What tools are required to build a workbench?

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To build a workbench you need few tools. When I started thinking about building workbench, I didn’t have too many hand tools. Except classic drill or circular saw, I had “only” screwdrivers. So what tools are required to build workbench? I will try to list and describe them here.

Clamps, clamps and more clamps

Now I know that there cannot be enough clamps in the shop. Never, ever. First time I glued the wood, was when I started building my workbench. First time and straight away big scale. Which clamps did I use? I decided to use pipe clamps. Mainly due their strength, reliability and good value.
Additionally I had around dozen of F clamps. Very basic ones which I bought for even better price. It turned out quite decent purchase. I was using them during bench top gluing and all of them are still in the same condition.

img_0831Hand plane

I managed to get few wooden planes. Although I was happy with them (as long as they were sharp) I was looking for an iron one. Then I bought low angle smoothing plane (pic below) and I must admit, the difference was massive. I didn’t expect such a difference. Perhaps I wasn’t able to set the wooden ones correctly. But this felt great. The one I bought is not the best plane on market available. But I believe it is premium one already.

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Marking & measuring

Here I was missing quite few items. For workbench of this size you need a big square. You also need winding sticks. Simple tool, can be easily replaced, but it is required to make bench top flat.

Drill

Not sure about your experience with electric drill. Especially when drilling using sharp drill bit through softwood. I lacked control, and results were poor. I was simply not precise during drilling. That’s why I recommend hand drill. You can have full control on what is going on. You don’t need power or batteries, and it’s quiet.img_0833-1

Saws

You need two for the start. A general handsaw and (my recommendation) Japanese one. First one can be a panel saw or general saw you can buy in first tool shop. Just need to be decent one for start. The second one is a bit more than a saw. My favorite is Japanese saw called ryoba. It has two blades – for cross cut and rip cut. What is impressive, is the blade thickness and the way you work with it. You should pull it without pressure (instead of traditional western saws). This way you can reach full control and high precision.

Chisels

This is the last important tool. Most important – it needs to be sharp. Event the cheapest one can do the work, as long as it is sharpen correctly. Most likely the cheap one will require sharpening more often. How many chisels you need to build workbench? I believe one would be enough. However it depends on the size of the bench and joinery you will use.

Additionally…

You need to remember about sharpening stones for your chisels. Also a good drill bits would be very useful.

I believe building your own workbench is great first project when you start with woodworking. Workbench won’t just make following projects easier and more fun. It will force you to collect basic tools for your woodworking journey.

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