I’m a big advocate of working at the proper height for specific tasks. So I was intrigued by the concept of the Noden Adjust-a Bench, a workbench system that can be adjusted to a variety of heights.

The Adjust-a Bench is available as either a set of adjustable legs (you’ll have to supply the top and vises) for $430 or as a complete bench, which includes the legs, a wood stretcher, and a top, for $800. We added a few accessories--benchdog holes ($50) in the top, Jorgensen vises ($300), and locking casters ($160). Initial assembly was straightforward and relatively easy.

Noden Adjustable Workbench

The ratcheting adjustment mechanism lifts the benchtop in 1-1/2-in. increments from roughly 28 in. to 45 in. high. This adjustable height feature proved very useful for tasks ranging from assembly work to planing to close detail work. Noden suggests using the bench as an outfeed table, but setting it to the correct height could be a very fussy operation because of the 1-1/2-in. increments.

With the legs on the floor, the bench was rigid enough for planing tasks, even at its maximum height. Not surprisingly, though, when fitted with the casters, the bench moved quite a bit.

Noden Adjustable WorkbenchThe top supplied by the manufacturer is essentially a 1-3/4-in.-thick wooden kitchen countertop, which worked well enough. It was not perfectly flat, but it was within 1/16 in., an acceptable tolerance. The Jorgensen quick-release vises are mounted on the side and end of the bench (not flush with the edge, but sticking out). They are good-quality heavy-duty vises, although small for my taste.

The adjustability of this system makes it a versatile addition to a shop. If I were buying it, I’d be inclined to purchase the base system (legs only) and add a better top and larger vises. For more information about pricing, go to www.adjustabench.com.

Photo: Matthew Berger