Children's European-inspired woodworking bench
A solid, traditional continental-inspired workbench, scaled down to kids' size. Built from spruce, poplar, and MDF, it features a front vise and a convertible shoulder vise/tail vise combination. For those interested, I've also created a SketchUp model of this bench.
It may look somewhat undersized, though it measures 27" from the ground. That's about 4" less than I would like for myself, though even for me (at 5' 7"), it's great for cutting, planing, etc. Length is half that of the adult bench; the other measurements are approximately 2/3 of the bigger bench.
The top consists of a double layer of 3/4" MDF. This would appear to defy tradition and shocks purists. Still, traditional benches were constructed from what was ready-at-hand and inexpensive. MDF is cheap, easy to work with, and nice and heavy. Finally, I would rather have a bench that bruises, should a workpiece fall onto the bench, than a workpiece that's damaged while the workbench remains unscarred.
Also very non-traditional: the convertible shoulder/tail vise. The shoulder vise consists of a block of poplar and MDF that slides on two recessed 8" heavy duty drawer slides. Slide the block in fully and you have a full-length tail or end vise. Both are operated by the same screw.
Add 3/4" dog holes spaced 6" apart in the workbench top, with matching holes in the vise jaws, and the options for securing workpieces are endless.
Great bench. My kids have done a good part of the assembly. They're justifiably proud of it.
And it's become my favorite bench, and will be until I finish the full-sized version.