Photo: Shaffer Smith Photography
A workbench is an essential fixture for any job site or workshop. Portable or permanent, equipped with drawers, vises, or drafting-table tilt top, a bench not only helps work go faster and more accurately, it also keeps you safe.

"I very seldom work with something that's not clamped to the bench," says Norm Abram, This Old House master carpenter.

"You can't be accurate when you're squatting on the floor, and you're going to get hurt holding something in one hand and cutting with the other. It's really worth the effort to set up a bench, and it doesn't have to be expensive or elaborate."

Workbenches come in all shapes in sizes: Small, foldable ones can travel from job to job, while heavy, furniture-like pieces with drawers and cabinets become a permanent fixture in the workshop. Most permanent benches have standard tops set near counter height (36 inches), which will suit a lot of different projects. But adjustable benches are handy if you want to tailor them to your own height and the tools you're working with.

It's best to test out any bench in the store to see what feels most comfortable for your size and working habits. But with any of the ones shown here — plus several heavy-duty clamps to hold materials to them — you'll have a safe and convenient place to get the job done.

Ask TOH users about Workshop Accessories

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