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To test how effective your chosen workbench is, you’ll need to make something. Doubtless we all complete very similar tasks, but we also all have our own preferences which leads to tweaking designs. We might take a little off the leg or add an extra dog whole, whatever makes things easier.

The first test for my completed workbench was to add some sides to a vehicle jump ramp we made a while back, to prevent the vehicles from falling off before completing the death defying stunt. The bench fell at the first hurdle, it was far too tall…well, too tall for a five year old anyway. This was duly cured with an upturned crate and normal service was resumed. It’s not the design evolution I expected, but effective.

Next it was time to “make a house.” I put forward a dovetail construction which we duly set about. No issue here, the vise worked great, a bit of PVA and a few nails and it all came together well.


The reason for sharing my experience is to avoid too much analysis or to try and make the “perfect” bench. Things will evolve, sometimes you might even need to use a wooden crate.

I’m now due to start making a furniture project on the bench, something stylish and sturdy with some simple joinery but I’ll hold off giving away much more until it’s done. Back to “Part 2” of the bench build where I progress the leg frames further. I decided to use a variant of a lap joint with the shoulders secured with some glue and nails (which you’ll see me form in the video below).

On the last bench I made, I went for mortise and tenon joinery. That worked really well, I’m just not sure there was any benefit over the simpler joints that I went for here. Another quick point, I’ve been pleased with how easy this bench was to make with the most basic and lowly of tools, there is no reason to use the selection that I have used, do what works best for you. It is reassuring to know that basic home carpentry tools can make a great workbench.

— Graham Haydon


Editors note:
Interested in building your own workbench? Check out the “Workbenches Revised Edition: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” eBook at

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