An illustrated guide to an essential woodworking tool
Synopsis: This richly illustrated article traces the evolution of what some consider the most important tool of the craft, the workbench. A closer appreciation of its uses and strengths can do much to improve your woodworking experience. Here is a look at its development and many variations, as well as the fixtures associated with it: vises, benchdogs, bench stops, holdfasts, and bench hooks.
In some parts of the world, woodworkers use the floor as their work surface. In Japan, it’s a narrow beam. But in the West, woodworkers traditionally have used a substantial workbench. In fact, before tablesaws and routers became for most woodworkers their right and left hands, the workbench was the most important tool of the craft. While it may no longer be the first tool a woodworker encounters in the shop, the workbench nevertheless remains at the heart of woodworking. A closer appreciation of its uses and…