In Projects, Questions And Answers, Techniques

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Adjustable Workbench

The coolest
bench ever:
It changes
size before
your eyes!

By Tom Caspar

My workbench has always been the heart of my small shop. When I made it years ago, I outfitted it with a good face vise, an innovative sliding tail-vise and a plain trestle base. But the bench’s height always bugged me. It was too low for some jobs and too high for others. 

I found a solution! I retrofitted my top with commercially-made adjustable legs (about $480, see Adjust-A-Bench Legs, below). I also built a new cabinet-style base for added storage space. 

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Adjustability has saved a lot of strain on my back. When routing, I raise the bench; when sanding, I lower it. The bench has 12 different heights, from 28 to 44 in.

metal legs
allow you
to raise or
lower the
bench to a
variety of
heights. Set
low, it’s an

Click on any image to view a larger version.

Raise the
top all the
way for
detail work.
A tall bench
is a wonderful
It’s perfect
for drawing
inlay, sawing
many more

The sliding tail vise
allows you to
clamp a workpiece
two bench

Sliding Tail Vise

Cabinetmaker Geoffrey Noden first
designed these legs for his own
shop. Their operation is very simple.
Each end is composed of two
heavy-gauge metal panels. The
adjustable panel has a series of
notches that engage a rod in the
fixed panel. Depressing a pedal
rotates the rod out of a notch,
allowing you to lower the bench. To
raise the bench, you just lift its top.

The whole system is so robust
that it can take an enormous
amount of weight. Its simplicity
ensures that it will work for many
years, even in a dusty shop. You’ll
find much more information,alternative
bench plans and castor sets
at or by
calling (609) 882-3300.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker September 2007, Issue #130.

September 2007, Issue #130

Purchase this back issue.

Adjust-A-Bench Legs

Purchase the complete version of this woodworking project story from

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