How to Choose a Woodworking Workbench

How to Choose a Woodworking Workbench

Take a closer look at classic workbench designs & and pick the right one for YOU.
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Build the Quick-Stack Workbench

My most recent bench design is portable! The Quick-Stack bench breaks down into 6 manageable pieces that can be easily moved or stored when you’re not working. When you need your bench, you can assemble it in 3 minutes and the only tool you need is a mallet.

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*When you buy the course, the complete plans are included for FREE.

This course will guide you step-by-step in the process of putting together your bench. Make sure you grab the plans to follow along with:


English Joiner’s Bench

Lightweight Traveler’s Bench


Workbench Related Videos

Four Workbench Building Mistakes (that we all make)

Joinery for Knock-Down Workbenches


Resources for Bench Builders

Landis, The Workbench Book (Lost Art Reissue):

Schwarz, The Anarchists’s Workbench (Lost Art):

(FREE download:

Schwarz, Workbenches: From Theory and Design to Construction and Use (Popular Woodworking Books) (*affiliate link)

Schwarz, Ingenious Mechaniks: Early Workbenches and Workholding (Lost Art)

Siemsen, The Naked Woodworker DVD (Lost Art)

Siemsen’s Video on using his bench:

Maguire “How to Build a Workbench” (Self Published)

Wil Meyer’s site with lots of information on the Moravian Bench:

Rob Cosman’s Bench:


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Wood Work for Humans Tool List (affiliate):
Gyokucho Ryoba Saw:
Dewalt Panel Saw:
Suizan Dozuki Handsaw:
(Winner of the affordable dovetail-saw shootout.)
Spear and Jackson Tenon Saw:
(Needs tune-up to work well.)
Crown Tenon Saw:
(Works out of the box)
Carving Knife:
Narex True Imperial Chisels:
(My favorite affordable new chisels.)
Blue-Handled Marples Chisels:
(I use these to make the DIY specialty planes, but I also like them for general work.)

Honing Guide:
Norton Coarse/Fine Oil Stone:
Natural Arkansas Fine Oil Stone:
Green buffing compound:

*Marking and Measuring*
Stockman Knife:
(For marking and the built-in awl).
Speed Square:
Stanley Marking Knife:
(Excellent, inexpensive marking knife.)
Blue Kreg measuring jig:
Round-head Protractor:

Forstener Bits:
Spade Bits:

Orange F Clamps:
Screw Clamp:

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Follow me on Instagram: @rexkrueger


  1. Don Miller on February 7, 2023 at 4:30 am

    I know you made this last year, but the The Anarchist’s Workbench is no longer free, either $32 or $40. Anyway… Great video, I’m actually building a hybrid of what I’ve been watching on you tube, and I’ve reviewed two of your videos to make sure I don’t make too many mistakes. Thanks!

  2. Don B on February 7, 2023 at 4:31 am

    If you wait for some one it will never happen.

  3. Kyle on February 7, 2023 at 4:33 am

    It’s a Bench Slave, quit trying to change history. No one in their right mind is offended by the word slave.

  4. Tim Yong on February 7, 2023 at 4:33 am

    Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts and amazing knowledge

  5. ikust007 on February 7, 2023 at 4:33 am

    Will Myers: his videos are amazing . Thank you Rex.

  6. Rian Meier on February 7, 2023 at 4:33 am

    There’s a stunning video of a workbench I once saw in a series called woodtreks. Don’t know if its still available. It’s a combination of Roubo and Euro. The one side is a full Roubo and the other side a full European style. That way you have the best of both worlds.

  7. Manic Guitar! on February 7, 2023 at 4:34 am

    Brilliant vid, great overview- thank you

  8. Mikhail Akbashev on February 7, 2023 at 4:37 am


  9. Fox Moulder on February 7, 2023 at 4:37 am

    I ended up making mine mostly resemble a timber frame, however I’ve not attached the top yet, mostly because when I do get a tail vice I’d like to be able to adjust for size. It’s 5ft from leg end to leg end with 1ft of overhang on each side. Top made of glued up 2×4 for a thick top to add bench dogs
    I did skip the dovetail double tenon for it, but did at least half lap all of 4×4 legs for 2×4 frames.
    Thanks for your help Rex 👍 I don’t see myself having to build another, it may outlive me 👌

  10. Zombie Fool on February 7, 2023 at 4:38 am

    You must be a fan of Disney’s decision to rename Boba Fett’s ship Slave 1 to something less traumatizing. Pathetic.

  11. ikust007 on February 7, 2023 at 4:38 am

    The Moravian: such a beauty .

  12. elle on February 7, 2023 at 4:39 am

    Rex’s closing comments are downright Marxist: action over inaction, knowledge from practice

  13. Gadien's Guide on February 7, 2023 at 4:39 am

    You’re the best friend to us starter woodworker’s 😊

  14. ikust007 on February 7, 2023 at 4:40 am

    Yes Rex you are right : just too much thinking not enough working . Cheers Rex.

  15. Moonwolf Woodworking on February 7, 2023 at 4:40 am

    I want to know where you got your plane stop Rex because you didn’t link it below your video, and I haven’t found one like it anywhere.

  16. Edward Oguma on February 7, 2023 at 4:41 am

    No Love for "Paul Sellers"? He’s the GOAT! IMO. Aloha.

  17. Rigor Mortis on February 7, 2023 at 4:42 am

    my bos* is looking for a new bench askmed me what i want. i said something traditional that tested by time. he’s probaly comming up with just a metal frame table and plywood bench with a cheap vice on it….

  18. Brett Leisy on February 7, 2023 at 4:51 am

    I think that "just go out and make one" is not the best of ideas, very often people do just that then they have a bench that is not suited to their needs or organization and then are forgotten about later on as people just dont feel enjoyment from working on it. it literally becomes more work than anything else.

    some thought must be given about what you will use it for and what you need to build those types of projects. do you need a vise, do you need some drawers, do you need dog holes, or are there other things? these are not hard to answer and can easily be applied to to the build.

    my step father built one in a shop space in the barn, and it quickly just grew into a dust collection area and eventually tool storage. it was ok for some things but not at all helpful for other things. and in order to continue working he would have to tear it out and rebuild a new one which he no longer felt the drive to do.

    so at least have a general idea of what you will need. cause anyone can build a simple table with legs, but its not a work table unless you can do and actually something with it.

  19. Andrew Reaney on February 7, 2023 at 4:52 am

    Good advice. I already have the books. Now I’m watching videos. It’s good that you give credit to other people, but one person you didn’t mention is Paul Sellers. He shows how to make English benches. He has 3 series about making them on YouTube, including a really cheap one using plywood. He also has a couple on making sawhorses which would be an alternative to your suggestion of a low bench to people like me who are just getting started.

  20. timurhan t on February 7, 2023 at 4:56 am

    I appreciate this soo much! Your voice is also easy on my ears so I can keep listening to you while working. Thanks a lot!

  21. Charliendt on February 7, 2023 at 4:59 am

    Thank you Rex for your advice and all the knowledge that you share! I think your English Workbench is fantastic but I would also like to give a plug to the Paul Sellers Plywood workbench. It’s the one I’ve build and I have less than a year in experience in woodworking.
    Thank you again, I really love all your videos.
    Cheers from Spain,

  22. Erlix Erlix on February 7, 2023 at 4:59 am

    In Scandinavia you easily find old good second hand Scandinavian benches for almost no money at all.

  23. Daniel Polakovic on February 7, 2023 at 4:59 am

    Just amazing, thanks a lot for the great overview and many many resources!

  24. Michael Breskin on February 7, 2023 at 5:00 am

    Great video. Thanks so much for this Rex.

  25. Rick Henderson on February 7, 2023 at 5:01 am

    I’m making the traveller’s bench, and today I stopped hemming and hawing about how I should sharpen my axe and a chisel, and finally did it. The chisel turned out awesome. Tomorrow I’m having my son help me put together a drill mate just to get him involved, and I’ll be using a drill for the batens, but I’m trying to do everything else by hand. I have wanted to read the Anarchist book, great to know there is a pdf!

  26. Flatpick OM on February 7, 2023 at 5:01 am

    Just found your channel. Your videos are so great. Thank you!

  27. Eddie Deemer on February 7, 2023 at 5:02 am

    Regarding your closing comments about choosing the special workbench to match our personality and individuality: Well said. It’s about time someone cracked that egg. A dedicated craftsman can make a masterpiece on the kitchen table but it doesn’t matter how amazing your bench and tools are if you care more about making a statement with it than you do the work you will create on it! Sheesh!

  28. Fred Mercury on February 7, 2023 at 5:03 am

    This is all good and well but… How big should it be?

  29. savage12k on February 7, 2023 at 5:03 am

    Sooo… I’m conflicted. I absolutely agree with Rex’s advice to "just do it." And honestly, building the low bench is probably my best bet, but I also have to consider my many and limiting disabilities, and the low bench might just be too low…


    I’m going to build it. If I can’t work on it, I’ll use it to make a taller bench.

  30. Andrew Krahn on February 7, 2023 at 5:06 am

    "England doesn’t have big forests of old-growth trees"
    Anymore, thanks to their need for firewood and that massive navy of oak ships. Britain used to be very heavily-forested. I’d be curious to see an English bench from the middle ages

  31. Pamela Rubel on February 7, 2023 at 5:06 am

    Excellent video! Im gonna start with your low/roman bench of course but I look forward to my journey, maybe Ill build one of these in the future!

  32. Richard Petron on February 7, 2023 at 5:07 am

    Piece of plywood on a saw horse works as well

  33. Michael Haywood on February 7, 2023 at 5:08 am

    Fabulous content

  34. Tau Design on February 7, 2023 at 5:13 am

    The issue I have with plans that people provide/sell for these benches is that they are bloated. I have Moravian plan set, it requires printing over 50 8.5" x 11"pages. At $0.10/page on a home printer it adds up. There are unnecessary pages of various full color isometric views of the assembled bench and some of the subassemblies. I’ve thought about modeling this myself and re-drawing, re-dimensioning/re-annotating the plans, probably 10 sheets max with three views and several pages of multi-view details. But, I’d rather spend my time and money building the bench, not redrawing it.

  35. Sam Kelley on February 7, 2023 at 5:13 am

    Exceptional video my friend. Thank you!!!!

  36. Dave Bremer on February 7, 2023 at 5:15 am

    Is clutter a requirement for a built in bench, or a feature. I know mine is full of clutter

  37. Bogdan Szczurek on February 7, 2023 at 5:15 am

    4:18 – nope, “bench slave” is fine. It describes perfectly what it does. Don’t mess with the proper wording just because of the contemporary “sensitivities” 😊. The word “slave” denotes a certain state of being and that’s that. Acting as if by using it one does “support” slavery is ridiculous. Rest easy—“bench slave” won’t get offended 😋😁

  38. Chris P. on February 7, 2023 at 5:16 am

    Love your videos. Very helpful! Thank you Rex! I’ve used a draw knife with a shave horse to clamp my work down to carve basket handles and rims. Is it easier to make round legs with a shave horse or could I make it on a workbench with the appropriate hold downs or clamps?

  39. Orellin Vvardengra on February 7, 2023 at 5:18 am

    I have a harbor freight workbench. It’s nice for starting out but after I started watching videos I know I’ll need something else, but for now it serves its purpose just fine. Just wish it didn’t have drawers as they get filled with shavings and dust because of the dog holes.

  40. coda creator on February 7, 2023 at 5:18 am

    Roubo — slightly modified — seems like exactly what I’m after. Thank you!

  41. TheThirdMan on February 7, 2023 at 5:19 am

    Good video, Rex.

    For those of you who can’t decide, build the English (Nicholson) bench. Don’t think twice, just do it. You won’t be sorry.

    I built mine with timber sourced from a demolition site. The only bits I bought were the top and the aprons and a few carriage bolts. I had a tenon (back) saw, a chisel, a hammer (!), a hand drill with a couple of bits and a brace and bit that just happened to have the right sized bit for making dog holes. All the tools were rusty. I built the entire thing on my parent’s back patio (concrete) when I was about 18. I put a small wood vice in it and fitted pine cheeks to it. The whole bench was about 1.8 metres long, weighed over 100 kilos and was rock solid. Once I had set it up, I put an old bearer on the top and hit it with a sledge hammer. Then I tightened up the bolts to main force. It never moved.

    There are a couple of bits I would change now but certainly nothing major. I think I would set it up for holdfasts, which until recently, I had never seen. I’d probably put a removable metalwork vice on the opposite end. I’d probably put a power board on one of the legs too.

    I really don’t get benches like the Roubo and the Scandinavian bench. You need a well equipped workshop, including – guess what? – a workbench, to build one and I don’t really see the benefit. I’ve seen a Scandinavian bench up close and thought the shoulder vice was one of the stupidest things I’ve seen on a bench. I realise you can pack them but I found it just got in the way. The joinery in the Roubo is just excessive for no great gain and the sliding deadman is unnecessary in most cases. The front apron of the Nicholson takes care of that.

    The Nicholson’s disadvantages are actually really easy to overcome. You don’t need a tail vice. You can use dogs or a plane stop and wedges to achieve the same thing. Simples.

    You can make a workbench to look like a piece of furniture if you like. Like everything, that’s a matter of personal choice. The whole idea of a workbench is to provide a stable, solid platform on which clamp, nail, saw, plane and chop mortices. They take a hell of a beating. A Nicholson can be knocked up in a single day and doesn’t require high levels of skill. It’s also absurdly cheap and effective and it’s adaptable to almost any need. And don’t forget, there’s nothing that says you can’t use the ideas from one bench on another. You may never get around to building that Roubo you’ve always admired…

  42. Duncan on February 7, 2023 at 5:19 am

    I absolutely appreciate how you share credit with other woodworking teachers. Thank you for this and for your excellent instruction and insights.

  43. Swarm509 on February 7, 2023 at 5:19 am

    Great video, I am in the process of figuring out making my first built bench. I was given a lightweight bench that was designed to be taken apart with everything is lag/bolted together with the benchtop being flat 2×4’s not glued together (long treaded rods through it). It worked well enough for a total newbie but it isn’t that heavy, the top moves a lot with seasonal changes, and really isn’t that flat at the best of times. I may just take the leg frames, made up of 3×3 pine, and add better jointing but honestly I am now leaning towards keeping it all together and building new from the ground up with the old bench helping. I can give it away or throw in the corner as another work surface later.

    I would love a Scandinavian and have ever since first seeing one on Rob Cosman’s channel but I think it is beyond my budget and abilities right now, and be too large for my work space.

    I recently went to the lumber store to get pricing, which is all very high even for pine, so I need to cost out my options. I’ll probably end up going with a Paul Sellers English style bench (pushed against the wall) with dog-holes and no shoulder vice as I tend to work with bench hooks in the vice for hand-planing and sawing. Funny enough a laminated plywood top may be the most economical option!

  44. The Ren on February 7, 2023 at 5:22 am

    Types of Benches:
    1. Low Bench: 0:39
    2. Built-In Bench: 1:04
    3. Cabinetmaker’s Bench: 2:12
    4. English Bench: 5:13
    5. Roubo Bench: 7:58
    6. Moravian Bench: 10:43
    7. Work situations: 11:58
    8. Final thoughts: 15:41

  45. Bear University on February 7, 2023 at 5:22 am

    15:45 – 17:40 — The brother is ladling out some woodworking flavored gravy 🙂

  46. Max Motors on February 7, 2023 at 5:23 am

    I guess in my dreams a timber frame bench… well see what I can afford to slap together hahahaha

  47. David Andrews on February 7, 2023 at 5:23 am

    true that on the last comment .Now the type of work bench that I have is my old back door with two metal sawhorses foldable sawhorse legs and it is portable and moveable when the snow starts to fly and I can put it away so that I can put my vehicle in the garage and it has come in handy and the way that I clamp stuff is that I use a red 3 bench vise with a 2×6 for the base and I clamp it to the surface of my workbench . On downsize to this is that I can not hammer stuff the wood has come out I have it support with 2×4 around the one edge okay that is what I use and I got my idea from Reader’s Digest book to make a portable work bench .

  48. Tony Harknett on February 7, 2023 at 5:24 am

    7:00 English bench plus mountable stretcher bearers provide sash clamp pass under & side clamping points job done with a little extra removable parts & thought.

    Best of all worlds, light weight low cost sturdy bench.

    I’ve got to make mine up, it’s going to be hidden as a coffee table storage box that I can put my Stanley Fat Max wheeled chest under plus Mac PAC Makita box at the end & store more on the chest (so we can get in the cupboards & down the corridor 🤤)

    Door blank fire door top with pivot down legs of its own so it can stand alone outside the base box if needed?

    I have bespoke small house needs, once done all my tools will be accessible in there open box position under the table in bench configuration, lots of design work to do on a wheeled 19mm ply base box with dovetail corners for strength softwood U base frame to guide the Stanley box in & provide open lid pivot clearance all around & lock clasp access room to get in the bloody thing lol.

    Leg support hard points bolted or plate screwed for working rigidity possible leveling points if I can endure the concept 🧠 ache 🤤.

    Lots can go wrong but I have faith 🙏🏻 it will all come together like a giant wooden wheelbarrow in the end if I can kiss (keep it simple stupid)

    Rudimentary for its use with no vice but house tidying functional storage potential as a transformer coffee table.

    Ark of the covenant handles to lift it out lol.
    (now that’s just silly 👀)

    I have a piece of 12mm toughened glass on cardboard boxes as a rabbit run at the moment in the middle of my front room slowly collapsing under the weight at shin height.

    Something has to change I’ve been diving in skips for materials to "up cycle" 👀 because I’m poor.

    Have a decent door blank for work top, piece of 12mm glass & a 19mm oak table top that just so happens to be an 1" bigger all around than the glass, so a coffee table board game bench over cover may be part of it all in the end?

    At worse it will be a great build project to excercise my 🤯🧠

    Wish me luck…

    Box floor plan 1276 X 698 outer 633 max height, table configuration 990 high max worktop it’s bloody tight but seems doable on paper.

    The table legs will only be 58 X 44 to clear the Stanley box lid in its open position end recess with its handle hard up to the ply box end.

    Stanley box is 430 closed 860 open height top of pivot lid.

    I may video the end result upload it to YouTube if I pull my finger out, mock up a working height.

    Still want to see my TV after all don’t I???
    (sell everything to turn my front room into a workshop of horrors to spill all manner of glues on the carpet? She’s going to love this build back better brave NWO of owning nothing & existing like Gollum, if we even have a 🏠😁)

    I’m at my mental wits end…

  49. Leon Zaal on February 7, 2023 at 5:26 am

    What a great video. Thanks Rex. Gives me great references to check out all the options (probably more videos, oops).

  50. G M on February 7, 2023 at 5:26 am

    I have a question and Rex seems like the person who would do a video on this.

    Do you need a ‘workbench’?

    So let me expand on this. Heavy power tool orientated workshops have dedicated stations for all the operations to happen at. All they need after that is an assembly area or table. So sawhorses and clamps could accomplish this.

    Hand tools users. So in Japan they work on the floor and in china they traditionally work on a narrow bench, just like a Roman work bench. Your Roman work bench is essentially a low normal bench which ia used like a saw horse. Further small portable work tops with clamping exist and could be fixed to many tables or saw horses. Added to this saw horses have been made with vices and such.

    So is a workbench just an over engineered assembly table/overgrown saw horse, or is it an essential piece of kit that any woodworker would need even if only occasionally?

    Powertool integeated workbenches also exist. But this is a workshop choice to have tools in the centre integrated onto what is essentially an assembly table. A person could just have all the tools around the outside and a collapsable assembly table brought to the middle when needed.

    Thinking hard on this, can all woodworking needs be met with a workshop that does not have a ‘workbench’?