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Wall-mounted perforated hardboard provides ideal tool storage -- as long as you can get the hanger "pegs" to stay put. By using varying lengths of all-thread rod, you can create multi-purpose hangers for bar clamps or individual tools, such as the adjustable wrenches in the photograph. For more in-depth information on gluing and clamping, visit our Gluing and Clamping section in the WOOD Store.
This simple-to-build and super-strong workbench is just the project you've been looking for.
I’ve been corresponding with Tom Fidgen over a number of months since his book fell into my hands at Blackwells bookshop in Oxford, England, back in December 2009.
This might seem totally unrelated to woodwork, cabinet making or any level of craftsmanship that involves wood, but in this day and age not all of us can make a living from just one interest or discipline, indeed the reasons why we find ourselves drawn to the desire to work with wood are many. My own quest it seems over these past six months was to ask myself what do I want from a workbench? I move between general carpentry, constructing built in situ’ cabinets, wardrobes or bookcases and the finer more considered world of the wood shop, this second discipline is still relatively new to me, where small to medium scale projects will be my aim in the coming years. Well for me it’s a quest that continues to this day and whether you manage to produce wonderful work on a nailed together series of odd ply sheets fixed roughly to some old decorators trestle table or whether you were perhaps lucky enough to inherit your grandfathers cabinet makers workbench, one thing should remain constant and that is the pursuit of excellence through hard work mixed with pure enjoyment. I’ve struggled-by with a poor bench for some time, the vices just aren’t big enough, the steel screw thread squeaks and wobbles and the tool well is constantly full of junk… so why oh why have I put up with it for so long, I guess the answer is partly habit and not knowing enough about what else is out there to replace it. Back to Tom Fidgen’s own bench and that lovely book of his, I read his story of how through chance he ended up with two benches, both from the same supplier and manufacturer, I looked closer at the work he was producing on it, the way he would consider adding an extra dog hole here and there to better serve the holding and positioning of his work on the bench or in the vice.
I started to look at books on the subject of the history of benches, and spoke with friends who have arrived at similar conclusions, that to some degree “the bench is the shop”. Well I would certainly go and look at as many out there as possible, and by that I mean look hard and research on the internet and get a feel for the makes and scale of benches available. At this point you’ll probably realise like I did that there isn’t actually a vast selection that’s equal to this want, and what there is varies hugely in terms of quality.
Work wise, that’s entirely up to you, but whatever you’ll produce on it, the bench should at least be solid and large enough to cope with it. Like I say, my own small and lightweight bench isn’t, and the only way I can stop some of its movement is to bolt it down with brackets to the shop floor. The thicknesses of bench tops can be deceptive, don’t be fooled by the apron that runs around the edge of the bench-top, in fact these are usually way deeper than the actual heart of the bench-top itself, and to be honest this heart is what matters. I’d say that a good bench worth paying decent money for should have a top that’s no thinner than 2.5inches or approx’ 60mm deep and ideally thicker still. The bench thickness may have to be thinner in certain sections close to fixing plates and runners for the screw thread mechanisms and dog blocks to be housed, but scrutinise these fixings too and make sure that all the mechanics of the kit associated with the smooth running of the vice threads appear sensibly ‘up to the job’, remember that moving parts are far more likely to let you down than static ones, so again, buy the best that money can afford. Remember that a bench is a tool to hold wood steady while working on its edges or faces, that might sound a little obvious but the number of times I’ve seen woodworkers, including myself, struggling to hold down pieces with ease is disturbing, in fact this should never be the case, a good bench should certainly have covered all the basic options for helping you to clamp your work. A wagon vice will have a sliding dog block together with its corresponding dog hole, the two together allow for flexible clamping positions down the length of the top surface of the bench. Add another row of dog holes to the far surface of the bench and you’ve got an amazingly efficient way of extending this surface support system.
Whether you opt for a standard face vice or some style of deeper leg vice, you’ll at some point almost certainly need some other form of clamping further down the side of the bench, this comes in the form of bench fasts either fastened through the end bench leg, or with even greater flexibility through a sliding board jack.
If you want a really secure stop on the bench surface then consider a much larger dog block, these can be set permanently anywhere along the run of dog holes, but ideally look for a bench that has it set towards the face vice end and then you have the rest of the length of the bench top to lay pieces up against it. Benches purchased from most manufacturers and stockists dictate what vices you end up with, as most are supplied with “what you see is what you get” therefore there can be little or no other choice available at the initial buying of your bench.
Things vary to some degree in this area and you’ll just have to ask… On the other hand try to seek out an independent bench maker, one who’s prepared to offer lots of choice!
Remember that almost every piece of wood that you’ll place on the bench will need at some point I’m sure to be held in safe hands… this is the vices job. The screw threads are crucial to the vices smooth running and good ones will ensure that little or no chattering occurs as the vice handle is turned, the speed of vice operation too is down to the way in which the screw thread is milled from the steel.
If you’re after a beautiful and traditional vice with a wooden screw thread then the same thing will apply, if you get a really good quality one that’s be turned by a skilled craftsman then these can be magical to use, the performance for speed is often quicker than many steel threads as long as logic dictates that the diameter of the thread is made much bigger, therefore each turn takes the vice in or out that much quicker… Science eh! Finally there has been a trend in more recent times to mix engineering wheel style handles to bench vices as a modern replacement to the more traditional pole handles, this is entirely a choice for the individual and purists may find them incongruous with the mix of aesthetic styles, seen by many as a clash, however they do have some merits if its “your bag”, they’re pretty easy to grab and spin, so long as the screw thread runs smoothly then they’re fine.
I thought at this point I’d take the time to sing the praises of the independent bench-maker and there must be quite a number out there I’m sure, but rather than thinking always of walking into a bigger trade outlet, try seeking out a good joiner who’ll make one individually just for you, bespoke, right down to the style of pole handles.
So although completely subjective, I believe that Richard Maguire from Lincolnshire in England makes the best hand made benches for sale on the market today, certainly in the United Kingdom, if not the World! Richard prototypes everything first within a varied range, he then makes further tweaks before the final designs are settled on. He’s researched the history of bench making and includes his take on the classic Roubo and Dominy styles these are within an awesome range of serious heavyweight benches, all hand made with a great choice of vices too including a twin screw faced option. He personally guarantees everything and that’s how confident he is that his benches will perform.
He uses a choice of Ash or Steamed Beech to construct them, some of the bench tops are 3 inches of solid wood, others 4 inches, while his thickest is a hefty 6 inches and at those sort of dimensions your bench won’t budge a jot! If you go for any benches of this nature then you’re not only investing in quality for your own shop, but you’re helping to keep the Craftsmen’s skills alive and well.
While visiting this years wood show in north London on the 14th March I was very pleased to see the figure of Rob Cosman blowing fine wood shavings high into the air from a Stanley Plane, but what took my eye more was the bench he was working on, yes The Richard Maguire Signature bench. Many of the passers by were reading up on the details of the bench on a display board, a few wood fans were over from Sweden and I asked them what they thought. The ergonomics of design is something the Swedish are famous for, so who am I to disagree… All of them took a leaflet! This is of course another option, and if you choose to take this path then just make sure you appreciate all the factors mentioned previously. I did consider making my own bench and this would no doubt have been a different kind of investment, one that was time heavy in the wood shop, this for me was the deciding factor, I just couldn’t afford the time, but you’ll have to juggle with this dilemma yourself. What you do get if you choose to purchase is the knowledge that the bench makers specific niche skills and experience has gone into every consideration, this for me was a guarantee well worth paying a premium for, basically it’s peace of mind territory.
I’m sure that if your making your own quest you’ll settle for what ultimately feels right for yourself, but my conclusion is that the bench is far too important an investment to go wrong, after all it’s highly likely to represent the single most costly outlay in the hand tool wood shop. While my own decision was a Maguire bench, there are other benches out there with great merit, including the Lie Nielsen or Sjoberg range.
Whatever you choose to purchase or indeed if you end up spending time making your own bench, just remember this,  “The Bench is the Shop”. Members of 1% for the Planet contribute 1% of annual sales directly to nonprofit environmental organizations.


Have you ever noticed how most of the woodworking and do-it-yourself TV shows and magazine articles depict people building projects in huge workshops ? So, the next time you read a woodworking magazine or watch a TV show about woodworking and see a suggested floor plan like the (24' x 32') example above that originally appeared at DIY Guru, Bob Vila's website, remember…you can indeed, create some beautiful work in a limited amount of space. Figure & Build Videos Tool Technique Videos Advertiser Index Home Woodworking task Plans Woodshop Projects Tool Storage. Pins nigh Wood Shop Ideas hand picked by Pinner Jeff Dansie figure Sir woodshop tool storage Thomas More more or less woodwork plans wood shops and tool storage. Besides looking great, it offers good coverage (almost knee-length on most of us), and the flaps over the lower two pockets keep shavings and sawdust out. Upper left pocket is divided for pens; upper right is the perfect size for index cards, calculator, cell phone, and such.
Just wanted to let you know I received my new leather shop apron, Item 116401, and LOVE IT!! Your companionship recently completed a minuscule shop building for me at my farm Hoosier State Campobello South Carolina. Why build your own shop furniture when you can save it all from vitamin A Organization is the key to this give away relegated to a pocket-sized urban foot print.
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I set out to get my shop more organized so that when I add tools and hardware I will actually have a place to put some of it.
This is inspirational!I love reorganizing my little garage shop… now I have something to aspire to!I always thought I was neat… but you are incredible!
American Woodworker did an article in November about three years back with a different type of cleat system, but the storage ideas are still great for your future needs.
I have put up a few of the cleats across my shop walls, and made a few different storage accessories.
The author of the article extended his cleats to be at the end of his benches, on the roll around tool carts, etc.
Core nice work organizing thanks for sharing you have given me some good ideas, I’m always looking for a better way to do things.
DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. Faced with that challenge, we designed tool holders that attach firmly, but take only a minute or two to move to a new, more convenient location on the perforated hardboard.
Drill slightly over-lapping holes to remove the stock between the end holes, and smooth up the sides of the slots with a chisel. We dipped the all-thread rod in plastic coating for protection from sharp edges and to provide a no-slip surface to keep tools in place. We relied on inexpensive lumberyard stock and rugged mortise-and-tenon joinery to construct the base. I get many questions and letters from readers every month about this topic and got to know Steven Melhuish over these past few months through his correspondence. In the spring and summer months I plan, plant and maintain gardens for a whole host of interesting people in the far north villages of the Cotswolds just west of Oxford. We all choose our own quests through circumstance, meandering at times to a place where one day something grabs hold of us, a realisation perhaps that you want something more than what you currently have, to improve ourselves and the work we produce.
You must plan and work everything else around it, other items come and go in the shop but the bench remains a constant and must in my own opinion be perfect for everything that you do and therefore flexible and yet simple enough to achieve those tasks. Once you’ve gathered together this visual and written dimensional information try and see if you can find a supplier that has an outlet that actually stocks one or a few of your favourites. Get it too thin and the bench runs a significant risk of racking or twisting out of shape through changing atmospheric conditions.
For me the more the merrier and as long as the bench top is thick enough to take all these holes then it wont effect it’s performance.
Too few holes in line with this end vice might limit the length of wood you can clamp in this method, meaning manual clamping with some other form of surface clamp which isn’t ideal as they often get in the way when using larger planes on full face work. Just cut a narrow straight baton of wood the same sort of thickness as any inserted dogs and the correct length and you can bridge over between the two rows of dog holes. Not all benches have them, and there are other ways of doing a similar job with all manner of different separate clamps, but to have a length of sliding wood bored with numerous holes to clamp through is by far the simplest and surely again the most flexible. The block itself can then be deep enough to be brought up above the bench surface when required to hold some particularly high work pieces.
So if you’re happy with the bench and the vices on it then that’s terrific, but if you love the bench but the vice is not for you, then always ask to see if they’re able to offer any options.
Tiny movements and adjustments can be made with them too, so like I say they have their place and time will tell whether they become a long term fixture or not, but for now they’re usually only fitted as a custom extra! The joy is that it’s been made just for you by one person, not cheap, not quick, but when did that matter when it comes to the potential of a life times’ use and an ongoing heirloom?
I was very fortunate that I spent a little quality time with Richard looking over a small selection of his hand made benches, and what can I say, all the appropriate boxes were ticked, nice thick solid lengths of wood, beautifully crafted and jointed together, every single thing appeared right, the design, balance and sheer strength of these beasts just jumps out at you. He told me that one of the benches under scrutiny was tested by leaving it outside in all weather conditions, for quite some time, before bringing it back into the shop to once more acclimatise, all this just to see how it might cope with such extreme stresses.
No wonder that he’s proud to place and fix a small brass plaque on every bench with the Richard Maguire name. I know personally how incredibly proud Richard is of every bench he makes and he should do with the hours he puts of himself into each one. Generally they remarked on the solid thickness of it’s bench top, the smooth action of the leg vice and how useful the double row of dog holes would be for bracing work across and down the length of the surface.


Your vices and fixings are best ordered first so that positions and bench thickness can be planned around them.
The 1% for the Planet network brings together like-minded leaders who share a belief that business can be a vital catayst for positive environmental change. Some of these have a half-dozen or more mammoth machines, six workbenches and stacks of lumber laying about - and enough space around everything to hold a 24-hour golf cart race with 16 drivers and a herd of screaming fans ! We all know that this is not reality for all but the wealthiest of today's home woodworkers. They serve normal duties as basement laundry rooms, garages, carports or storage sheds…then spring to life as full-fledged workshops when a need arises. Take a look at three actual MARK V workshops by visiting the links at the top right of this page. After numerous customer requests, we asked our apron manufacturer to make a larger version. Small precision tools for model building and repair Pins or so woodwork Shop ideas pass picked build furniture kits by Pinner Danny Smith watch more or so tabulate He heats ended G ft2 of uninsulated building. Our small garden pond is tucked between an outcrop of building a small shop natural granite boulders and under various large oak trees.
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I’m going through the same phase and am in the process of making some simple power tool shelves.
If this rings a bell with you then you’ll perhaps be somewhere on your own journey to some new horizon, whether it’s perfecting the techniques of sharpening your tools or buying that dreamt about plane.
Lets face it all wood moves at some point, so the trick is to reduce this to an absolute minimum. My overriding want is that a bench should be as flexible as it can possibly be without it looking cluttered. If this kind of dreamland depiction has you convinced that you can't woodwork in less than 1000 square feet of space, you have been hoodwinked … it simply isn't true ! Just 400 square feet would be pure nirvana for most of these hobbyists, who typically work in about 200 to 300 square feet !
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They are little more than short, narrow pallets really that let the power cords sit neatly under the tool. And we added bench dogs and a bench vise to expand the usefulness of our workbench, making it a fitting centerpiece for any home workshop.
It’s been a pleasure to read about his experiences meandering through the path ways of workbench design, the pros and the cons as well as his meetings with others through out the journey.
So again, the less holes you have the more chance you run of struggling, make life easy eh! You could indeed purchase a lower cost bench but have a higher quality vice and screw thread fitted later, again the choice is yours and if budget allows! These two disciplines are melded together within a craftsman who daren’t ever send anything out from his shop until he has personally gone over every inch by hand. The Tool Chest from type A few weeks bet on has found a great habitation for itself on the shock inwards front of my full size Tool Cabinet. Our shop cabinets storage and racks fancy plans include detailed instructions easy to read Heirloom Rolling Tool Cabinet Woodworkers Tool Chest. Build your ain workshop from the ground upward After I finished this step I moved on to building the affiliated structures on t. Do You ever want to make a small shop for your multiplayer server just you cant cause you make no idea how to name it Well I’ve got the.
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