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Classic work bench in the Neuhausen ob Eck open-air museum
Modern rear clamp
Modern front pliers

The workbench is the traditional bench of the carpenter .

Construction of the workbench

The usually very strong (> 50 mm) work surface made of hardwood (mainly made of red beech ) rests on a stable frame, which easily absorbs the strong thrust forces that arise during work such as planing.

The workbench stands out from a normal workbench due to the existing clamping options. In general, it has front pliers on the left and rear pliers on the right.

These collets are still made entirely of wood on old workbenches. In newer models, the wooden clamping jaws are attached to a flat or trapezoidal thread spindle with guide rods made of steel in order to achieve the most exact parallelism possible and thus even pressures over the entire surface in the event of one-sided loading. The log used to tighten the pliers is called a bank key.

With the back tong, workpieces can not only be clamped against the table , but also with bench hooks on the surface of the workbench. The square or round bench hooks made of wood or metal are inserted into the corresponding holes in the workbench top and the back pliers.

Most workbenches have a drawer at the back , a recess for holding tools and smaller pieces of material. Some have a cabinet or drawer part integrated in the frame.

Sawing or chiselling work is never carried out directly on the work surface of the workbench. For this purpose, interlayers are always used to protect the work surface. In this way, a well-maintained workbench can remain fully functional for a hundred and more years. For this, the work surface should be treated with oil from time to time .

Metal work should not be carried out on a workbench, as metal shavings can be pressed into the wood, which can cause rust to discolour wood that is subsequently worked there again. Since larger forces have to be used to process metal workpieces, they do not hold securely enough in the soft wooden collets.


In addition to the regular bench hooks and holes, there are other accessories

  • Side bench hook for clamping workpieces in front of the bench top
  • Pointed bench hook for holding thin workpieces
  • Bank servant with adjustable support to support long parts

Web links

Wiktionary: Workbench  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Workbenches  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : Bank hook  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Wolfgang Nutsch and others: Holztechnik Fachkunde , Verlag Europa-Lehrmittel, Haan – Gruiten 2010, pages 178–179