, yours needs to fit your taste and meet your needs. Of course, despite your workbench, your skill is what’s going to set you apart from others. But it’s a bonus when you have an awesome bench aiding your way.