So far this year seems to be the year of customized workbenches. Looking through the schedule there’s an unusual balance of very unique builds compared the number of standard models and some of them are very unique indeed.
Taking on one-off work is very exciting; it keeps me interested from the start right through to the very end because I’m as eager as anyone to see the result, something that I miss when I build the same design over again. It can also be very hard work, and means I have to think a lot more than usual! Whenever an order moves away from one of my standard benches I have to think over the design with a fine toothed comb. A simple change to the length or top thickness can alter the dog hole layout or the approach to a vice installation so building a new design entirely can require more than a few minutes of head scratching while I ponder over the details.
For my latest build the customer chose cherry as the timber. I’m open to using different species although most of my benches are ash with handful in oak. I always advice on the suitability of any proposed specs whilst supplying a customer with exactly what they are looking for. After much discussion cherry it was. This is a beautiful timber to work with but having not used it on anything of this scale before there was a lot of tinkering to do before I jumped in to the build. My main concern was with how well it would glue up as face to face laminates for the top so I dabbled a bit with some spare wood and once satisfied I went in with an over cautious approach and reinforced each join with two splines.
To offer the best value I need to have my standard range including the Artisan and Workhorse whose designs have already been overly analysed for both the functions they offer and the strength of the build. If any weaknesses existed then I’d be well aware and have come up with a solution by now. But a cherry bench once in a while is certainly good fun, though I’m starting to feel a bit shorter and my arms longer after such titans like this!
Update: At the present time we’re not making any workbenches for sale, however we have many resources on this website that will help guide you with your own workbench build.
Our English Workbench Video Series takes you step by step through a traditional bench build, starting out with a discussion on choosing the ideal dimensions, demonstrations of how to cut the joinery, right through to flattening your workbench top and building the face vice from scratch.
If you’d like us to guide you through your build with detailed videos and PDF plans, then you can find full details for this Workbench Series here.