Workbenches are generally considered to be strong sturdy tables, where manual work is to be carried out. Workbenches range widely in their design, they can be small like some jewellers workbenches, or very large workbenches such as staircase makers may use. Most workbenches are of rectangular shape, and have a flat working top surface. They can vary widely in design, and different sizes and types of workbench will be utilized for specific types of work.
There are many different types of workbenches for all kinds of applications, and these can include:
Metal Work benches
General and Multi-Purpose workbenches
The designs of workbenches are as varied as the purpose they are designed for. For example; a traditional woodworking bench is generally manufactured almost completely from timber. They are heavily constructed, and this type of bench will not move or shudder when a workpiece is being manually machined ie, being sawn or hand-planed. Many of these traditional type of wood-working benches will have a vice which is incorporated into the bench itself, and this provides a very efficient workpiece holding system that many woodworking applications require.
More modern woodworking benches are now made of metal and wood, with the general frame-work of the bench being manufactured from metal, and the work surface made from timber or timber product. A woodworking vice can easily be mounted to this type of bench, and the bench may be fixed to the floor to prevent any unwanted movement. Because of the design of this type of bench, clamps can be also be used to hold the workpiece in place, and when the serviceable life of the work surface is over it can easily be replaced with a new one.
Metal working benches are generally made from metal. They are usually of a frame-work design and may be made with square cross section or angle iron. These types of workbench may also have a wooden work surface, but generally will have a metal surface made from sheet metal. Metal working vices can be attached to the benches by clamps, or more usually bolted to the surface of the workbench for a more sturdy fixture.
Other types of workbench can include ; Adjustable workbenches and Cantilever workbenches. Adjustable workbenches may be manually or electrically powered, to alter the working height and angle etc.
Small portable workbenches are also available and have come to be known as the ‘workmate’ and these types of workbench are very popular amongst DIY enthusiasts and tradesmen from many different trades. They are small and light and fold away for easy storage. The work surface usually consists of two pieces of hard durable material. One of these surfaces is fixed while the other is mounted on a moveable mechanism which allows it to be clamped to the fixed surface. This has the effect of turning the whole work-surface into a very effective vice, whilst at the same time providing a small workbench surface.