Having a woodcarving bench is invaluable when you need to do wood carvings, especially if you are working on some larger and more time-consuming projects. A wood carving bench makes the whole carving process easier and enjoyable and much less a chore. You can either buy a dedicated workbench for carving or make one yourself.
To make your own wood carving bench you first need to pick the kind of wood you are going to build it from and check if you have cutting tools, screws, measuring tape, and other basic woodworking tools available. Shave and plane the wood for the workbench, then proceed to cut the wood into sizes proportional to the size of your bench (more on that below). Secure a larger piece of wood as your tabletop. To add the vise you will have to drill holes and secure it with screws.
Don’t worry if this sounds confusing, we will break it down into steps you can easily follow.
Depending on your own height and the kind of work you are doing, there is a way to find the optimal height for your bench. For more details on the perfect height for your workbench visit this article. If you want you can also make a tilting wood carving table which will allow you to sit comfortably and work on your wood carving. Finally, we can get into the steps of building your wood carving bench
Step by step guide to making your own wood carving bench
1. Required materials for a carving bench
Blow are all of the material you will need to craft a carving workbench
Depending on the size you require for your carving bench you should choose a specific length and thickness of the wood. If you want you can buy wooden planks ready to use from the market or if you have your own raw wood available you will have to shave it and cut it to size.
Different wood types can be used for a carving bench however hardwood which is relatively heavy is recommended as it decreases the chances of the workbench moving while you are working on it. Do NOT use something like basswood otherwise, it will feel like you are carving on a trampoline.
Examples of some good kinds of wood you can use to craft a bench: Cherry wood, walnut, birch, oak, maple, hickory.
– Hand drill/or Power drill
If you prefer to use power tools you can use them for this project however it is also possible to make the carving bench using non power tools. The project will of course take less time if you have something like a Dremel that you use to carve wood.
A saw will be necessary to cut the wooden planks to size. If you have an electric saw you can use that to make the work faster.
One of the most important parts of any workbench is the vise. There are different types of vises available. This will keep your carving secure while you work on it. You can go with a front vise or a side vise.
– Hand Plane
A hand plane will be invaluable to even out the wood edges and corners. It is also very accurate and easy to use.
Whether you are using glue mostly for your build or a build with screws you will need them at least to add the vise to the workbench. There are different types of screws: desk screws, drywall, exterior & interior. Use them according to your project requirements.
A normal drill will be helpful in making holes for the bench dogs and also for the addition of the vise.
A requirement to make sure the work surface and the whole bench is level
For measurements throughout your project.
The trusty pencil. Always a must for all woodworking projects. Helps in marking wood for cutting.
2. Make a written plan and sketch of the carving bench
Before making the workbench it is best to plan out the whole process so you don’t make mistakes in measuring or cutting. Having a written plan to follow as you go through the steps will ensure that the project is done right. Make sure to plan out the height, width, and thickness of the wood in this step.
A good reference height for the carving bench is 39 inches. This height will accommodate people with 5’9” to 6’2” height with ease. However if you are shorter or taller then it’s better to set the height accordingly. For the workbench, 3 inches in thickness will make it very firm and safe. Length wise, 40 inches will make for a decent sized workbench.
All sizes are subject to the avalible space you have and the needs you have for this workbench. Some carvers prefer a smaller cuter workbench while others like to have some excess space.
Whether you are adding a vise to your workbench and the type and size of the vise will determine the safe range of thickness for your workbench top.
3. Get the wood ready
If you are using raw wood you must shave it first and then level it. Make sure the edges are square and check the evenness of the wood using a square and or a level to properly gauge that the wood is even. If you are using bought wood, still you should make sure its level.
4. Cut the wood
Now that the wood has been readied it’s time to cut the wood to the required length. You need to cut the wood for the frame and the workbench top. If you are going to use wood planks for the top you can cut them to the required length or if you are using one whole piece of wood for the workbench top you should cut the area where the vise will be added.
5. Assemble/screw the frame
After cutting the wood pieces to the required length you should assemble the frame by aligning the legs and support pieces and screw them together. Now that you have your frame ready you can assemble the workbench top.
6. Ready the top part of the bench
Here if you are using planks to make the top part of the workbench you should glue them together and use clamps to hold them together for a few hours until the glue dries. After that make sure the sides of the wood are level so you have a straight working surface. If you need, you can use a hand plane to level it properly.
7. Add the vise to the workbench
Depending on your preference you can either add a front vise or a side vise to your carving workbench. If your workbench is big enough you might even opt for both a front and side vise in your build. Drill the holes for the vise, add the vise and secure it with the given screws to the workbench.
8. Drill the Bench Dog holes
You can use your hand drill or a power drill to make the holes for the bench dogs. Depending on the size of the workbench and your preference you should make the number of holes as you require. You can either make your own bench dogs or buy the POWERTEC 71500 bench dogs for a decent price from Amazon. They come in square and round shapes, with both wooden and metal variants.
Wooden bench dogs are recommended because they have less chance of damaging the woodworking piece and they are also cheaper to make or buy. You can buy wooden dowels and then cut them to the required size to make your bench dogs.
9. Add the workbench top to the frame
Now that you have leveled your workbench and made the dog holes you are ready to attach it to the frame. The easiest way is to just put it over the frame or if you want to you can attach screws to the top and the frame to secure it fully.
Congratulations you have made your own carving bench. Make sure to use it for carving which will help you in finding if it is fully functional or needs a few tweaks.
Tilting wood carving station
A caving bench is very necessary if you do regular carving and it makes the carving process more enjoyable and less time-consuming. However, a normal carving bench has a few drawbacks. These drawbacks can be rectified if you use a tilting wood carving station instead.
A tilting wood carving station decreases strain on your neck and back while also allowing for better visibility of your carving piece. Having a tilting station means it is much easier to work sitting down if you so need. So for those people who are not able to stand for long periods should get a tilting carving bench.
To make your own tilting carving bench you should follow all the steps above, and also add hinges on one side of the workbench bottom which is connected to the frame. Next you should add foldable legs under the workbench top with notches which latch on to the pegs or screws at the bottom of the workbench frame. The notches on the legs, help in setting different angles of your tilting station.
For a video guide on making your own Tilting wood carving station watch the video below:
Key takeaways from the video:
- -Bottom support pieces of the frame should reflect the top pieces
- -When adding a wood piece to the back of the tabletop make sure to use screws that don’t come through the other side
- – If you want the workbench top to be useable completely flat then add another piece to the back of the workbench top
- -When making the holes for the vise make sure to reflect the holes in the table so that the vice is properly functional
Good Additions To Your Carving Bench
One of the many uses of your carving bench is that you can improve it to store/hang carving tools. You can add a dedicated holder for your tape measure to your carving bench. In order to hang your tools, you can add hooks or screws on the front/sides of the workbench frame which would keep your tools until they are needed.
A bottom shelf can also be added to your workbench as it is an easy and inexpensive way to add more functionality to your bench in terms of storage of materials for your projects. If needed you can even add shelves or drawers to help increase that storage space when you require.
We have already highlighted the vise as an almost necessary addition to a carving station, so if aren’t considering adding one to your workbench maybe reconsider. Another great addition is adding holes on the underside of the bench to hold the bench dogs when they are not being used(not necessary, comes down to your preference).
We have gone through the steps on making your own carving bench and the required tools and materials that you require. Depending on your preference and requirements you can add or skip a few steps but certain steps remain important to make a functional workbench. Using a tilting carving station is better than a normal carving bench as it puts less strain on your back and allows for more control as you can work on your carving with different angles. Consider investing in a tilting station if you work long hours on carving.
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