If you’re about to embark on building your first workbench, you might want to read this blog entry. I expect you to discard every piece of advice in it (most bench-builders do) and build the crazy contraption you’ve planned out in your head.
Here, in my opinion, are the most common missteps woodworkers make when they build their first workbench.
1. Too many woodworking vises
I’ve built workbenches with more than 100 students. In every class, there’s one guy who wants to put a vise on every corner of the bench. Not because it’s a partner’s bench for two people. Just because he wants it that way. While I support your freedom to choose, I also don’t want to spend two weeks installing complex tail-vise hardware on your bench when we could be building furniture instead.
At most (most!) you need a face vise and a tail vise. My current bench has only a face vise. I never, ever wish for a patternmaker’s vise on that back corner with a vacuum-actuated sliding leg vise on the deadman.