Workbenches

One of the most important tools in the shop is the workbench. And for years, Christopher Schwarz (formerly the editor and now a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine) along with all the editors, has been investigating various methords of workholding and workbench designs from around the world. In 2005, Chris built his first Roubo workbench, and since then, he’s personally built two more, and helped countless others do the same. Here, you’ll find workbench plans and workbench SketchUp models, reviews of various vises and more. In short, everything you need to make the perfect workbench for your shop.

A Roman bench from Pompeii. Probably 50 A.D.

The First Recorded Workbench

The first time I saw an 18th-century workbench, I thought: Wow. That will never work. But then I built some of these benches (dozens, actually), and I am a huge fan of the form’s stability, simplicity and purity. So the first time I saw a Roman workbench from 50 A.D., I thought: Hmmm. That...

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The Milkman’s Workbench in Use

The Milkman’s Workbench – a portable bench I built for the June 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine – is about 653 percent better than my first workbench. Thanks to the clever engineering in the portable bench, it can handle most handwork tasks when clamped to a dining room table or kitchen countertop. My...

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‘Milkman’s Workbench’ Without Screws

The portable “Milkman’s Workbench” from the June 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine has attracted a lot of attention, judging from the e-mail piling up in my Inbox. The No. 1 question: How can I build the bench without wooden bench screws? One answer: wedges. Reader Ilkka Sivonen of FInland built the bench without...

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German Workbench: Artistic License or Pure Genius?

I’ve collected tons of drawings of old workbenches, during the years, and most fall into two categories: 1. A typical workbench with typical vises that looks like lots of other workbenches. 2. Workbenches that were drawn by an artist that have vises that would never work and that are put in stupid places where...

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Round Bench Dogs that Don’t Rotate

If there is one disadvantage to round bench dogs, it is that they can occasionally rotate as you are clamping something between two dogs or when you are planing against a single dog. It’s a minor annoyance, but it’s real. An Italian reader devised a very clever solution to this problem that is quick....

Portable Benches for Servicemen

As my dad is a Vietnam vet, I’ve always had a soft spot for the men and women in the armed forces. So when I heard from several of them that they were interested in buying one of my portable workbenches, I thought I could do better than sell them something. I enlisted the...

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Dogs for the ‘Milkman’s Workbench’

Holy cow I mucked around a lot making the dogs for the portable workbench featured in the June 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. I made spring-loaded bench dogs (more complex than necessary). Dogs using a bullet catch (the right-size hardware wasn’t readily available at the home center). And when I considered casting the...

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LED Perfect for Workbench Light

Our shop has a lot of things in common with our readers’ shops, especially those who work in basements or abandoned coal mines. The overhead lighting leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve recently been working on a project with ridiculously small details and decided I needed a dedicated workbench light. I found a...

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Richard Maguire Hardware – My First Look

One of the regulars at the Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodworking is building a workbench using Richard Maguire hardware from the United Kingdom. During my visit there, I had the chance to inspect the hardware straight from the box. I got to play with three pieces of bench hardware, all of which were very...