A lot of folks shy away from woodworking because they think they need a full-size workbench in order to make anything. With a portable workbench top, like this model from Garrett Wade, you get a small – but functional – surface to work on.
You could attach the portable bench top to a kitchen table, computer desk, or countertop to create a temporary workspace. You won’t be able to work on the same types of projects as with a full-size bench, but a small benchtop is better than nothing.
And if you do have a dedicated workspace, who says you need to be stuck in the shop to work on your project? Bring the portable bench top to the family room or even out on the deck so you can get some work done while you enjoy a nice day.
Although this particular table top model is sold as a children’s workbench, its sturdy solid birch and birch plywood construction should suit many “grownup” projects.
The 22″ x 11-3/4″ x 2″ bench top features a 7″ end vise and two rows of bench dog holes. The vise’s jaw protrudes slightly higher than the surface of the bench to work in concert with the bench dogs for gripping the bottom of larger boards or panels. This provides clear access to the top for tasks like planing and finishing.
The bench also comes with two clamps for securing it to a table, and four felt clamp pads to help protect table surfaces.
The table top bench usually runs $60, and we’ve seen it on sale for as low as $48. According to Garrett Wade’s shipping table, ground shipping to continental USA addresses is $12.
Buy Now (Portable Work Table via Garrett Wade)
On days like today, where the temperature is so cold outside that my basement shop only gets up to 50 degrees, I can definitely see the utility in working someplace a little warmer where my fingers will respond when I ask them. Unfortunately, most of my projects require use of heavy and messy power tools which I don’t want to carry upstairs.
Someday I want to try my hand at carving, and I could see a portable work bench being super useful in that situation.
If you find the Garrett Wade Table Bench Top a little limiting, there are plenty of other options if you are willing to make it yourself.
I did a little searching online and found several table top bench designs, with most of them being based on Christopher Schwarz’s Milkman’s Workbench. You can find a link on his blog to purchase the Popular Woodworking magazine with the plans, or just do a Google Image search for “Milkman’s Workbench” to see other woodworkers’ variations.
Over on the Gunpowder Woodworks website, I found a multi-article series that goes into great detail about build a version of the Milkman Workbench.