Ulmia 4 or Lie-Nielsen Improved Worbench

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Forum topic by milehighnovice posted 12-03-2011 07:07 AM 12869 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 3175 days

12-03-2011 07:07 AM

I am a novice woodworker and would like to get some advice as to which woodworking bench is recomended by those with experience. I know most woodworkers prefer to build their bench to their personal specifications. At some point in time I would like to do just that. In the mean time I need a bench so I can continue to develope my skills. I have been looking at the Ulmia 4 and the Lie-Nielsen Improved workbench. I would appreciate input from those with far more experience then I have regarding the purchase of a good work bench.

-- Bob, Aurora Colorado

7 replies so far

View Planeman40's profile


1502 posts in 3569 days

#1 posted 12-03-2011 06:29 PM

Of the two, I would take the Ulmia 4. It has holes for bench dogs in two directions. I have seen Ulmia benches and I know their quality. If you have the Ulmia you will never need to build your own work bench.

I still love my Danish style workbench that was designed by Taige Fried. The bench and its plan was published in Fine Woodworking magazine back in the 1970s and I built my bench from the drawings in that magazine. I assume the plans are still offered by Fine Woodworking.


-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3760 days

#2 posted 12-04-2011 05:31 AM

Bob, I have an Ulmia bench. It is sweet. Their benches are THE standard in Europe. Every woodworking place I saw in Germany when I was there had Ulmia benches. So I bought one before I left to return to the US. I love my bench. I would take mine over the LN for these reasons: the LN uses bench bolts on the trestle construction which I am not a big fan of. The Ulmias use bolts that span the entire length and terminate at the sides to improve protection from wracking forces. I also like the Ulmia’s tail vise better than the LN.

Now, I did build my first bench. There are some benches out there that are really easy to build and will provide everything you need for woodworking. I would have stuck with only the one I built if I didn’t find a need to add another. Also, building your own is going to save you some bigtime money. Ulmia and LN benches are expensive. I got lucky with mine, I found a used one in Germany (where they are everywhere there on German Ebay). I have yet to see a used one Ebay US.

Whatever route you choose, good luck!!

-- Mike

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3791 days

#3 posted 12-04-2011 07:00 AM

both benchs are equally expensive, why not buy American? your wise to just buy a bench out right, it does take months of work to build your own. mean while you can perfect the type of woodworking you like, and then tailor a build your own bench when you know better what you want.

View DrDirt's profile


4614 posts in 4550 days

#4 posted 12-04-2011 07:32 AM

Both are nice – buy the one you like, because you will probably find that once you buy it and start using it…Making a new bench gets really far down the TO DO list.

I got a cheapie Sjoberg type and it has chugged along for 7 years now. I want a big heavy bench with a tail vise but every other project/gift tends to win out, and what I have is working.

I have the same feeling on tools these days, because the ” Future Upgrade” is so hard to justify…rather get the NEW ‘whatever’ than a better jointer. Since the one I have is working.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Dallas's profile


72 posts in 3773 days

#5 posted 12-04-2011 08:04 AM

Hi there,

I sometimes feel that buying a real quality bench will really set the stage for me to progress as a woodworker. Maybe if I had one of the two you are deciding between it would seem easier.

I took the handmade route of making a sturdy bench as affordably as possible. For me, it has made me a more thoughtful woodworker, but perhaps I needed the practice as I didn’t have that much experience.

I’d recommend reading up on the operations necessary to do the work you want and which benches allow you to do as many as possible. For instance: Some benches are not built to edge plane long boards easily. If you make small boxes, this is not an issue. If you make bookcases, you might be inconvenienced.

All too often benches are drool-worthy and seem like an end instead of a means. I’d advise letting your bench being a platform that admirably allows you to focus on your work and not overshadow It.

Good luck and any of the two will be quality choices. Take a look at my bench and others on LB for inspiration!

-- If a tree falls in the neighbor's woods, and no one is there to hear it...can you take it home, mill it and turn it into a coffee table without your neighbor making a sound?

View milehighnovice's profile


2 posts in 3175 days

#6 posted 12-04-2011 11:51 PM

I want to thank all of you for your valuable input. You have been more then helpful. I really want to get it right when I purchase a workbench. I have been an avid reader on lumberjocks and I knew I could count on you guys to help me out. You have all given me perspectives to ponder and I am strongly leaning towards the Ulmia 4. If anyone has a different perspective or wants to share an oppinion I would love to hear it. Best wishes this Holiday Season.

-- Bob, Aurora Colorado

View CookCrafted's profile


18 posts in 1601 days

#7 posted 04-05-2016 04:33 PM

what did you buy?

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