For information on the vise, see our vise FAQs
How do I make a workbench?
You can follow the workbench YouTube series and blog series:
How do you fit a bench stop?
What finish do you recommend?
There is no definite answer for this as it a choice of what kind of finish you want to go for. We have used a timber stain which stops the bench from showing up dirt as well as a varnish which protects and makes it easy to clean. You could also us a danish oil which would protect and not change the appearance of the wood.
Can you make height adjustments?
We regularly put blocks under each leg of the benches at the workshop to raise the height for the students on the courses. We have in the past recommended that people could find a way of fixing these to the bottom by creating some form of sleeve so that you can attach the blocks to the legs for a more secure fix.
We are planning on experimenting with a few other ways of doing it, such as having a board that goes under both the legs at one end to raise them up. This should help them stay in place and avoid any possible problems with an uneven floor.
Would a smaller size bench work?
With anything under a 6′ long by 3′ wide bench, you need to be aware of wether the bench is heavy enough to stay put when in use. We don’t recommend much smaller unless you are truly constrained to size by space. However, if that is the case then you can add bottom weight by adding a shelf crossing from leg frame to leg frame and adding one or two bags of sand. This is to make up for the lower weight of smaller bench tops being disproportionate to the leverage from the act of working with hand tools. You can also anchor the bench to a wall or floor via brackets too. This works just as well and frees the shelf for storage and stowing.
What wood/timber do you suggest?
We used construction grade timber for most of the benches here at the workshop. Paul has got his from B&Q, as he thought that would be what most people have access too, as well as from a local timber merchant. Most pines and whitewoods work fine and are plenty heavy and sturdy enough. You can use hardwood if you like to, although that does make them harder to maneuver.
When selecting your wood cup across the width or twist in your boards can cause problems. It isn’t a big issue if the wood is bowed along its length, particularly for the top, as the process of laminating them tends to help straighten them out somewhat, the rest of which you get out with the plane. Some of the cheaper construction grade timber can be more tricky to plane in comparison to something like European Redwood, but do work for a workbench.