The True Mechanic’s Workbench

Hannah repurposed one of my old workbenches to fit into a shed for motorbike repairs. Probably more work than building from new but the wood was free and the practice good for her. Watching her move through the work with such confidence showed the progress she’s made over the last couple of years. Even in this she learned so much. All of the wood was secondhand but good stuff. She lifts, twists and adapts techniques as though she’s been doing it for years and it’s not this that surprises me so much as the way she now understands the tools and the wood, what splits, what shaves and pares and what she can adapt to effect the work.  For my own part I saw her drawings and her pricing of things, her working through mental processes to put on paper her intent. She took her time, resized what needed resizing and planed all the parts ready for new joints. Her decision making became evident as she plodded on and then before we knew it the bench was done. It’s size constraints are due to its location. Not much depth because of the doorway and the width of work room remaining. She plans to fix it to the back shed wall with brackets. The under-shelf will hold drawers.

Now she’s ready for a new project. We’ll look at that today. I’m also ready for a new project too.


  1. Mario Fusaro on 16 August 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Congratulations to both of you. Hannah, starting from the bottom, has now become a craftsman. This is the way it’s supposed to work, not like today where everyone wants to start at the top and make top money yet not knowing the job.

    • Richard on 16 August 2018 at 1:05 pm

      The worse, if you ask me, is those who know a few things and go on promoting themselves with youtube videos, blogs and even a book!

      Their contents are hollow, nothing is refreshing, and they add little to the body of woodworking knowledge or practice, other than adding (unjustified in some cases) fame to themselves and along the way money to their pockets.

      People are copying them…look at the Instagrams and you will see all kinds of nonsense comments.

      • Joe on 16 August 2018 at 6:57 pm

        I’ve seen a lot of this as well. Creating novel content is difficult.

  2. Joe on 16 August 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Nice bench. I have a spot in my garage (not where I woodwork) in which I’m currently using a card table that could use a bench like this. It would be used for more domestic repairs/chores around the house and some finishing work in a pinch. It would have a metal vise like she has.

  3. Ronald Dodd on 20 August 2018 at 12:25 am

    On a metalworking vice the rear jaw needs to be level with or slightly forward of the front face of the bench. This way parts that are longer than the height of the vice can be effectively clamped in the vice.

    • Paul Sellers on 20 August 2018 at 9:00 am

      That’s right, and this one had to have different anchor points in that a restricted work space disallowed a permanent overhanging vise causing loss of workspace/walk-in/walk-out space because it took up needed access in a smallish shed. In this carefully thought out and considered plan the vise can be readily moved forward for those very occasional overhang/drop position anchoring and then out of the way for undoing a nut from a bolt. This is a motorcycle assembly and disassembly shed so most vise work can be done in the back position. So we did get it right for the conditions.

  4. Simon on 19 September 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Regarding metalworking benches –


    you have two grey top surfaced benches in your new ‘garage’/set; during your YT walkthrough of the new set (‘Garage Update no. 1 – )
    you refer to one of the benches as your metalworking bench. I’ve searched the your blog, YT, and Facebook and found no information about it. Is it possible you could share some information about them? I imagine you don’t need to make another one so a YouTube build would not interest you but perhaps some information on your blog would be very welcome.
    Many thanks