"What is the best beginner workbench?" is a loaded question, and one I get all the time.
I usually tell beginning woodworkers to hold off on building a bench right away because they don't know what they don't know yet and a workbench isn't actually needed to get started. For example, I've built a few things in the garage of my in-laws' place in Maine using a sawhorse and a rickety table. But the time has come to build a proper workbench in that space.
This workbench is designed to be possibly the first bench that a new woodworker would build. Though it could also end up being the workbench you use for many years as it is rock solid and highly functional. It is built using just construction lumber, seven boards to be exact, and just four tools.
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The beginner's workbench should be simple to build, yet highly customizable for the future. It should be a rock solid, blank chassis that doesn't require a lot of lumber or tools to build.
Its a straightforward built that introduces the new woodworker to some key concepts while not sweating the details that could make this project drag on for months and months. While hardly a new design, I think the approach I took to it could enable the brand new woodworker with no tools and no bench to actually get started building, and come out of this experience a better woodworker.
The full build is coming up soon. Semester 5 at The Hand Tool School will be a back to basics course designed to speak to the brand new woodworker who has no tools and has possibly never picked up a saw or plane. It will consist of a few introductory lessons and then many applied lessons in the course of building three essential projects for their shop.
It's in production now and scheduled to be released this Fall. Watch this space or subscribe to my email list to be the first to hear about it when it becomes available.
This "Hand Tool School" series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.
Shannon Rogers started woodworking by trying to build a proton pack, and has been in love with the craft ever since. He runs The Renaissance Woodworker website which is dedicated to spreading the love about hand tool woodworking. He is also the head glue pot keeper at The Hand Tool School where teaches thousands of woodworkers on 6 continents (still trying to find somebody in Antarctica) how to cast off the power tool oppressors and build "the hard way".
By day Shannon is the Director of Marketing for J. Gibson McIlvain, a lumber company founded in 1798 that supplies high quality hardwoods from all over the world to everyone from Calvin Klein, the New York Yankees, and the US Government. He is a wood nerd through and through and often finds reasons to inject latin botanical names into everyday conversation.