A Workbench That Travels Well

For me, the heart of a shop is the workbench.

by Jim Ruen

Read next week's blog to learn how to make this workbench
Jim’s workbench:
Next week, he’ll tell you how to build it

For me, the heart of a shop is the workbench.

The bench gives shape and form to any shop.

That said, a workbench can be as simple or complex as your talent and skill allow. While I still salivate over the fine cabinetmaker-style workbenches I see in woodworker magazines and catalogs, I know they are not for me.

I need a more rough and tumble bench that I can abuse without regret. If I drill through a work piece into the bench top or I drip paint or other liquids on it, I am not going to get too worked up about it.

What I do demand from my workbench is stability and versatility. For nearly 30 years my simple bench has satisfied those needs and more as I have moved it cross-country four times and across town another three. Each time it has come apart and reassembled easily and quickly.

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It is a simple thing, made of redwood with a small vise on one end.

It is daubed with paint and dented, gouged and scarred from three decades of wood projects for my wife, children and myself. Children’s toys and school projects, Christmas gifts and more have been birthed on its surface. With any luck, another 30 years of projects will yet grace its presence.

The original plan or idea on which it is based has long since been lost and forgotten. What I do know is that it has served me well.

If you need one a workbench of your own, I offer up mine as an example here. You could do worse.

Next week, I will share the makings of it in this blog.

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