author's walk-around workbench was built to fit his small
designed this bench to fit the small garage at my home in England.
There was no room in that garage to open the doors of my compact
car, so for years I'd pushed it in and pulled it out by hand.
To fix this, I cut a wide doorway in the concrete block side
wall, supported the roof with a steel joist and fitted a sliding
door with a 1/3 height window. The garage was now too good for
the car; instead, I moved my workshop into it from the rather
smaller garden shed.
My new shop deserved a proper workbench. I wanted a classic
L-shaped European cabinetmaker's workbench with shoulder and
tail vises. I also wanted the bench in the middle of the floor
instead of against a wall so that I could get to all sides of
a workpiece easily.
secondary support for the top and shoulder vises
projecting shoulder vise, however, would be an obstruction in
the narrow workspace and would be both difficult to use and
painful to bump into. My eventual solution was to rotate the
shoulder vise 90° and to fit it to the same end as the tail
vise but on the opposite side. I named it the walk-around workbench
because I can walk all the way around it to get at my work.
To avoid the problem of colliding handles, the shoulder and
tail vises share a common handle with a cap on one end. The
bench's removable center aids clamping, and the thick, inflexible
roof joist in the top gives it strength. I've found thinner
bench sides work better with clamp-on devices such as dowelling
jigs. Round 4" bench dogs are easier to adjust and pull
out of dog holes in 1-3/4" material than if I'd made the
dog-hole strip thicker. I made a detachable leg vise from a
length of 2" x 6" slid over the stem of a Record-style
hold-down that goes through an iron collar let into the leg.