Against the wall? (workbench)

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Forum topic by upriver posted 05-27-2011 09:58 PM 5763 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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22 posts in 3698 days

05-27-2011 09:58 PM


Wondering if it is fine to consider putting a hand-tool workbench against the wall, leaving access to the right-hand edge (tail vise) open. I would ideally like 360-degree access but that will not be possible in the space I am considering. I see lots of you have your benches against the wall, anyone really regret doing this?

Thanks for thoughts.

18 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2887 posts in 4041 days

#1 posted 05-27-2011 11:21 PM

I have a small shop so I filled up the three available walls with benches. I roll the table saw out into the center of my shop to cut larger items. I like this set up.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View Marc's profile


101 posts in 4128 days

#2 posted 05-28-2011 01:58 AM

I had mine against the wall for a while and it was fine most of the time, but then I decided to put some locking casters on the legs. Now I have the best of both worlds! I can put it up against the wall when not in use and roll it out to the middle of the garage when I need the access. Granted, it’s not dedicated to hand-tool usage, but I haven’t noticed any movement as long as the casters are locked down. If you think that might work for you, make sure you get casters that lock the wheel and the swivel to reduce the movement as much as possible.

-- Marc,

View TheDane's profile


5974 posts in 4782 days

#3 posted 05-28-2011 02:03 AM

My shop is cramped, so my bench is against the wall ( ).

My workbench is on a mobile base, so I can take it wherever I want (within reason). Click for details


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Loren's profile


11209 posts in 4767 days

#4 posted 05-28-2011 02:35 AM

Against a wall is fine. I often have the bench out about 10” from the
wall, with plywood scraps stuffed behind it. This gives more working
area for laying frames across the bench. Also you can attach parts
bins and tool shelves behind the bench if it is out from the wall a foot
or so, but still reach everything.

I’ve had the bench further out to work all around it and while this is
a nice for doing assemblies and some repair work, it’s not often
often necessary when doing planing and joinery.

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 4000 days

#5 posted 05-28-2011 06:11 AM

I recently moved my workbench against the wall because I wanted to have my hand tools and such on the wall above the bench. I am very happy with it against the wall and the ability to reach my tools right over the bench is very helpful.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View upriver's profile


22 posts in 3698 days

#6 posted 05-28-2011 06:21 PM

Thanks a lot everyone. I’ve always had my benches against the wall but am new to the handtool focus. Now that I look around, I see lots of “pros” have their benches against the wall too. This is pretty exciting as it means I can get a longer bench than I had hoped into my tiny shop. I was trying to come up with a way for it to fit in the “middle” of the room and it was very cramped that way. Visualizing it against the wall instead makes a ton of sense layout wise, just wanted to make sure I wasn’t making a bad choice workwise.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2887 posts in 4041 days

#7 posted 05-28-2011 07:41 PM

My benches that are along the walls total 35+ feet. I made them wall mounted so the floor is completly clear under them. I did later add some, under bench, shelves and cabinets in places.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View StephenO's profile


44 posts in 3665 days

#8 posted 06-08-2011 06:13 PM

My current benches are against the wall, but the new ones are going to be freestanding units on heavy, locking casters so that I can roll them out when I need to. They will still sit in the same spots as the old ones, though.

-- -Steve, Seattle

View DamnYankee's profile


3320 posts in 3681 days

#9 posted 06-08-2011 06:19 PM

I have a long and a shorter work bench against the wall (attached actually) with my radial arm saw between the two benches. The benches are in-line/true to the radial arm saw table so they serve to hold materials I am sawing on the radial arm saw as well as work benches. I then made rolling work benches with cabinets and/or drawers that roll up under the two benches. As stated above, the casters lock both the roll ans swivel. All the bench tops (long and short wall mounted, radial arm saw table top, and the four rolling workbenches have dog holes. The larger bench has a tail vise and the rolling benches are getting the veritas flush mounted vises.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View dbray45's profile


3413 posts in 3896 days

#10 posted 06-08-2011 06:29 PM

I have one bench that is bolted to the wall. My main benck is up against the wall until I am using it, then I pull it away a couple of inches.

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

View upriver's profile


22 posts in 3698 days

#11 posted 06-08-2011 06:36 PM

thanks everyone. I have come to realize its a fairly common arrangement.

And as it happens, I have possibly figured out a way to orient my bench so that it is not against a wall, but this means it will be somewhat near a woodstove. I am not sure what issues that could involve – if it will make the bench or work on the bench dry out more quickly or otherwise be an aggravating factor.

If I keep the bench against the wall, at 8 feet I will have 2 feet on either end. That sounds a little tight when considering a jointer plane on either side. I could also move it a foot closer to one wall, so it would have 3 feet on the side more likely to see a plane shooting past the end. Or I could take the bench down to 7 feet.

Decisions, decisions.

View dbray45's profile


3413 posts in 3896 days

#12 posted 06-08-2011 06:47 PM

Until you bolt it to the floor, you will have options. Did anyone let you know that after 6 months or less you could easily take it all apart and change it to fulfill requirements that have not yet been realized?

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

View newwoodbutcher's profile


863 posts in 3969 days

#13 posted 06-15-2011 04:48 AM

I was taught that the hand tool bench is really just a big clamp, designed to hold material firmly while you work on it. I think the best positioning is where you can walk around the bench to work from different angles and all four sides. Then there is the assembly bench, again best if you can walk around it for the same reasons. It’s appropriate (I think) to have a garage bench against the wall but I recommend (If possible) you find a way to access all four sides of a hand tool bench. If you don’t have that as an option you will still have a functional tool. Just my opinion.

-- Ken

View dbray45's profile


3413 posts in 3896 days

#14 posted 06-16-2011 01:10 PM

I can’t disagree with that, I would love to do that but I don’t have the space.

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4315 days

#15 posted 06-16-2011 01:45 PM

I have my workbench against the wall. It is around 28” deep. The only issue I occasionally have is trying to plane large pieces on the diagonal. My plane keeps bumping into the wall. It doesn’t happen often though and it’s the only issue I’ve run into. I have a little gap in my table though near the wall to allow shavings and wood chips through though.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

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