is sturdy table
A table is a form of furniture with a flat and satisfactory horizontal upper surface used to support objects of interest, for storage, show, and/or manipulation...
at which manual work is done. They range from simple flat surfaces to very complex designs that may be considered tools in themselves. Workbenches vary in size from tiny jewelers benches to the huge benches used by staircase makers. Almost all workbenches are rectangular in shape, often using the surface, corners and edges as flat/square and dimension standards. Design is as varied as type of work for which the benches are used but most share these attributes:
- A comfortable height for working with provisions for seated or standing work
- A way to fix the workpiece to the surface so that it may be worked with both hands
- Provisions for mounting, storing and accessing tools
Workbenches are made from many different materials including metal, wood, stone, and composites depending on the needs of the work.
Types of workbench
Workbench types may be divided according to the particular work they are designed to accommodate:
Multi-purpose/portable: These benches are small, light, collapsible, and typically have built in clamps. Epitomized by the WorkMate, a bench invented and patented by Ron Hickman, they can be used for nearly all types of work.
Woodworking: May be used for general woodworking but may be specialized for joinery, cabinetmaking, patternmaking, stairbuilding, carving, carpentry or trim work. They are usually made from solid wood and have integral clamping mechanisms.
Metalworking: Metalworkers need benches built to handle grinding, welding, light casting and forging, and layout. Most of these benches include a metalworker's vise mounted to the top.
Gardening: Gardener's benches must be resistant to moisture and dirt. They are used for potting, seeding, and grooming, and usually have built-in shelving and storage.
Electronics: Formally a fixture in radio shacks
An amateur radio operator is an individual who typically uses equipment at an amateur radio station to engage in two-way personal communications with other similar individuals on radio frequencies assigned to the amateur radio service. Amateur radio operators have been granted an amateur radio...
, now used for assembly and repair of all sorts of electronic equipment including communication, computer, and home entertainment items. These benches usually have sources of power built in, along with shelves and task lighting. The height of most electronics benches are set for a seated worker.
General repair: Almost all family farms have one of these. Also found in small engine repair shops. Used for sharpening, cleaning, lubricating, assembly/disassembly, and light metal work.
Laboratory work: Utilized especially with the chemical and biological sciences. Surfaces are typically made of an inert material like slate. Most of these benches have water and fuel sources built in or near at hand.
Art and sculpture: These benches are most likely to be used in the round. They are designed so that the workpiece can be mounted firmly, usually from underneath, and accessed from all sides. Used by wood and stone carvers.
Jewelers and Watchmakers: Purpose built benches which generally have a "bench pin" - a small wooden work surface protruding out towards the worker, allowing for working on small parts. In addition there is usually a tray or leather apron underneath to catch precious metal filings or dropped items. They are designed so that when the worker is seated the work is at or near eye level.
Fitting and assembling: Used by machinist
A machinist is a person who uses machine tools to make or modify parts, primarily metal parts, a process known as machining. This is accomplished by using machine tools to cut away excess material much as a woodcarver cuts away excess wood to produce his work. In addition to metal, the parts may...
A pipefitter is a tradesman who lays out, assembles, fabricates, maintains and repairs mechanical piping systems. Pipefitters usually go through a mix of apprentice and trade school training. Journeyman pipefitters/steamfitters deal with industrial process piping and heating/cooling systems...
An electrician is a tradesman specializing in electrical wiring of buildings, stationary machines and related equipment. Electricians may be employed in the installation of new electrical components or the maintenance and repair of existing electrical infrastructure. Electricians may also...
s, textile workers, handloaders
Handloading or reloading is the process of loading firearm cartridges or shotgun shells by assembling the individual components , rather than purchasing completely assembled, factory-loaded cartridges...
, and piece work
Piece work is any type of employment in which a worker is paid a fixed "piece rate" for each unit produced or action performed regardless of time...
ers, these benches usually have space for layout and built-in tools, jigs
In metalworking and woodworking, a jig is a type of tool used to control the location and/or motion of another tool. A jig's primary purpose is to provide repeatability, accuracy, and interchangeability in the manufacturing of products. A jig is often confused with a fixture; a fixture holds the...
and measuring devices to facilitate the work.