5 Types Of Woodworking Benches-Woodworking Tools Guide

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In woodworking, a workbench is a table that we use to hold workpieces together to work on them. It is the basic structure that we need for any woodworking. Depending on the different types of woodwork that you need to do, you get different types of woodworking benches.

Most woodworking benches are bulky and rigid so that the wood can be kept in a stable position and height. This way, the person who is working on a workpiece can be free to use both hands for carrying out a task. You need to have specific knowledge about different types of woodworking benches. If not, you will not be able to choose a suitable one for your job.

woodworking bench
Woodworking bench. Image Credit: Mark Hunter

Different Types Of Woodworking Benches

In this article, we take a closer look at the various types of woodworking benches that are available. Hopefully, it should put you on the right track for all your woodworking projects.

Woodworker’s Bench

Olympia Tools 84-906 Hard Wood Workbench
Olympia Tools Woodworker’s Bench. See on Amazon.

It is one of the most widely-used types of workbench that we use in woodworking. A woodworker’s bench usually has a hardwood top with a thickness of at least two inches. The top can be a single piece of wood, or it may consist of different parts joined together.

You usually have two vises on a woodworker’s bench, one at the front and the other at the tail. It also contains equally-spaced holes known as “dog holes” which are actually holes for “bench dogs,” which are clamps that you can use for holding a job on a workbench.  They may line either the front or the back of the workbench. Four legs support the bench, and you can have some drawers and shelves fitted into the workbench for storage.

Cabinet Maker’s Bench

Sjobergs Elite 1500 Workbench Plus Cabinet Combo
Sjobergs Elite Cabinet Maker’s Bench. See on Amazon.

From the top view, a cabinetmaker’s bench looks a lot like a woodworker’s bench. You will see vises, on at the front, and another at the tail. Then there are some bench dog holes at the front of the bench, and the tail vise gets aligned with these holes. You may also find a few collars or bolts for fitting a holdfast.

The difference that sets apart the cabinetmaker’s bench from the woodworker’s bench the structure below the working surface. You get drawers and cupboards and a series of shelves that store tools and all sorts of woodworking accessories. Because they involve a lot of time and detail in building them, cabinetmaker’s benches tend to be relatively more expensive than a regular woodworker’s bench.

Usually, you can find a cabinetmaker’s bench in a small-scale workshop. This is because the multiple sections offer multiple options to the woodworker. It is then possible to have a suitable work surface on the top, with all the necessary tools and accessories being stored in the space down below.

Backboard Workbench

Safstar Multipurpose Workbench Workshop Tool Storage Tabletop Workstation Assembly Worktable with Sliding Organizer Drawer (Black)
Safstar Backboard Workbench. See on Amazon.

One of the simplest types of workbench to construct and also in function, the backboard workbench offers essential utility. In appearance, it looks like a long, tall table. A board spans the length of the workbench, which serves the purpose of preventing the tools from falling off it. Ther shelf provided below enables you to store all the accessories and tools that you require.

The backboard workbench helps us in carrying out all-purpose work. If your job is making regular repairs and fabrication of different wooden articles, then you will surely find this type of workbench suitable for your purposes.

You can also fix an engineer’s vise on top of a backboard workbench. With this vise, you can complete many non-woodworking tasks as well, such as plumbing and electrical work. You can also install the regular suite of woodworking vises – the ones that you usually find on top of a workbench for various woodworking projects. Installing a regular tail vise at the right end of the workbench can be useful, as well as a front vise near the left leg at the front.

Portable Bench

BLACK+DECKER WM125 Workmate 125 350 Pound Capacity Portable Work Bench
Black+Decker Portable Workbench. See on Amazon.

Portable benches are the best option if space is a constraint where you work. You get commercially available portable benches that are quite flexible. For instance, you get three different heights, with a variety of clamping options. Such portable benches also come with the facility for collapsing the entire structure into a small, compact bundle.

Because it is so easy to construct, you could probably find it convenient to build your own portable bench. There is a lot of information on the internet, so you can jump into your own DIY project and voilà!  You have your own customized portable bench in no time at all! You can make it into a type of box bench with lots of storage space below for all your woodworking tools and assorted odds and ends.

Custom-Made Workbench

2x4basics 90164 Custom Work Bench and Shelving Storage System, Black
2x4Basics Custom Bench. See on Amazon.

If you have the time, patience, and resources, you can build your own custom-made bench from scratch. The advantage of customizing your workbench is that you can add the best features of all the types of workbenches that we have mentioned here. You can also add on a few useful features that you find beneficial for the specific kind of work that you do.

The most significant benefit of building your own customized workbench is that you can optimize the dimensions to suit your workspace. There are many commercially available brands of workbenches on the market. The thing is, however hard you try, you will never get one that fits perfectly into your workspace. However, if you create your own, you will get a perfect fit, and you can maximize your workbench dimensions.

An added advantage is that you save a lot of money by building your own customized workbench.


Some of the woodworking benches mentioned in this article are very specialized. Others have multiple functions. It is essential to get a workbench best-suited to the type of woodwork you are likely to undertake in your woodworking projects. Having sound knowledge of the different types of woodworking benches will definitely come in handy when you have to create your own woodworking project.

Your setup may be for a DIY project in your garage, or for a commercial business venture. However, you will invest your money wisely if you can procure a workbench that is best suited for the job at hand.

Featured Image: Mark Hunter