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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.

Children's woodworking 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.

kids' woodworking workbench, front view

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.

kids' woodworking workbench, with the tail or end vise facing the viewer

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.

- PD

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