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I'm looking to get a workbench with dog holes and a vise.  Adjustable height would be a huge plus.  Any recommendations?

What are your specific needs for a bench? Carving, yes, but do you also build furniture, or boats, or other things?

Are you prepared to build your own bench, or prefer to buy? There are so many more questions that one could ask ... and even after another bunch of questions, I would be hard pressed to make a specific recommendation.

In my case, I enjoyed building my own, and at the time I built it was interested in boat building. Thus, I made a very long 12 foot bench. Over time, my interests have changed and much of that 12 feet of bench has become afflicted with HSS (Horizontal Surface Syndrome - where clutter accumulates). And ... it's too low for carving.

There are precious few benches with good adjustable height mechanisms. The conflict of having good heft and workable adjustment mechanisms is the problem. Find an adjustment mechanism up to the job of managing a heavy bench and the cost, or other practicality, becomes prohibitive.

My answer to that dilemma is a "Bench on Bench," a carving bench (built to a height I prefer) that sits atop my regular bench. It has a double screw front vise ("Moxon" like) and enough dogs and holes for positioning carvings.

So, from a carving point of view, almost any bench works and my bench-on-bench provides the real comfort I like. It also raises other work, such as dovetail joinery and groove routing to a more comfortable level.

Hole this provides from food for thought. Best luck in your pursuit of not only a comfortable bench, but the beautiful things you'll create using it.

Great info Bob. I agree that if you are going to be using your workbench for other projects besides carving, the bench on bench works great. I know Sjoberg makes one and there are a lot of plans out there on the Internet.

For a full size workbench I would recommend one with a tail vise. See an example of this here http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/hofmann-hammer-german-workbench. This works great to use bench dogs for carving projects ( about 90% of my videos show me using this). The heavier the bench, the better so there is minimal movement. They can be expensive, but so worth it. Happy shopping!

Thanks to both of you for the info and recommendations, much appreciated!

Raquel, I was looking for a good carving bench, but I suffer from not being able to have a dedicated carving area. I looked forever online and settled on the bench on a bench idea. I made it myself using hard maple. And like Mary said, heavy is key to keep it from moving. Even tho the bench weighs about 40 pounds, I also clamp it to wherever I'm working. Usually the kitchen/dining room tables or kitchen island. I like being able to move anywhere...especially when sports are on tv!

This picture doesn't show it, but I drilled holes on the surface and use bench dogs.

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Wow Matthew! What a great idea, and well executed!

Thank you Raquel! No complaints using it so far...been alternating between carving and carpentry usage. It's been quite helpful even though it's a bear to lug around the house and garage.

I am very interested in carving. I am looking at purchasing a workbench. I have came down to 2 different benches and would greatly appreciate any help from folks who have far more carving wisdom than I possess. Both are from Hofmann &Hammer one is the premium large German bench and the other is the “American” Style All Round. Could anyone give me pointers or ideas; pros or cons? Help? Thanks so much.

SmokyRick Crawford has reacted to this post.
SmokyRick Crawford


Welcome to the forum. Thats a lot of bench for starting out in carving! Will it pull double duty as a workbench for other projects, or only for carving? The all around bench there would be more than enough for any carver with the vise and dog hole setups on it. You could easily get into any style of carving depending on what your interests are. Plenty of weight also...looks like you can’t go wrong if it’s in your budget.

Speaking of budget, if you don’t think you will ever want to get into carving long pieces of moulding or anything larger than a thanksgiving turkey, look up the veritas carving bench...it’s around the same price, much smaller giving you more options for placing it anywhere in your home. Plus it looks cool... so if you get one, you must put up some pics!



Those look like great benches!  Would work for making furniture or anything else.  One thing you might want to think about is the height.  Depending on how tall you are, you may want something taller or to prop this one up a bit.  Being bent over all day is not good for your back or your temper either.  I speak from experience.  (Unfortunately.)

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