53 Free Workbench Plans: The Ultimate Guide for Woodworkers

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We all know what the most dangerous power tool in your workshop is (it’s you ;)… so what’s the most useful/important tool? No, it’s not your table saw… it’s your WORKBENCH. Woodworkers often look at the workbench as an essential project, a core project that both teaches and creates a highly useful product. My fellow nerds in the crowd will think of it as the Jedi’s light saber ;)

Update: We added 20 more workbench plans! You can see the new additions here >>


This morning I decided it was finally time to research and write our ultimate guide to workbench plans (a second in the series I started with free router table plans). How cool to check my inbox and find a note from Frank Pellow to let me know that he’d completed his workbench!

Here are a couple of quick links with pics to Frank Pellow’s super sweet workbench on wheels. So you know, his workbench would fit in the “Extreme Workbench” section below if there were plans available. I wrote about Frank originally in The Story of a “Forum Assisted” Woodworking Shop: Frank Pellow’s Shop Build Journal. Nice job on finishing the build, Frank, and thanks for the links and pics!

Frank Pellow’s Woodworking Bench Project
Frank Pellow’s Woodworking Bench Project -Phase 2

Ok, enough small talk ;) You’re here for workbench plans. I went out to all the free workbench plan sites, gathered their links by hand and then reorganized them with the woodworker in mind. Here’s what you’ll find in this guide:

1) Space Saver Workbench Plans
2) Mobile Workbench Plans
3) Adjustable Height Workbench Plans
4) Full Size Workbench Plans
–>Basic Workbench Plans
–>Simple Woodworker Workbench Plans
–>Professional/Extreme Woodworker Workbench Plans
–>Traditional Woodworker Workbench Plans
5) Accessories, Etcetera
6) Useful Workbench Forum Threads
7) Workbench Plan Lists (resources we used)
8) Other Resources


7 Space Saver/Foldable Workbench Plans
If space is a MAJOR concern in your workshop – if you’re working in a small basement or even a closet under the stairs – these are the workbench plans for you!

1)

Wall Mounted Folding Work Bench

“This work bench is ideal for tight spaces and we thought that the bench was well worth posting online so that others might benefit from his handy work. Unfortunately no measurements or instructions accompanied the photos so we took a guess of the size and come up with some figures of our own.”

2) Fold-Down Workbench

“If you have a small work shop, than we have a workbench for you. It’s attached to the wall and folds in when not in use so that you don’t have to sacrifice any space.”

3) Fold-Down Workstation

“This workstation has it all — a space-saving, fold-down workbench, easy-access tool rack, and plenty of storage in a wall-mounted cabinet. The cutting diagrams and materials list are available to download in this Online Extra.”

4) Hide-Away Workbench

“Workspace is at a premium in my small shop. So I built a workbench that folds down from the wall like an ironing board. I made it sturdy enough to handle most tasks. But best of all, it folds away into the wall when I don’t need it.”

5) Modular Workstation

“Who couldn’t use extra storage in their shop or garage? The challenge is coming up with a solution that works for the space you have. That’s where this trio of projects comes in.”

6) Dave Flanagan’s Collapsible Workbench

“This bench is easy to make and when not needed, it folds up to only a few inches deep.”

7) the Collapsible Workbench (Popular Mechanics 1984)

4 Mobile Workbench Plans
Wheels give your workbench the added dimension of mobile convenience. It’s amazing what more room and the right work angle can do for your projects! This listing of mobile workbench plans includes small and full scale workbenches.

8) a Mobile Workstand (small)

“This simple workstand is both stable and mobile. It provides a great surface for cutting, routing, sanding, assembly etc. You can roll it around your workspace by simply tipping one end a few degrees to engage the wheels. In the resting position, the wheels are disengaged and this is the key to its stability.”

9) Folding Workbench (mid-sized)

“Build this solid, roll-around bench in a day with simple hardware and only two sheets of plywood.”

10) Bob’s Plans: The Best Workbench in Town (full size bench)

“Wouldn’t it be great to be able to roll your workbench out onto your workshop floor whenever you need to use it? Then, effortlessly roll it off to the side when you’re finished?”

11) Portable Tool Chest and Workbench (Popular Mechanics 1918)

2 Adjustable Height Workbench Plans
Sometimes you need more than one setting for your workbench height. These two plans will give you a bit more versatility. The work table is admittedly not a work bench. The knockdown workbenches are… well… not really workbenches either. I hope you’ll excuse them being on this workbench plans page ;)

12) Collapsible Work Table

“Every shop needs a work table or two. In cramped shops, it’s great to have the table the right height for assembly, as well as infeed and outfeed support for power tools. Here’s a unit that has adjustable height, compensates for uneven floors, and even stores easily. Much of it can be made from scrap hardwood that’s lying around your shop.”

13) Four Knockdown Workbenches

“Designs for easy-to-build work surfaces for your workshop or garage.”

Full Size Workbench Plans
The vast majority of the existing free workbench plans out there are for full size workbenches. After all the chips fell I organized the full size plans into basic workbenches for the handyman, woodworker workbench plans, professional/extreme woodworker workbench plans and traditional woodworker workbench plans (more for the galoots out there ;)

–> 9 Basic Workbench Plans
14) Knock Down Workbench

“A couple of kids wanted to build a bench as a gift for a neighboring preschool. The bench had to be quick and easy to construct, yet professional looking and, above all, absolutely rigid. When all the elements for a simple, bolt-together frame came together in my mind, I hit my palm to my brow. It seemed so obvious. I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it before.”

15) Building a Basic Workbench

“What makes a good workbench? First, it should be strong and sturdy. The top should be thick enough to withstand pounding and large enough to handle everything from cabinets to lawn mowers. It should be level and flat so any assembly you do on it will be accurate. It should be the right height for you to stand and work comfortably. And it should be heavy enough so that it won’t move or vibrate. Fortunately, all these things are easy to achieve with the simple design we provide here.”

16) Build An Easy Workbench

“We’ve designed a multipurpose bench that you can put together in the course of a pleasant weekend. The materials are readily available at any reasonably stocked lumberyard or home center, and they won’t cost you a week’s salary.”

17) The Simple Home Shop Workbench

“We built this example in a single afternoon…for around $50! It features nearly 14 square feet of workspace, plus a storage shelf below for portable tools, materials, etc. Its dimensions were arrived at for the sake of working comfort and convenience, while allowing us to put it together quickly and affordably.”

18) A Workbench for the Amateur (Popular Mechanics 1910)

19) Work Benches You Can Build (Popular Mechanics 1934)

20) Work Bench (Shop projects based on community problems 1918)

21) The Work-Bench (English Mechanic and World of Science 1882)

–>9 Simple Woodworker Workbench Plans
22) A Bench for Today’s Woodworker (about $200 for materials)

“In truth, the joiner’s bench isn’t the most suitable for the way most of us work today. And why should it be? A 19th century joiner would recognize few of the tools and machines we use today. They have evolved to meet changing needs or were invented because of expanded technological possibilities. Since a bench is simply another tool, i.e. a clamping machine, why should it remain frozen in time?”

23) $175 Workbench

“Believe it or not, I came in 92 cents under budget and ended up with a bench that is tough, sturdy and darn versatile. I made a few compromises when choosing the hardware to keep the cost down, but I designed the bench so that it can later be upgraded with a nice tail vise. However, I made no compromises in the construction of the top or base. You can dance on this bench.”

24) Build a Classic Workbench

“A good, solid workbench is a basic of any woodworking shop, and although workbenches come in many different styles, types and sizes, a “classic” workbench style has evolved. Typically, these benches have both a front and end vise with dog holes in the top, as well as in one or both of the vises. These hold pieces of wood to plane, carve, route or for other chores. A recessed tool shelf is also often included. The bench shown is a combination of traditional European styling with a bit of styling from an old-time bench I bought many years ago at an auction.”

25) Woodworker’s Bench

“One of the first tools a beginning woodworker needs is a good solid workbench with a real woodworking vise. This bench need not be a fancy affair made of expensive woods in some classic style. The first bench must be cheap, easy to make, and solid. The following design meets this need.”

26) How to Build a Workbench: Simple DIY Woodworking Project

“Our rough-and-ready work surface visually recalls one of these classic double-trestle benches, but it’s a far simpler affair. The bench goes together with ordinary construction lumber, lagscrews, dowels and a top assembled from 1 x 2s joined with threaded rod. It’s designed to be a sturdy and unpretentious partner to capably support years of projects.”

27) Garage Workbench Plans

“This rugged, simple workbench was built along my garage wall to allow my vehicles to share the space; there are no legs touching the floor for easy cleanup; it provides the perfect, solid work surface for a confined space.”

28) Amateur Woodworker Workbench

“This workbench plan uses 2 x 4s to produce a relatively cheap, and functional, workbench that can be constructed in a day. Although the plan does not include a vise, the inherent stability of this workbench means that you can easily add one if so required. Under the workbench we have included very basic drawers, hidden behind cupboard doors, that can be used to store all of your power – and other – tools.”

29) Bob Sosenko’s plans

“a work bench featured in Fine Woodworking.”

30) Heavy-Duty Workbench

“This workbench has it all — a rock-solid base, large top, and it’s inexpensive to make. All you need are a few sheets of MDF, some “two-by” stock, and a handful of hardware.”

–>Professional/Extreme Woodworker Workbench Plans
31) I-beam Work Island

“I seem to be setting up a lot of workshops lately. So far, our little band of pioneer aviators have set up two shops in Dayton, Ohio, where we are manufacturing the parts of Wright airplanes and assembling them, and a third shop in Kitty Hawk, N.C., which serves as a repair station to take care of the inevitable wing-dings these primitive aircraft suffer when you fly them. And because the heart of any good shop is its workbench, I seem to be building a lot of benches as well.”

32) Door-Making Workbench

“the current state of my door bench”

33) Woodworking Guide: Build A Workbench

“Bring your shop to the next level with a professional-grade workbench that you can build yourself. Complete with a wide end vise, bench dogs and a versatile patternmaker’s vise on the side, this bench sets the standard for everything you’ll make with it.”

34) My Workbench By Bob Hamilton

“I knew I wanted a very solid, well supported laminated top with bench dog holes for use in conjunction with the front and end vise. My material of choice for the bench top was either hard maple or beech.”

35) 18 Drawer Workbench

“This design is a three-bay drawer carcass, each bay was constructed as an individual cabinet. There are a total of 18 drawers in this bench. I find drawers far more useful in storing items than shelves. Drawers allow easier access, are easier to organize, and they hold more.”

36) Heavy-Duty Workbench

“A great workbench needs to have a couple important qualities. First, it has to be solidly built. You don’t want it sliding or moving around as you work. Second, it has to offer options for clamping a workpiece securely in place. This way, you don’t have to worry about the workpiece shifting as you rout, sand, or cut. This workbench meets all these requirements — and more.”

37) Classic Cabinet Base Workbench

“classic looks, storage, durable top and vises”

38) Build a Better Workbench (American Woodworker 1997)

39) No-Bull Bench (American Woodworker 1991)

40) The PM Craftsman’s Workbench (Popular Mechanics 1981)

41) Lock-Up Workbench Protects Your Tools (Popular Science 1965)

42) the Master Craftsman’s Workbench (Popular Mechanics 1980)

43) Wedge-Based Workbench (American Woodworker 1999)

44) Plywood-Top Workbench (American Woodworker 1994)

–>Traditional Woodworker Workbench Plans
45) Traditional Workbench

“Traditional bench designs like this were meant to provide a work surface that was as stable as a rock. When woodworking was done entirely by hand a heavy, rigid bench was essential to the craft because joiners had to have a way of holding work still while they applied tools to it. While this is less necessary for a woodworker who plans to use machine techniques primarily, it’s still very desirable. There’s nothing more irritating than a wobbly bench, no matter what you’re doing! As well, the traditional tail vise design on this bench is a very convenient means of clamping down work for hand planing as well as routing and belt sanding, by using bench dogs.”

46) Holtzapffel Bench

“This weekend I’m putting the finishing touches on a workbench inspired by a design shown in Charles Holtzapffel’s “Construction, Action and Application of Cutting Tools Volume II.” I built the bench because it borrows the best features from three traditions: It has massive French bones with both English and German workholding. Holtzapffel himself was a reflection of this bench, a German who lived and worked in England.”

47) Shaker Workbench (pdf)

“Country-style furniture has been the most popular furniture in this country for decades. It is easy to understand why. Besides its look being visually pleasing and compatible with just about any home setting, it is also very functional. This handsome piece, which is inspired by the past, proves the point. Though the original served as a light-duty workbench in a Shaker community, its good looks makes this piece a welcome addition in just about any room. In a dining room, it will serve handily when entertaining and, if used in the living room, it is a conversation piece. Or you may prefer to simply use it in your workroom for light-duty tasks such as crafts and painting.”

Camouflaged Workbenches
For those with no workshop space… and those who feel uncomfortable with others knowing about their woodworking habits… we proudly present the camouflaged workbenches! No one will know your secret.

48) Living Room Workbench (Popular Science 1966)

49) Secretary Shop (Popular Science 1989)

50) Beginner’s Bench (Popular Science 1989)

51) Work Benches in Dress Suits (Popular Science 1946)

52) How to Build a Desk-Workbench for a Youngster (Popular Science 1969)

53) Sideboard Workbench (Popular Science 1989)

Accessories, Etcetera
Sometimes a bench isn’t enough ;) Here are a few accessories and extras I found while putting together this guide.

outfitting your vises

Flip-Over Bench Grinder

Workbench Top with Hold-Down Tracks (pdf)
“added hold-down tracks to bench rather than purchase or make vises – saves space and money”

Child’s Workbench (donation requested)
“This is a fun little project, that sets up a woodworking area just for kids! We all need our own space, so does this ‘lil woodworker!”

Workbench Build Threads
To me it always help to read about others who have gone before… these threads are from woodworkers who built their own benches and either asked questions or showed off their final product in their favorite forum.

Forums.Woodnet.net
Chris Schwarz’s Workbench Book (reviews, other resources)
Roubo Inspired Workbench
Need help designing a workbench

SawmillCreek.org
Anyone using their TS as a workbench?
Workbench status report
Different Idea on a work bench (using what is available) 10 pics
Request advice on workbench design details
Suggestions for Workbench Power Strip
The Workbench book: Anyone build a bench from it?

FamilyWoodworking.org:
New-Fangled Workbench
Workbench question
The “Next” Workbench – I Think I’m Done
Frank Pellow’s Woodworking Bench Project
Frank Pellow’s Woodworking Bench Project -Phase 2

LumberJocks.com:
Building The Holtzapffel Workbench
Workbench 101
John White FWW Workbench
Workbench material question

Workbench Plan Lists (resources we used)
Here are the free workbench plan lists that I went through to find the best workbench plans. These sites are highly valuable woodworking resources!

FreeWW Worbenchplans
Woodworkers Workshop Workbench Plans
Drill Bits Plus Woodworking Plans page
Workbench Design Workbench Plans page
Woodworking Plan Finder Workbench Plans page

Other Resources
ToolCrib.com’s Ultimate Guide to Free Router Table Plans
Frank Pellow’s Work Bench Chronicles

>>What’s missing from this list? Either write me: GFrench@ToolCrib.com or just post a resource in the comments! I will update the post as needed or intelligently suggested ;P

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2 Responses to 53 Free Workbench Plans: The Ultimate Guide for Woodworkers

  1. GoManU says:

    I found some interesting workbenches at the Formaspace website.

  2. OGFight says:

    As the title states, this is truly the Ultimate Guide. Nicely presented. I got a ton of ideas here. Now, off to my garage to build the ultimate bench.

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