I’ve seen better workbenches in prisons. Really.
And that’s not a criticism of the more than 100 woodworkers (and their spouses) who entered our “Most Pathetic Workbench Contest.” In truth, it’s high praise. Many of the entrants also included photos of the projects they completed on their “benches.”
As I’ve said 100 times, you don’t need a good workbench to do great work. However, it does help make things easier. And that’s why we put together our “Shops and Workbenches” CD of 62 of our favorite articles on building benches, setting up your shop and filling it with the jigs you need. (You can see a slideshow of the contents of our $15 CD here.)
All of the seven winners in this blog entry will win the new CD. And one , our grand-prize winner , will receive the CD, plus an autographed copy of my 2007 book “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.” Plus an autographed copy of Robert W. Lang’s “Build the 21st Century Workbench” DVD.
So without further blathering, here are the runners-up and some comments on them. (The big winner is the last one.)
Jesse’s Triple-Pallet Dungeon Bench
We had several entrants that were cobbled together from a pallet. But Jesse used three pallets. Also, several staff members liked the crypt-like atmosphere. We had to do some serious Photoshop work to get a good look at the photo.
Your Favorite Neighbor’s Workbench
This is just one of Kevin’s benches (he has a nicer one on the wall), but this one has the best base. I want to build my next deck with this guy.
It’s a Bench. It’s a Boat. It’s Garbage.
Kyle’s bench is a bit lightweight. And that was a good thing. When Hurricane Ike hit, Kyle’s shop filled with 6′ of water and his bench floated through the disaster. Sadly, his bench succumbed to mold and had to be pitched.
I Guess Cardboard Was Wood at One Time
This bench (sent in by the spouse) is used for working both wood and clay. Phyllis explained that it’s quite tidy because it’s in their two-bedroom apartment. The boxes are both a work surface and tool storage.
The World is Your Bench
Eric works overseas, and I’m amazed at what he does with what he has. My favorite is the “balcony bench.” This one probably won’t shimmy.
The Highest Number of Pathetic Benches
Travis misunderstood the contest, I think. We were looking for one pathetic bench. He has six of them. The washer-dryer bench. The log-shaped bench hook. The log-shaped planing stop. The garbage-can twin assembly tables. And the thing that looks like a small mammal.
The Self-cleaning Bench
This is the grand-prize winner. What clinched it for me was the vise. Clearly, Roger is in it for the long haul with this bench and needs our help. Some of the staff questioned if this was a real bench. Perhaps it was staged. Roger said he cleaned the bench right before the photo by simply lifting the top and sliding its contents to the garbage. Congratulations Roger. Once you get your prizes, you’re on the hook to build a bench.
Next week we’ll post a slideshow of the rest of the entrants. Did your spouse enter your bench in our contest? You’ll have to wait and see.
– Christopher Schwarz