When it comes to woodworking, you don’t have to be an expert to buy a woodworking bench. In fact, it is one of the fundamental tools that every beginner woodworker must buy first. For starters, how can you choose the best woodworking bench? First, you need to consider some essential factors when shopping for your new woodworking bench.
In choosing the best woodworking bench, always assess what you need in terms of size, height, and application. Knowing these factors will help you identify the right type of workbench for your needs. Additionally, the best woodworking bench has to be sturdy, efficient, and safe to use regardless of your skill level.
For anyone who has no idea about woodworking, a workbench is just a piece of wooden sawhorses. It is not the case for every woodworker. The best type of woodworking bench serves as your foundation in creating beautiful and functional objects. There are many options out there, so let us help you understand the characteristics of the best workbench for your needs.
Assess Your Needs
There are different workbenches suitable for every skill level and purpose. Every woodworker is unique, so your best option would entirely depend on your characteristics, projects that you will be doing, and the tools that you can handle. Even going back to centuries, there are different styles of workbenches suited for carvers, cabinetmakers, and others. For short, there are various woodworking benches for specific tasks. In assessing your needs, here are some essential factors to consider.
- Footprint – It refers to the overall size of your shop that will dictate your bench’s right capacity. Moreover, take into consideration the size of the workpieces that you intend to do. Today, most commercial models range from 30 inches wide to 90 inches long with protruding vises.
- Ergonomics – As a rule of thumb, big projects need a big bench, while small woodworkers require smaller types. Most workbenches are between 32 “and 38” long, the rule for achieving the optimal height is to calculate from the crease of your wrist to the floor. Take note that you can’t overemphasize the establishment of the required working height. Standing for hours and leaning over a low bench can lead to back pain.
- Mobility vs. Stationary – Woodworkers who often use hand-tools argue the merits of a stationary workbench — one that remains on while pushing and shoving against it when gliding and grinding. Indeed, some European-style workbenches weigh more than 700 pounds that provide weight and unwavering stability. However, if your shop is a multi-purpose room like a garage, mobility can be crucial.
- Always Match the Style With Use – Not all woodworkers require a massive workbench. For example, If you are a box-maker, a five-foot-long woodworking bench might be more than sufficient for hand tools, sanding, and assembly. Always take into consideration the kinds of projects that you’re going to do.
- Budget – Finally, how much money do you intend to spend on woodworking tools? Workbenches can run from $200 to $3,000 tops. If you are a beginner, invest in something durable and with high-quality that is within your budget. Don’t go over your budget to avoid spending your other savings.
How to Choose the Best Woodworking Bench?
Now that you’ve assessed the things you need for your woodworking bench, here are some quick guidelines for picking your next workbench. In addition to the factors mentioned above, these are some things that you also need to know. It will help you get the best type of woodworking bench for your workshop.
There are various types of workbenches to choose from, and selecting the correct bench will depend on your needs. Always consider how you intend to use the workbench. Are you going to use it for woodworking, metalworking, gardening, or something else?
Do you need a heavy-duty workbench? Are you looking for a factory workbench? If so, do you prefer a workbench with a drawer? Or do your equipment and storage devices need a shelving workbench? When you intend to work with equipment that requires a power source, look for an electronic workbench or invest in an electrical power strip add-on.
- Workbench Tables – It consists of a tabletop surface made from either hardwood or metal, set on sturdy wood or metal legs. This conventional workbench is the most useful and widely type of workbench, probably due to its simple design and robust construction. However, this workbench table design has little to no storage options so that you would need to have other means of storing tools and equipment, although some already have a single open shelf under the work surface of the table. Since a workbench table has a free base, it is typically favorable to tasks that require grip and clamping.
- Workbench Cabinets – In contrary to workbench tables, cabinet style workbenches offer an abundance of storage space. Therefore, these are ideal for a handyman with lots of tools and equipment to store. Built-in storage options such as drawers, cabinets, and shelving provide easy access and added convenience. Cabinet workbenches are usually more costly than other workbench types, but the investment might be worthy. It is because it offers you other storage options that you would otherwise have to buy. It is a better option if you are planning to be a professional woodworker.
When it comes to woodworking bench portability, you can choose from three different setups. It involves workbenches with a pegboard, portable workbench, and wall-mounted workbench. From their names, we can already identify the differences, but let’s see the pros and cons of each type.
- Workbenches with Pegboard – Workbenches with a back pegboard offer loads of organization and function in your work area. These tool benches have a board across the back, providing a comfortable place where you can hang woodworking tools and equipment. The backboard prevents items from dropping or rolling off the end of your bench.
- Portable Workbenches – From the word itself, you can quickly move this workbench wherever you need it to place. There are two main types of portable benches. First is a folding workbench, then a rolling workbench. Folding workbenches have thin, and relatively lightweight structure, but still adequate for the most popular tasks. On the other hand, rolling workbenches provide durable stability of the regular workbench with the addition of casters connected to the legs or foundation. These wheeled devices allow you to roll around the tool bench easily, while securely locking it in place when needed.
- Wall-Mounted Workbenches – These types are suitable for small spaces where floor space is not readily accessible. A significant advantage of wall-mounted tool benches is that you can keep them to any height you choose, which can make the working area much more comfortable. Keep in mind that wall-mounted workbenches would not be able to bear the weight or wear that regular workbenches can support.
The workbench size can make a huge difference when it comes to achieving the best project outcomes. Anything too short, wide, or low will affect your performance as a woodworker. So, what are the things that you need to consider when it comes to workbench size?
- Workbench Height – The height of the workbench is significant when choosing a workbench. The work surface of most workbenches is between 33-36 inches high. Keep in mind that while fixed-height workbenches tend to be slightly less expensive, note that most you can not adjust its height. On the other hand, adjustable-height workbenches allow you to move it up and down to accommodate different sizes, ages, and even physical capabilities. Therefore, it would be easier for you to work comfortably.
- Workbench Width – Work surface area is all you need when it comes to the tool bench. Most workbenches are two feet long and go up to ten feet. Make sure you measure your space beforehand to make sure that it fits your choice. It’s also important to remember that bigger ones aren’t always better when it comes to workbenches. You don’t need to overcompensate with a 10-foot workbench when a more compact workbench does the job merely great.
The two most essential items to consider when looking for a tool bench are a sturdy work surface and a well-built base. Search for a workbench with four durable and stable legs or a sawhorse foundation for even weight distribution. Determining what type of tasks you will be working on in your new workbench is the first step in finding out what kind of material you should choose. Here are 3 of the most common material options for the workbench.
- Wood workbenches – It is the most durable material available that can withstand heavyweight, denting, thermal gradients, and impact. Wood-surface workbenches are usually from thick and solid maple that are ideal for all-purpose work. You can use it for assembly, maintenance, and repair.
- Plastic workbenches – It is cheap, lightweight, and non-conductive, making them ideal for working on electrical appliances. Most of it has durable laminate coatings to protect against stains and streaks. If you’re planning to work on projects like light assembly, packaging, or office use, you’ll be more than delighted with the plastic-top workbenches.
- Steel workbenches – They are the most durable that can last up to years of heavy-duty use. It features strong welds and bottom-edge reinforcements that provide increased weight capacity. Heavy-duty steel is the best choice if you’re going to deal with solvents or oil since the material can withstand solvent spillage.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the best woodworking bench?
The best woodworking depends on your preference. Regardless of the brand, always ensure the quality without spending too much on your budget. The best woodworking bench is durable and has a high quality that can withstand any impact and long-term use.
When selecting the best woodworking bench, consider what you need in terms of scale, height, and application. Knowing these considerations should allow you to find the right form of workbench for your needs. In addition, the best woodworking bench must be durable, effective, and safe to use regardless of your skill level.
Is Pine Good for a workbench?
Pine is an excellent material for a workbench, even if there have been misconceptions saying that it is not durable enough. Pine is a unique wood that can hold up wear, impact, and heavy objects. Therefore, it is 100% suitable for a woodworking bench.
What plywood is best for the workbench top?
The best workbench top material is either wood, plastic, or metal – depending on what is your projects. Plywoods are only famous because it is the least expensive. For most woodworkers, sanded softwood plywood, marine-grade plywood, MDF, or phenolic board are some of the best types of plywood for a workbench.
For your next project, make sure that you already have the best woodworking bench. Do your research and match the right type of workbench according to your needs and plans. Always settle for the best quality that your budget can handle. More importantly, look for some extra features like add on cabinets so that you can put all your woodworking tools and equipment on one cabinet.