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Adjustable Workbench


Adjustable Workbench

The coolest bench ever: It changes size before your eyes!

By Tom Caspar

My workbench has always been the heart of my small shop. When I made it years ago, I outfitted it with a good face vise, an innovative sliding tail-vise and a plain trestle base. But the bench’s height always bugged me. It was too low for some jobs and too high for others. 

I found a solution! I retrofitted my top with commercially-made adjustable legs (about $480, see Adjust-A-Bench Legs, below). I also built a new cabinet-style base for added storage space. 

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Adjustability has saved a lot of strain on my back. When routing, I raise the bench; when sanding, I lower it. The bench has 12 different heights, from 28 to 44 in.

Adjustable metal legs allow you to raise or lower the bench to a variety of working heights. Set low, it’s an excellent assembly table.

Click on any image to view a larger version.

Raise the top all the way for detail work. A tall bench is a wonderful luxury. It’s perfect for drawing sketches, routing inlay, sawing dovetails and many more jobs.

The sliding tail vise allows you to clamp a workpiece between two bench dogs.

Sliding Tail Vise

Cabinetmaker Geoffrey Noden first designed these legs for his own shop. Their operation is very simple. Each end is composed of two heavy-gauge metal panels. The adjustable panel has a series of notches that engage a rod in the fixed panel. Depressing a pedal rotates the rod out of a notch, allowing you to lower the bench. To raise the bench, you just lift its top.

The whole system is so robust that it can take an enormous amount of weight. Its simplicity ensures that it will work for many years, even in a dusty shop. You’ll find much more information,alternative bench plans and castor sets at or by calling (609) 882-3300.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker September 2007, Issue #130.

September 2007, Issue #130

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Adjust-A-Bench Legs

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